There are morning people. And there are not. I am firmly convinced of this. And I am not a morning person.
When people say they are morning people, do they mean that they wake up with a spring in their step, a song in their heart, and a smile on their face? Nope, not me.
I can function, mind you. I might even start a load of laundry before 6 a.m., sort through mail, make the bed, do the dishes that didn’t get done the night before. In fact, I really love to do all these non-thinking type of tasks early in the morning. Gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Anyhow, I can bark, “Whaddya mean, I’m not a morning person!?! I did all this, didn’t I?”
But I am not sharp. Or friendly. Don’t ask me anything but the most basic of questions. You won’t like the response.
It took all I had to control my morning-ness when people had to get to school and work, dressed and on time.
But now that I don’t have children at home, or a regular job, it’s a lot easier to manage the morning. It’s now become my best computer time. With a cup of coffee (definitely coffee – tea won’t do) and maybe a little breakfast.
That’s the trouble with us non-morning people. We really don’t do breakfast. And we should. Might make us more pleasant. So I’ve been giving granola bars a try. Homemade ones. And, you know? They’re very good. They’re not exactly cheap to make, but they’re very good. And they put a smile on my face, if not a spring in my step.
I didn’t have wheat germ the first time I made these. Instead I ground some Grape Nuts in the food processor. Good substitution. And I didn’t have dried apricots. That’s okay. These have plenty of good stuff in them.
(By the way, I didn’t make these in the morning.)
Homemade Granola Bars
from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
½ cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup chopped pitted dates
½ cup dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line in with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, honey, 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. Add the dates, apricots and cranberries 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 squares. Serve at room temperature.
Makes about 12 to 16 bars.