Now, you may think that because I’m a self-employed freelance writer, I stumble into bed at 3 AM, yawn and stretch my sleepy limbs at noon, and then talk to my plants for an hour while eating a sumptuous breakfast involving at least three bacon courses.
That’s what I would do if I were smart.
Instead, I have my love to keep me warm…and groggy.
The Boy works a bizarre schedule which has him up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning for about half of every week, and like the devoted sucker I am, I get up with him. But breakfast? BREAKFAST? That, I simply cannot do. He’s lucky if I manage to make it past the couch, where I typically wrap myself in a blanket and rock gently until I’m no longer praying for death.
Hey, I said I was devoted, not superhuman.
But still, The Boy’s gotta eat. And–despite the fact that food is, oh, THE LAST THING ON MY MIND while I’m doing my level best to maintain sanity and comprehend the fact that the sun is not up and yet I am I SAID THE SUN IS NOT UP AND THERE IS NO REASON ON EARTH WE SHOULD BE EITHER NO I DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET FIRED I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO SEE REASON AND REALIZE THAT THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANYTHING TO BE HAPPENING BEFORE 10AM–I should eat, too. Nothing fancy. Nothing that even requires electricity. Just something The Boy can grab on his way to the bus stop. Something that I can figure out how to unwrap, masticate, and swallow until everything makes sense again. Enter, the granola bar.
I used this recipe for inspiration–it’s based on the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. Then I changed a bunch of stuff. A lot of stuff. Still, though, credit where it’s due. It’s a great foundation recipe, just perfect for switching your favorite fruits, nuts, and favorite delicious bits in and out. It’s vegetarian and can even be made vegan by changing the kind of fat you use. And friends, does it ever smell (and look) good when you pull it out of the oven.
And hello, this is the post that keeps on giving, because the photo below makes the most maaaaahvelous computer desktop wallpaper:
My last version was as I’ve listed it below–full of plump dried cherries, toasted almonds, and oat-y goodness. I’ll be making another batch tonight, this time subbing in some peanut butter and chocolate chunks (oh, just a few…BACK OFF, I SAID JUST A FEW AND IF I CAN’T HAVE SLEEP I WILL HAVE MY CHOCOLATE). Oh, yes. I will have my chocolate.
Besides. It makes me feel good to know that somewhere, out there in the darkness, The Boy is riding some cold, bumpy bus to work, just as tired as I am, but perhaps with the hint of a smile on his face as he chows down on a breakfast in his number one favorite flavor combination, made by the BMG who loves him.
A BMG who is still at that moment incoherent and slightly out of her mind, yes. But still–a BMG who loves him.
Homemade Granola Bars
Makes 12 squares
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a glass 9 x 13.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and sunflower seeds together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned–I actually usually need 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ and fruit.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300˚F.
Place the butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into 12 squares. Serve at room temperature. (I like to wrap them individually for easy, on-the-go snacks or breakfasts.)