Sunday, June 21, 2009

Road Warriors

My task this week:  Make goodies for a road trip to the Grand Canyon.  My parents and grandparents are packing up and heading to the Grand Canyon on Thursday.  I'm jealous of the trip, but not of the 16+ hours in the car!  My mission, should I choose to accept it (which, obviously, I did!) is to make filling, delicious, and healthy snacks for their ride.   I want to steer clear of junk food and empty calories, because, let's face it... long road trips and the digestive system are typically not best friends.  I don't want to be a contributor to anyone's inability to go number two.  Yep, I just said that!  We all know what I'm talking about, so don't pretend you don't!  

My first thought is to make a trail mix.  Nutty, sweet, salty, satisfying and fits perfectly with the theme of the vacation... a sure hit.  Now I just have to decide on the ingredients.  I'm thinking yogurt covered raisins, almonds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate covered peanuts.  Antioxidants, check.  Yum factor, check.  Hunger conqueror, check.  Now, something's missing.... Ah yes!  I'll toss in some granola bites with flax and pumpkin seeds.  Omega 3's and DHA, check!  We're good to go.  (I'll list recipes at the end)
My second idea (well, my sister actually suggested this one) is a homemade granola bar.  I have never made granola bars, but my sis (the pastry chef) swears they are simple.  We'll see.  Since I have no experience with these, I've scoured the internet looking for recipes.   I've come up with one that appears simple and and delicious.  Hmmm, this could end in disaster.  It could also be fantastic.  I'll have to get back to ya on this one!

Trail Blazin' Trailmix
3 c. granola of choice
1 1/2 c. yogurt covered raisins
2 c. dark chocolate covered peanuts
1 10oz. can sea salt mixed nuts
1 6oz. pkg craisins 

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and enjoy!  

Note:  I just finished making this recipe and its delicious!  So crunchy and sweet and salty...just what I was hoping it would be.  I divided it into two big ziplock bags and added a handful of toasted coconut to one batch, and I think its even better!

Homemade Granola Bar
2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 ounce unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, or other of your choice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter or spray at 9 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Spread oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and wheat germ onto a sheet pan.  Place in oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While you're waiting on the oat mixture to toast, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.  Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.  Immediately add the oat mix to the liquid, and add the dried fruit and stir very well to combine.  Turn the mixture out onto the prepared 9 x 9 baking dish and press down.  Make sure the mixture is evenly spread and tightly pressed into the dish.  Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove and cool completely.  Cut into squares or bars and store in an airtight container or individually wrap in plastic wrap.  These will stay good for up to a week.  Enjoy your healthy snack!

Note:  Whew!  I just finished making these, and it WAS easy, as promised.  They turned out great.  Chewy, filling and just the right amount of fruit.  I think for my next batch, I may drizzle chocolate over some for a variation.  Hey, any excuse to justify eating more chocolate, and I'm all over it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nice to meet you!

Hey everyone!  My name is Amanda and this is my happy little blog.  About me:  I'm 28 and for now I'm a stay at home mom with a 10 month old silly baby girl who is sitting, right now, surrounded in a pile of baby "cheetoe" snacks.  Note to self:  Don't give baby the WHOLE can of snacks.  

Before I was married and a mom, some might say I was a little bit of a party girl, but that's a whole other post in itself!  I lived two crazy years in NYC working for a fashion designer who I equate to Meryl Streep's character Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada....and No, I won't name names!  My roommate, Allison, and I spent our evenings "on the roof" as we called it (the bar on top of the Hotel Ganesvoort), overlooking the city.  SO, the life was fun, but the job kinda sucked and I missed my family, so I headed back to Dallas.  For nearly 3 years I worked with a photographer.  It was fun and  occasionally, I got to do the food styling for photo shoots, which I loved.  
In 2006, I met my husband.  He was a friend of a friend and we all met up at a bar after work.  We were all discussing what we had just eaten, (interesting, I know) and he chimes in with "two cheeseburgers."  Who eats TWO cheeseburgers??  I do, in my dreams!  I was sold.  This man would be mine.  Sure enough, a year and a half later, we were engaged.
Now the present.... and baby makes three.  We had our girl in August of 2008.  I think we've adjusted to being parents quite nicely.  She just fit perfectly into our life like a missing puzzle piece.  Since the cheetoe fiasco of 10 minutes ago, much has happened.  A cup of water was masterfully dumped all over my carpet and couch. Hey, its not easy learning to drink from a big girl cup, I get that.  My laundry was sorted and used to decorate my living room.  This took alot of planning and thought as it is clearly nothing short of an artistic masterpiece.  My girl is a mess and into everything.  I have heard rumors that both her dad and I were the same way as babies, so I suppose what goes around, comes around!  
So that's a little look into my life.  Come back and hang out any time!