Thursday, October 6

Fall returns

Goodness! How quickly time seems to go when you are as busy as a bee (like me, and most of those I know around me). I am delighted to be surrounded by trees that are shifting colors. This summer has been a summer of transition for me, as I have moved from the garden unit to reside temporarily with some of my friends and now back home (but only for a quick minute, as soon I will embark on a new adventure in  Omaha, Nebraska!). Not only have I watched friends move in and out of Milwaukee, I have transitioned from working full time to working only at the craft stand. I have traveled to visit friends and family, all of which has been wonderful. Needless to say, however, it has been a long period of transition, and I am getting increasingly excited/anxious to settle in my next home. It is comforting for the seasons to be in a state of transition as well, because it reminds me that I am not the only one transitioning. It reminds me that things are always transitioning!
happy fall! 
A brief recap of the past month or so:
It was prime season for sailing, which my dad was happy about. We explored lake Michigan, which I will miss when I move from Milwaukee. It really is a beautiful place.
Bridget and I, on Lake Michigan
My family was delighted to have our friend Mai visit us from Japan, for the month of September! She had lived with us for about 9 months a few years back and this was her first return visit. What a wonderful time we all had.

My mom and I canned pears from my grandpa's tree. This year, his single pear tree yielded 200 juicy fruits! Imagine a pear that is actually filled with juice. As soon as you take a bite, sweet juice is pouring out. Quite the special treat, indeed. He also had plenty of fresh and delicious apples, which were enjoyed thoroughly by Mai, my cousin Claire, myself, and the ponies!

I visited Omaha to watch John and several of his friends run an ultramarathon (50k!) in the countryside of Nebraska. Annie and I were their support team, as we leapfrogged with them via automobile, with water, gear and plenty of homemade granola bars (see below for the recipe!). They all finished and in great stride and Annie and I received many high-fives from other race runners, and were recognized by some as the best crew!

We celebrated harvest season, with a potluck at the community garden. It was quite a successful season, as all the beds were filled and our harvest was plentiful. My best friend from the garden Jamarion even came! 

This past weekend, I visited Jill at her new residence in Missouri. We then traveled South to visit my dear Mema and Poppa. Of course, we made caramels, which are always a treat. This time, we sprinkled the top with sea salt before the caramels had set. This added quite a tasty flavor to the delicious morsels. We enjoyed the fall weather of southern Missouri, and even tried our hand (unsuccessfully) at persimmon butter. There are several persimmon trees in their neighborhood that are fruiting now. What beautiful fruits they reap, unfortunately several unripe fruits spoiled our batch. A minor setback, compared to the rest of our lovely visit.
 Jill with our persimmon bounty
Game night, with Mema and Poppa
And what is next? Next week, Annie and I are embarking on a 600 mile bike ride. Perhaps we are a bit crazy, but what better time to go, then now. The trees are practically yelling at us to get biking! We will first finish up our craft stand season, but then the road is ours.

To prepare, we have been biking quite a bit, and have fixed up our little bikes so they are road-ready (thanks to our friends at Milwaukee Bicycle Company!) Today, I am preparing some food for the road. A hybrid from the ultramarathon bars I made a month back, we hope these treats keep us going, even when we are feeling a bit defeated. As you may know, we don't let traveling or even camping prevent us from enjoying a tasty treat. With a little planning, you can have great food no matter where you are!

Open-road Bars of Encouragement
1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of sorghum
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups puffed wheat, rice or kamut (I used Kashi 7 grain cereal!) 
1/2 cup bran buds or Grape-Nuts cereal
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup of pecans
1/4 cup of almonds
1/3 cup salted sunflower seeds

1. In a medium sauce pan, warm up the peanut butter, honey, sorghum and the brown sugar until the sugar has melted and peanut butter has thinned out.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients in big bowl and dust with cinnamon. Pour liquid on top and mix it up so that everything is equally coated. 

3. Then, spread the mixture into a well greased pan. Press mixture down with a piece of greased wax paper (otherwise you will have granola-hands!). Bake for about 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

4. Allow the bars to cool down completely before cutting. When they are cooled and solid, cut the bars into individual sizes and wrap with wax paper or put in little baggies. Enjoy! They will last for about a week at room temperature, but you can also refrigerate or freeze them so they last even longer (this shouldn't be a problem, because they will likely be eaten before too long!) 

Maple-cinna-raisin Bars
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of puffed wheat, rice or kamut
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 cup of flour
3/4 cup of raisins (my mom made our raisins!)
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of real maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl mix together everything except the last three ingredients. Pour the remaining ingredients over the dry ingredients until everything is coated. Pat into a greased pan.

2. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the bars begin to turn golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and cut the bars while they are still warm. Be sure to cut them while they are warm, or it may be too hard to cut. Bon appetite!

Ultramarathon Power-packed Bars
1/4 cup of dried figs, chopped
1 cup of dried dates, chopped
1/4 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3/4 cup of honey
1/2 cup of sorghum syrup

1/8 cup of chopped walnuts
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 cup of chopped almonds
1/8 cup of flax seeds
1 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1 1/2 cup of coconut flakes
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1. Mix first set of ingredients together and heat over low heat on the stovetop until combined.

2. In a really large bowl, mix together the second set of ingredients. When the syrup is combined, pour over the dry ingredients. Using greased wax paper, press all of the ingredients into a pan so they are really packed in!

3. Bake at 250 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool, cut into bars (they will be a bit crumbly, but this makes them delicious) and wrap. For these, we found it easiest to place them into zippie-bags. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for longer shelf life.
*For extra fun, Mai and I made labels for each of our marathon bars, with little inspirational messages for the runners. I think they appreciated that :)

Open road, here we come, with treats!

No comments:

Post a Comment