Chewy Cherry Coconut Granola Bars

cherry coconut granola bars

Let’s talk about weaknesses. Not to sound like a job interview, but I think it’s important to own up to what we struggle with. I’ll go first.

Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m bad with measurements, math, and grey areas.

Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

cherry coconut granola bars

Measurements: I cannot eyeball anything to save my life. I boil water for pasta and it takes 20 minutes because I completely fill the pot just to make SURE I have enough water. If I don’t do this, I never have enough water. Girl can’t win.

Math: I hesitate to even share this, but when I go to a restaurant, I take a long pause before filling out tip and calculating the total on my dinner tab. Sometimes I pretend I’m just having trouble deciding what percentage to tip. I’ll ask my dining mate, “How much are you tipping? 15%? 20%? I guess the server was pretty nice…” just to buy myself a bit more precious time. Once it’s all said and done, I sometimes need to cross things out and start again. As a reminder, I’m almost 27.

Grey Areas: Herein lies the heart of my personality. When I like things, I LOVE them, and when I dislike things, I despise them. For instance, it’s well known among my friends that purple is my favorite color. This is general knowledge not because I talk about it regularly, but because all the accessories I own are purple. In college I would literally walk down the hallway with a purple shirt, purple scarf, and purple backpack, holding my purple phone, without even realizing/caring how ridiculous I looked. Another recent lack of grey area can be seen in my newfound love for Revenge. Once I started watching it, I pretty much only stopped for sleep and work. I even watched it at the gym on my phone. This is my life.

cherry coconut granola bars

As I’ve hinted before, my food phases echo this black and white thinking as well. For instance, I’ve made a variation of this granola every week since I posted that recipe. I eat it for breakfast, I eat it for a snack, I think about it when it’s not around. This past Sunday, things got real when I found myself making both granola and granola bars within the span of four hours.

I argue that I had a completely legit excuse, of course. The boy’s weakness is remembering to eat food, which is pretty ironic since he’s with me, and I eat all the time. I’ll come home and ask what he’s feeling like for dinner, and his response will be, “Oh yeah, I am kind of hungry. I haven’t eaten anything today.” What? How? Why?

cherry coconut granola bars

I figured I’d make eating as easy as possible by providing a quick snack option. With these granola bars, he needs to only see the tupperware (which I’ve placed in the middle of the kitchen counter for easy access), open the lid, lift the bar to his mouth, and eat it. He may call me a hippie for my granola obsession, but at least I’m a persistent one.

Aaaand fine maybe I wanted a new afternoon snack for this week. These granola bars combine all of my current obsessions: oats, almonds, almond butter, coconut, and dried cherries. It took all my strength and self-discipline to leave out the white chocolate chips I had just purchased, but I did it, and it turns out they weren’t even necessary. These are sweet, chewy, and have a bit of a tart punch from the cherries. I also love the THICKNESS of these bars. None of those willy nilly itty bitty bars for me. No thanks. If it’s 3pm snack time, or if I just have a hankering for oats, which has happened a lot lately, this right here is exactly what I want.

cherry coconut granola bars

I ate one while I took pictures, I ate one yesterday a half hour before lunch to avoid the angry hunger effect, and I ate one for dessert last night after an absurdly huge falafel sandwich. I also have one sitting in my desk drawer just in case the craving hits. Always prepared.

Now the real question: Has the boy embraced granola bars as a potential daytime snack? Like, before we eat dinner at 8pm? Yes! He even said I should make more (MORE) for his next deer camp trip because he needs quick food for when he’s up in a deer stand all day. Look at him planning ahead with food. I’m so proud.
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Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

double chocolate macadamia nut cookies

After college I used to go to my parent’s house every Sunday to do my laundry. It wasn’t that I didn’t have laundry at my apartment, I was just terrified beyond belief of the laundry room beneath my apartment. When my roommate and I moved in, we looked at the dark dungeon of a laundry room and both gave it a definitive “no thanks.” I only used it a few times, and always in the middle of the day, and on my final trip I had a perfectly pleasant conversation with a man who had just moved in…which seems harmless enough looking back, but at the time I was convinced he was going to kidnap me. Yes, my mind is a weird place.

Anyway, my laundry room fear led to several cozy Sundays at my parent’s place. My sister would usually come over too, and we’d fight, as sisters do, over who got to put the first load in. While waiting for our laundry, we’d sometimes watch Grey’s Anatomy on the DVR, but usually we’d make cookies for my dad. Sure, my mom enjoys cookies (as long as they have “nothing weird” in them like peanut butter…crazy lady), but my dad is the one who really treasures baked goods. Now that my sister and I both live in places with in-unit laundry, our weekend baking adventures happen less often than my dad would like. When we do go to my parents place, my dad will inevitably come upstairs and say, “Are my girls baking me cookies? I haven’t had fresh cookies in so long…” Guilt.

A few weeks ago, this same scenario played out, but then my dad reached for a package of store-bought cookies. STORE BOUGHT! That’s what he’s succumbed to? I felt ashamed. It only got worse when he said, “Katie, give these a try. They’re really good.” Oh ARE they…We’ll see about that.

They were good. I hated them for it, but they were really good…disturbingly good, and of course full of the scary ingredients that come in store-bought cookies.

With my dad’s birthday coming up this Thursday, I decided to make him a batch of cookies that would at least keep him away from the store-bought variety for a few days. For this birthday treat, I put my own spin on those boxed white chocolate macadamia cookies he talked up so much. I wish I could say this “spin” was purely out of artistic inspiration, but in the same fashion that my sister and I usually make cookies at my parent’s place, I just went with what I had in my cupboards and made it work.
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