|These will all go together well, right?|
My roommate caught me staring morosely into our panty and asked if I was actually making something, or if this was an "F*** it, who needs recipes day?" When I explained my thoughts, she suggested I give up on the day, since I sounded so down.
|Fresh from the oven|
I may need to work on that name.
Here's the recipe:
Christine's Chewy Raisin and Spice (With Oats and Other Healthy Stuff) Bars
|Christine's Chewy Raisin and Spice (With Oats and |
Other Healthy Stuff) Bars
1 cup strong black tea
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp all-spice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 13" x 9" baking pan with parchment paper. In a microwave safe container, microwave the tea, the honey, and raisins for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave for another 2 minutes if the honey is still thick. Let the raisins, tea, and honey stand for at least 5 minutes to allow the raisins to plump up a little. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl together and set aside. Measure the brown sugar into a large bowl. Pour the tea/honey/raisins over the brown sugar. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the vanilla and applesauce and stir until applesauce is spread throughout. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour into prepared dish and bake for 40 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bars about 1"x 2".
Some notes: Instead of using parchment paper to line the pan, it might be easier to just grease the pan. I used Celestial Seasonings' Nutcracker Sweet since that's currently the only black tea I have. I also used chunky homemade applesauce, so there are chunks of apple in my bars. I'd recommend using a smooth applesauce, but if chunky is all you have, it'll work - it'll just make cutting the bars neatly even harder than it already is.
The verdict? The roomie, who doesn't like raisins, declared the bars to be "tasty, aside from the raisins." I love them- I've probably eaten two rows of the bars already. The bars are almost-vegan (I don't think I can call them vegan since they have honey in them) and while they are not sugar-free, I think they may be fat-free. At least, I can't see where the fat is in the recipe. I like this recipe, but I think I may try making it again with just 1 cup of brown sugar. The bars are a little on the sweet side, but the spices are definitely center stage in this recipe.
I need to end this part with a "Whoohoo! I came up with another successful recipe!"
National Caramel Day
I love caramel. I really know I shouldn't eat it, but I do. It's gooey, sweet, and goes perfectly with so many things. It's great in cookies, on top of ice creams, perfect for dipping apple slices into.....just plain perfect.
|Sugars and Cream|
And of course, sometimes, even when you do everything just right, your candy still may be ruined due to the weather. High humidity makes it impossible for candies like fudge and caramel to set properly. I'm actually a little concerned that my caramel isn't going to set properly because it's drizzling right now and I don't like using air conditioners so our covered windows are open. It's been about five hours since I poured into the silicone pan, though, and it seems to be setting well. It's setting so well, I'm now worried that I did accidentally let the sugar get too hot and it'll be soft crack when I was aiming for firm ball consistency.
Well, I'll find out in the morning, but the caramel I licked off the spatula was mighty tasty, so I'll be eating the caramel no matter the consistency.
|Hopefully this sets|
National Dandelion Day
Some of you may be wondering why I included National Dandelion Day here. Well, dandelions are edible. In fact, there a lot of edible flowers. I've eaten a few - mainly pansies, nasturtiums, and lavendar - in salads and cookies and used a lot to make tisanes. And technically, broccoli is a flower, too. If you've never eaten a flower, give it a try. It's definitely a different experience. Just never eat flowers unless you know they're safe to eat and you're certain no pesticides were used on them.
I've eaten dandelions before. When I was younger, I remember it being a trend to pluck a dandelion flower and then sticking the stalk in your mouth and sucking on it. I would never do that now, because I'm a little wiser now and understand that eating random plants plucked in a playground is not a smart thing to do. Still, I have absolutely no problem buying dandelion greens from the grocery store if a recipe calls for it. I tried eating them raw in a salad, and I find them to be too bitter to eat that way. About's Southern Food has a recipe for cooked dandelion greens that I may have to try - I like the idea of a little spice. And over at the Safe Lawns Blog, there's a nice collection of uses for dandelions, including dandelion wine and beer.
Dandelion wine sounds interesting enough that I want to try it.