Sunday, September 25, 2011

Anna's No Bake Granola Bars

No Bake Granola Bars

This is my granola bar recipe adapted from various ones I've tried. Josh and I both love them and they are full of fiber and protein. I usually put them right into the freezer so they aren't eaten right away. They freeze wonderfully and thaw out really quickly.

Warning: If you use chocolate protein powder like I did these will taste like fudge bars or delectable no-bake cookies, so be careful :) But I've tried it with dried fruit and seeds instead and they are still really good!

1 cup peanut plain peanut butter (as in only peanuts!)
1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup fillers of your choice-I used sunflower seeds, chocolate protein powder, flax seeds. You can also do chopped dried fruit.

1. Put the peanut butter and honey/agave into a small sauce pan and heat on low and stir somewhat
    regularly. Careful not to burn, just get it warm enough to combine both ingredients.
2. This is optional- In the meantime toast the oats in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 5-
    7 minutes or until just browned.
3. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients - oats, cinnamon or other desired spices, and fillers. Mix until
    thoroughly combined.
4. Pour warm PB and syrup mixture into the oats and stir. Use a wooden spoon- this will be hard. Stir until
    all dry ingredients are at least moistened. It will still be crumbly. I've had to add a tablespoon of milk
    before because there wasn't enough liquid, but usually if you stir long enough it should work.
5. Pour all ingredients into a pan (This is a double recipe so I used 9x13) and with clean hands, begin to
    press the granola down flat. You may need to squeeze it together to eliminate holes. Once flat let set for
    about 10 minutes or more until cooler.
6. Cut with a sharp knife into desired sizes and use a spatula to remove. They may be crumbly depending on
    the liquid to dry ingredients ration, but hey, if they taste good, who cares!



Lately I've been feeling a little itchy. Itchy for something new. Itchy for ample time to try new recipes, to travel to far away places, or to just simply spend an entire day reading and relaxing. However, when I really think about it, if I had all this time to do the above I'd probably be longing for the work day routine I'm in now! And it's not that I don't enjoy my job or the place I'm at in life now, it's just our human nature (I think) to live much of life waiting for the next thing. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for lunch. Waiting for the coffee to be ready. Ha! And I'm not saying all this is bad- it's good for us as humans to have things to look forward to and hopes to long for.

Yesterday, in the midst of these thoughts, I was reminded of Colossians 3:17: Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do. Whatever? ...Sweep the floor? Work a long day? Have lunch with a friend? Talk to my husband about his day? Water my garden? Whatever? Yes, whatever.

I pray that in day to day boring-ness or excitement, I would glorify God and thank Him continually for there is contentment and joy in this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Love Poem

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here":
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat":
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dancing in my Living Room

This morning I woke up with Third Day's version of "Creed" in my head. This tends to happen about twice a year, even though it's been ages since I've listened to Third Day on a regular basis. I usually find the song online and casually listen to it as I make breakfast or something. But as I listen to the lyrics, I usually have to stop what I'm doing. The power of the somewhat simple and straightforward lyrics always get me. It's hard to explain really. It's kind of like when you hear something that really strikes a chord in you and you can't explain why in the moment, but you believe it so strongly with all your heart that you want to yell and shout for joy. Or you get a feeling of surreal peace in your heart that all you can do smile like a dummy. And not because someone told you you should, or even that you yourself thought it was the right thing to do. You just believe. And in that moment all the stupid worries about this scary life disappear. Yesterday's reality of 'not enough money, not enough time, not enough bla bla bla' washes away like it was never there. You can say it's emotion. And I will probably agree with you if you do! Theologically, we would say it's a response to God's outpouring of love. A response to the life of Christ poured out for sinners by a Father full of grace and truth and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Sure, this is a fitting time of year to think about God. For the Christian this is a significant weekend. Last night a bunch of us gathered in a grassy field for a somber evening of reflection upon Christ's death on the cross. We sat on lawn chairs, on blankets, on grass. We listened to scripture and thought and prayed as the hot sun beat down on our faces and weird bugs I've never seen before landed on our legs. At the end, many of us stood up and walked to a nearby table and ate a piece of bread dipped into wine to symbolize something much more than simple food and drink. Those who came to the table were of all ages, all races, all backgrounds. Tomorrow morning many of those same people will gather in a church building. Some of us will be wearing nice Easter clothes with smiles on our faces, but underneath we'll be the same people who need that bread and wine more than we know. Except Sunday we won't be as somber, maybe not quite as reflective, but we'll rejoice in the hope of all hopes- Christ is dead no longer. Isaiah 55 says come, "Come all who are thirsty!" Come you who are afraid, who are skeptical, who are wary of anything religious. Come you who've done wrong and you who've thought you've always done right. Come you who are disabled, are weary, are lost. I will readily admit that I am one of the above, and I will be one who is running to get a taste of peace, of joy, and of the celebration. And I speak namely of not just coming to a building to hear a prepared sermon, but coming to the raised Christ.

There might have been a tear or two today as I listened to good ol' Third Day. Maybe a little dancing in the living room. Definitely a cheesy smile as I finished my cereal. Oh don't worry, the shades were drawn. I am just thankful for a reminder of God's love on this hot cloudy morning here in Texas.

The lyrics of the song I'm talking about are mostly derived from the Apostles Creed, a statement of faith of sorts, dating back from the 2nd century. You can listen to it here:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Growing Plants and Screaming Babies

As many of you know, I got my own garden plot this year at a nearby community garden. I've been pretty excited about it. I grew up gardening. It was totally a family thing. Sometimes, though, I'm surprised that I even like gardening considering that a typical childhood punishment for my siblings and I was to weed the garden. Not, "Go to your room" or "No dessert for youtonight" or even "You're grounded", but "The corn patch will be really excited to have its weeds cleared this afternoon." But apparently it wasn't traumatic enough, because here I am anxious to weed my plot this weekend to free my plants from those pesky little intruders.

Over the past few weeks I've often thought, "Is taking care of plants similar to taking care of a child?" I know, I can only ride the wings of this analogy so far, but bear with me for a minute. First of all, I think of my plants often and wonder how they're doing. I wonder if the weather is too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry. I get excited each day I head to water them after work. If they don't look well, I wonder what I did wrong. My thoughts become consumed with , "Should I have listened to that guy at the nursery who said the fertilizer pellets were the best, or my dad who always fertilized with the organic liquid stuff?" or "Did I water too much this week?....Not enough?" On the flip side, when my plants look full and green I feel a sense of pride as if all the worry and hard work was totally worth it.

I fully realize that taking care of plants is a far cry from being a parent. Yet I imagine that some of the emotions -excitement, worry, pride- are similar. Magnified a million times, but similar. Now don't get too excited- this blog is not my way of announcing that a miniature Hurd is on the way. But Josh and I were talking about kids today. Josh is taking a class called Religion and Violence and the topic today was abortion. Over dinner tonight, we talked about the discussion from his class today. By the end of the meal, we had talked our way into thinking that adoption might be part of our future. Of course we'll see what the coming years bring. These are just thoughts and prayers now. Needless to say, I am excited for that season in life. I hope I'll be ready for the massive responsibility of growing something more significant and meaningful than a plant- a human being. And considering I'm currently having a bit of trouble keeping my tomatoes alive, it looks like I'm going to need a lot prayer and advice when that time does come!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Rider

I am a big fan of Frederick Buechner. In fact, almost everything I read of his I think "I need to start a blog so I can share this good stuff!" My intention in starting this is not necessarily to rewrite his thoughts as my own, but simply to share some, maybe often random, "budding ruminations" of a Seattle transplant figuring out a new chapter of life in the great country state of Texas.

Today, though, I do want to share an excerpt from The Hungering Dark- my most recent Buechner expedition. This short section comes right after an explanation of the triumphal entry narrative, hence "The Rider". I found this to be particularly powerful in light of the upcoming holiday fondly known as Good Friday...

"On his last evening, they eat supper together for the last time, the rider and his friends, in some large room, upstairs somewhere in the city, a real room with things in it carpentered out of wood, course cloth, ragged moth at the candle flame, clink of pottery. Hands of bone and muscle move through the air, the sounds that men make eating. One of them wipes the back of his hand across his bearded mouth. Another eats like a drunk, never once taking his eyes off the one face of all their faces that is still, in the way the air just before a storm is still. As was the custom, the rider gets up to bless the bread, gives thanks for it; and as was the custom, he takes the loaf up into his hands and breaks it for them. Then the unaccustomed thing. He gives the loaf a name, his body, the dark wine a name, his blood, whatever he means by it, and tells them to eat and drink, although God knows they have no stomach for food now and their mouths are clumsy and spit-dry with, among other things, fear. In other words, he tells them to take his life into themselves and live it for him.

Ever since, the bread has been broken, the wine poured out, in commemoration of his death. Some come, not so many anymore but always some, always enough, and the Lord knows why they do, why we do. Probably for the same reason that for century after century men have always come-because although there is much that we cannot understand, much that we cannot believe, the inexorable life in him draws us to him the way a glimmer of light draws a man who has lost his way in the dark. Because we are hungry for more than bread. Because we are thirsty for more than wine. That is the reason you have for coming to such a table, the reason I have for coming, and that is the only reason we need to have, thank God."