Monday, June 30, 2014

Wheat Free/Sugar Free/Fructose Friendly Granola Bars

This weekend we went out of town and I was wondering what in the world I was going to snack on since this whole Fructose Malabsorption thing makes easy snacking a bit tricky.  Well, the night before we left, I whipped up these wheat free/sugar free/fructose friendly granola bars.  I ate all of the ones I brought along on our trip and have been snacking on the rest since we got home.  I actually think they're very good and will definitely be making them again.  Paul and Alexa like them too which really says a lot.

I tried to find a recipe on-line but didn't have a lot of time to search so I modified this Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars Recipe I found on the Minimalist Baker's webpage.  I'm sure it's really good the way they have it but I can't have dried fruit and dates are a main ingredient in their recipe.

Here is my version:

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (you could use honey if you don't have fructose issues)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (use any nut you want)
1 1/2 cups toasted oats
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I can tolerate a small amount of dark chocolate but not everyone with FM can).
1/2 t. vanilla

1) I started by toasting the oats because that is what the Minimalist Baker recommended.  I covered a cookie sheet with tin foil and put the oats down in a thin layer.  I toasted them at 350 degrees for 13 minutes (this is when they started to turn golden brown).  I don't think you'd have to do this step but it was easy and I liked the result.
2) Chop up the chocolate chips in smallish pieces and mix them with the toasted oats and chopped walnuts in a large bowl.  (Since the oats were really warm when I did this, the chocolate chips melted.  I actually liked this but may also try cooling the oats first so I can have some chunks of chocolate in the bars.)
3) Warm the maple syrup and peanut butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds on 50% power.   Add the vanilla to this mixture.
4) Pour the maple syrup/peanut butter/vanilla mixture over the oats mixture.
5) Mix until everything is combined.
6) Transfer the mixture to an 8X8 pan that is lined with parchment paper.  Put in the freezer to harden.
7) Remove from the freezer and cut up into the desired size bars.  I then used parchment paper to wrap up the bars so they didn't touch one another.
8) I kept the bars in the freezer and that seems to be working well.

Who says tasty can't also mean good for you?  You should give these a try!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day and Serving Others

Today I feel blessed. 
This morning I got to sit next to my Dad in church.  The sermon was on the Fruits of the Spirit and the Pastor talked about how we must live out our inward faith by showing outward expressions of love.  He said one of the ways we can do this is by serving each other.  He challenged all of the Fathers in attendance today to show their children how to serve others.  He pointed out what a huge impact this would make in the world if Dads would not only love others (by serving others, treating them well and lifting others up) but also if they would teach their children to do this as well.
As I sat there next to my Dad today, I couldn’t help but picture myself as a young girl sitting in the church pew next to him just like we were today.  While a lot has changed for us in 25+ years and we may be sitting in a different pew than we did back then, there are a lot of things that still hold true.  My hair is still crazy curly and I don’t like getting up early and my Dad still has a true servant heart and enjoys helping others in need.   My Dad taught me by example from very early on to put God as a priority, to attend church, get involved in a church community and to serve others. 
I remember very vividly how much Dad would serve others by helping them with house projects, offering food to homeless people, inviting people new to town over for dinner when they didn’t know anyone and offering financial assistance to people in need or people in various ministries.   He was a hard worker and always gave 110% in his job (which also involved helping others).  He offered his time and talents by serving in different leadership roles in the church, professional organizations and his community.    
When my Dad left his job of 30+ years last year due to health issues, his office threw a going away party for him.  I will never forget what his boss said when she got up to give a little speech about my Dad.  She said she had asked my Dad what he felt his greatest accomplishment was and he replied, “Traveling to Mexico for several years and building houses for people who didn’t have one.”   His boss had expected him to report on one of his many accomplishments at work but this act of love and kindness is truly what meant the most to my Dad so this is what he gave as his answer.  Dad’s boss said this answer fit him perfectly.  She knew my Dad loved serving others and commented on how much this answer meant to her and that she will always remember this quality in my Dad.   
So today, on Father’s Day, I want to say Thank You to my Dad for showing me that an inward faith can have an outward expression of love and of serving.   This is a quality that lasts a lifetime and has had a profound impact on me and I hope to share this with my children as well. 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!!
Dad and I in 1987 (I was 5 years old)