Favorite Granola Bars & Life Update

Hi, hi, hello. :)  

Anyone still out there? I'm not sure if many people still read blogs anymore, as instagram is increasingly encroaching on that part of the internet, but here I am. Though the absence of posts would say otherwise, I have missed this space, but I've been a bit busy. 

I had another baby. 

Meet Amelia.  We are completely and totally smitten,

Maybe you're thinking, "didn't she just have a baby?"  And the answer to that is yes.  Caleb and Amelia are 18 months apart. 

As I've previously written, Caleb was a very challenging baby, and I struggled a lot with my initial adjustment to motherhood.  Pretty much everything about it was hard and humbling.  So, finding out when he was ten months old that we were pregnant AGAIN, just as things were starting to get a little easier and I was feeling a little less like I was in a constant state of survival was really really hard.  And humbling. 

But, as it turns out, nine months is a long time.  Life with Caleb continued to become easier and more fun (despite the new toddler tantrums) and we began to create space in our hearts and minds for a little girl(!) to join the mix. 

And now that she's here, I feel like she's filled a hole that we didn't even know existed.  Make no mistake--life with two under two is utter insanity--think simultaneous baby crying and toddler meltdowns and a house that is a complete disaster most of the time.  But one thing that having kids has taught me is that everything is fleeting--the good moments and the hard ones.  I've gotten a lot better at breathing through the hard moments and trying to cherish the good ones.  

And if there's one thing I know to be true in my life, it's that my younger sister is the best gift my parents have ever given me. 

I hope that Caleb feels the same way. I think he will.

Amelia is almost three months old now, but in her first few weeks of life, I could not get enough of these granola bars.  In those first few weeks when I was breastfeeding at all hours of the night, I kept these on my nightstand for snacks throughout the late night and early morning hours.

Maybe you're thinking that there are a million types of granola bars--even really good granola bars--the you can buy at the store, so why take the time and effort to make your own?  

Honestly, I share the sentiment, or I did until I made these in a moment of last minute nesting before Amelia arrived.  But I can confirm that if you take the time to make these homemade granola bars, you will not regret it. 

When I ran out of my first batch of these, I went back to the store-bought kind and was so disappointed.  The very next day, I made a second batch of these, even with a three week old at home.  They are that good (and that easy to make). 

I know it's Christmas cookie baking season now, so granola bars probably aren't high on your baking priority list, but bookmark this recipe for later, or better yet, make them and add some holiday sprinkles. 

Favorite Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup oat flour (made by pulsing 1/2 cup oats in a food processor or blender)
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, millet or wheat germ 
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried dried fruit (my favorite combination is dried cranberries and chopped dates)
1 cup chocolate chips  (Dark chocolate is good. I also really like the mini chips here if you can find them)
1/2 cup almond butter or peanut butter 
1/2 cup neutral oil
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, agave, or golden syrup 


Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment paper or grease well. 

Combine oats, oat flour, quinoa, salt, dried fruit, and chocolate chips in a large bowl. 

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the almond butter, oil, and maple syrup.  Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.  

Pour the mixture into the pan and press firmly, using your hands to smooth the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.  For the best-shaped granola bars, let cool completely before cutting. 

I like to cut these into bars, individually wrap each one, and keep the in the freezer, if you can get them to last that long. 

Adapted, barely, from Smitten Kitchen 


Easy Banana Pancakes for Baby

Hi, friends. 

Here I am, over a year later, finally updating the blog. 

My baby is a year old now, and his first birthday felt like a big accomplishment. 

Motherhood, it turns out, was a really tough adjustment for me.

Caleb was a fussy newborn and all-around terrible sleeper, both for naps and at night-time.

I'd heard about sleep deprivation with a newborn of course, but I wasn't prepared for the effect it would  have on me to have interrupted sleep for months at at time.

It is painful to me to admit, but the first few months of his life were a dark and hard time for me.

I felt like a constant failure for never getting him to nap well and always having a fussy and over-tired baby, and the severely interrupted night sleep made me feel like a sad shadow of my former self.  To make matters worse, Adam went back to traveling during the week, so I was alone with a non-sleeping baby four days a week.

I survived that time mostly due to my sister, who spent many days and nights with me soothing a fussy Caleb, and my friends who brought by food or just came by to provide company.

Thankfully, over time, his daytime sleep improved, and with a lot of hard work, he started sleeping longer stretches at night.  I went back to work, which brought another set of challenges, but overall once he turned four months old, he became a much happier baby, and he's become more and more fun ever since.

Since he turned six months old, our moments of joy and laughter far outnumber the hard or frustrating moments.

These days, my baby is adventurous, opinionated, endlessly curious, and always on the move.  He loves exploring, throwing things, taking books off the book shelf, banging toys together to make loud noises, and generally tearing up a room. I love every single thing about him and kiss his chubby cheeks every chance I get. 

These banana pancakes are his very favorite thing to eat.  He's been eating them since he was about eight months old, and I make them pretty much every weekend.

This is a five-ingredient, one bowl recipe. I never measure any of the ingredients, and the pancakes always turn out fine. These pancakes are more moist and less fluffy than your traditional pancake, but that makes them easier to chew and swallow for little eaters.   I cut the pancakes up in small pieces for Caleb, and I can generally only give him a couple pieces at a time, otherwise he will stuff all the bites in his mouth at one time! His love for these pancakes is intense.  

He can eat this entire recipe in one sitting, although I usually try to stretch it out over a couple days. I often double the recipe and save the leftovers in the fridge for easy breakfasts during the week.

While I know this recipe might not be appealing to many of my readers, I hope it might be useful to some of you.  For others, here's another healthy banana pancake recipe you might like.

Thanks for sticking around, friends.  I hope you find something this week that makes you as happy as these banana pancakes make Caleb. : )

Easy Banana Pancakes for Baby 

1 ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons baby oatmeal (or oats, pulsed in a blender or food processor)
dash of cinnamon
dash of vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons butter or oil of choice

1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

2. Whisk together mashed banana and egg.  Add oatmeal, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.

3.  Pour batter into pan. (I usually make 3 pancakes)  Once bubbles form on the surface, flip to the other side.  Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Let cool before serving to baby.  Enjoy!



He's Here!

Our perfect little Caleb arrived on February 20th. Today he's a week old, and looking at these photos makes me a little teary because he's already grown so much already. (<--I used to think it was weird when other moms said things like this, but now I totally understand.)

There were many moments throughout my pregnancy when I wished that the timing had been different--when I was suffering through morning sickness and exhaustion while studying for the bar, terrified that I wouldn't pass; when I had to tell my employer a month into my new job that I was four months pregnant; when we lost out on our second offer on a house and our temporary housing situation was less than ideal--but now I can see how little any of that mattered. It was never about my timing anyway.  Now everyday I look at him, unbelievably happy despite my sleep deprived state, and think, 
it was you, all along,
all along, it was you. 


Happy 2017!

Happy 2017, friends!

I did not intend to entirely neglect this space for two and half months, but such is life.  Between long work hours, moving into a new house, and trying to prepare for baby, I have been doing well to just feed myself decent meals, let alone make new dishes to share with you.

However, I have been cooking a bit more in recent weeks.  Soup weather is fully upon us, so I've made a variation on this kale and potato soup, my mom's best ever turkey chili, moroccan chickpea stew, and an easy ham and white bean soup with leftover Christmas ham.  Christmas morning, I made Smitten Kitchen's cranberry-orange breakfast buns (shown above), and they were amazing. I highly, highly recommend that you try them.

Adam and I escaped to Asheville this weekend for a last hoorah before baby R comes in February.  It was a much needed get away.  We ate tapas, listened to music at our favorite wine bar, and drank hot chocolate (salted maple and pistachio rose cardamon shown above).

I am still in disbelief that Baby R will be arriving in 6ish weeks.  I've been experiencing such a mixture of emotions---extremely grateful that we have made it thus far and that baby seems healthy, discouraged about how large I feel and how uncomfortable I am when sitting or standing for any period of time, fearful about giving birth, anxious about getting everything ready in time, and worried about recovery, taking care of a baby, and going back to work after maternity leave.   Most of all though, I can't wait to see our baby's face for the first time and kiss his or her little cheeks. I cry every time I think about it.  Actually, I cry a lot these days about a variety of things.  Poor Adam. 

(Don't mind the hair)

I'm not sure how this space will evolve over the next year, but as I always, I am so grateful to you for reading and sharing and cooking. 

I didn't post as many recipes in 2016 as I have in years past, but here are some of my favorites: 

Wishing you a new year filled with tacos and friends and maybe some of those cranberry orange breakfast buns.....

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