Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Good Life

Throughout the last four months of craziness - interviews, selling our house, house-hunting, moving - our theme song has been One Republic's Good Life. I love the tune, the beat, and the words. When I hear "This could really be a good life, a good, good life" I never fail to well up with happiness and gratitude for our amazing opportunity, for our new job, our new church and friends, and our proximity to our son and family. And for the Gulf Coast climate - Oklahoma winters can be very harsh.

Last week our good life was threatened in the form of a heart attack suffered by my husband. We thank God that he is recovering, and we also thank an incredible cardiologist and the teams representing Life Flight and SICU at Memorial Hermann Memorial City. Life is indeed still good.

With this event a change is in the air for my blog as I now to turn creative ways to transform our favorite meals to fresh, healthy, and still delicious. We are eagerly learning about Omega 3 foods, lower sodium, and replacing processed foods with whole foods.

My husband has returned to work a few hours a day, and since he still tires easily I wanted to make him something to snack on that would be high in protein and give him a little boost in the mornings. Granola bars seemed to fit the bill, so I adapted an recipe, and we are very pleased with the result. You can find the original here.

Good Life Energy Bars
adapted from

2 cups granola (I used this recipe)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup Jif Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup Cherry Craisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with with cooking spray or use cookie sheet topped with parchment paper.

To rehydrate dried fruits and increase moisture, put dates and Craisins into small bowl with about 1/2 cup water and microwave about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and stir till water is mostly absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Into large bowl stir together granola, flour, and cinnamon. Add egg, applesauce, honey, brown sugar, oil, and peanut butter; mix well. Stir in fruit and chocolate chips. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan or form a rectangle on parchment-topped cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on edges. Let cool. If using baking pan, lift out of pan by foil. Cut into bars or squares, wrap individually with plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator.

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