Sunday, December 14, 2008

Date Bars

There are many jokes to be made out of the phrase "date bars."

"I'm going home to make date bars tonight."
"You're going to what?
"I'm going home to make date bars tonight."
"You've been doing that a lot lately. It must be working out well for you."
"I'm going home to make date bars tonight."
"What? You're going to bars to find dates and make out?"

Those are just a few examples. I am sure you can only imagine the other possibilities. However, "I'm going home to make date bars" has fallen from my lips several times this last week, and today I succeeded. I love Larabars - an energy-type delicious bar wrapped in clever packaging - and every Larabar usually only has 2-5 ingredients. I decided I wanted to try my hand at making them when it became impossible for me to eat less than one a day.

So off I went to Wal-Mart to find dates, almonds, and coconut. Mmmm, coconut. Then, the experiments began. My friend Bethany suggested I boil the dates so as to make them a stickier binding agent. Then I chopped up the almonds and coconut in a food processor. I combined the boiled dates with the dry ingredients (including a dash of cinnamon) and food-processed it more.

I then tried several different baking methods at varying temperatures and times. I finally settled on the following method:

Grease cookie tray
Roll mixture into little balls
Place on try
Press flat with bottom of cup (to 1/2 inch thick or so)
Bake at 315 for 30 minutes

I am so excited that I unlocked the secret to my own Larabar version. In fact, I believe the Larabar company must dehydrate or otherwise slowly cook the bars because they do not have the baked texture, making my little cakes totally original.

I shall call them:


Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Coconut, Cinammon, Elbow Grease, Ingenuity, Love

200 Calories of
non-gluten, anti-processed sugar, dairy-free, potato-free, corn/corn-syrup/other-corn-derivatives-free, legume-free

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Post Christmas Party Joy

I just had my first Christmas office party. It's so great to be part of an organization that celebrates the heart of Christmas. Further, I led us in singing two Christmas carols. How does it get any better than that? Five or six years ago, I wouldn't have imagined being able to play Christmas tunes on a piano let alone sing and play. It gives me such great joy each time I have the privilege to provide this service for people. It is one thing that makes my heart sing.

This week has been a bustle of activity for me since I realized the need to buy all my Christmas presents before I go home to GJ for the weekend. The coming weekend at home will be the last time I see certain friends and family until after Christmas and New Years. I hope to make this weekend as special as can be.

Now I should actually start working again. I just needed to express the joy of a day well-spent so far.

PS: Here is a picture I really like -
I keep imagining elements of the Christmas story in different ways this year. Like, what if the angels came to some Mongolian goatherders. The shepherds that first visited Jesus must have been really dirty and smelly from being out in the fields. Even baby Jesus - I often picture him with open eyes, looking angelic, and smiling up at the shepherds. Well, if they visited him right after his birth, he probably couldn't open his eyes yet. He couldn't hear the noises going on around him well. All Jesus could do a few weeks after his birth was sleep, eat, cry, and gurgle. Baby Jesus was totally helpless - born into a grimy barn to road-wearied parents. I love thinking about this.