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Energy Bars

Can you believe July is drawing to a close already?! Goodness, with the almost non-existent summer weather we’ve been getting, it feels like summer has barely even begun!

My globe-trotting mother is currently traveling through Eastern Canada and US, where I’m sure she’s getting her dose of scorching heat! Before she left, I made these Energy Bars, adapted from Mama Pea’s Vegan Energy Bars, for my mom to take on her trip:

My mom and I prefer granola bars that are hearty and barely sweet. I have searched high and low for a store-bought bar that isn’t too sweet, and while I do like the Kashi bars, they’re still too sweet for my mom’s palate. So I used Mama Pea’s recipe as a basis to create a granola bar that suits my mom’s tastes:

Energy Bars (makes 10 bars)

2.5 TB ground flax seeds + 7 TB warm water

2 C quick oats

1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C smooth natural nut butter (I used peanut butter with no sugar/salt/extra ingredients added)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

3 TB maple syrup (*see note)

2 TB lightly packed brown sugar (*see note)

1/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

2/3 C roughly chopped nuts (I used a combination of almonds, pecans, and walnuts)

2/3 C dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped dried apricots)

1/3 C sunflower seeds

* Note: Like I indicated, I don’t have a very sweet palate, so if you prefer a sweeter granola bar, use up to 1/4 C maple syrup and/or 1/4 C brown sugar. The great thing about vegan baking is that you can taste and adjust as you go!

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together ground flax and water. Let sit for a few minutes so it “gels up” while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, stir together nut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Add flax+water mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Stir together together dry and wet ingredients. Add shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruit, and sunflower seeds. Continue stirring until well combined.

Use a spatula to spread mixture in a 9 x 9 pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Lightly wet your hands and press down firmly on the mixture until it is all evenly spread in the pan. Press down firmly, as this will really help your granola bars to achieve the right texture and stay together after baking.

Bake for 17 – 20 mins until lightly browned. Let cool in pan for about 1/2 hour, then use the parchment paper to lift bars out of the pan. Cut into bars, and let cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping in plastic wrap.

These bars are a good balance of chewiness and crunch, with just the right amount of sweetness. They are the perfect filling snack for when you are on the go. Hope my mom’s enjoying them while on her whirlwind travels!

 

 

Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Kitchen Adventures

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Dream Come True

Two years ago today, I married my best friend, the love and light of my life.

It was a day bathed in sunshine and infused with so, so much love. We celebrated our special day with all our closest friends and family, who shared an abundance of laughter and good times with us. When I think back to that magical day, I just want to smile and smile. I felt so much love in my heart, for everyone there, for everything beautiful and wonderful in the world, and especially for the man I was about to marry.

Here’s a look back at July 26, 2009 (all photos by Kevin Yu)…

Getting ready at home with family and my maid of honour, Kanata, was fun and relaxing:

(I love how random and candid this photo is!)

(In the weeks leading up to the wedding, I was obsessed with dozens upon dozens of lists in order to keep organized. Here I am checking my final list one final time before leaving for the chapel.)

Kevin was at our house photographing me while Len was getting ready with his family in Richmond, so unfortunately, we don’t have any photos documenting his morning. I learned later that the majority of his morning was spent rewriting his marriage vows. 😀

Len sent me a very sweet note to read just before the ceremony began:

I had been so calm and relaxed all day. Then the music began, Kanata gave me one last smile and started down the aisle, and I was left alone in the little bridal room to await my cue. That’s when the significance of the day washed over me and I started to lose it. Len and I had waited for so long for this day, and we had both journeyed so far (figuratively) to get to this point, and I was overcome with emotion. I thought about how much I had wanted Dad to be there, how happy he would be for us all. I thought about how incredibly blessed we were to have such an amazing, supportive, and loving group of friends and family around us that wanted only the very best for us. I thought about how long I had dreamed of this day, and how it was truly a dream come true for me to be marrying Len.

My mom said that she could feel me shaking as she took my arm to walk me down the aisle. Then I saw Len smiling at me, and all those thoughts melted together into sheer happiness.

In quintessential Len fashion, his marriage vows drew hearty laughter from our guests:

The ceremony remains one of the brightest highlights in a day full of light. It was everything we had dreamed of; it was simple and deeply heartfelt, and representative of what we live and love by. Special moments included the beautiful music played by our talented friends, Lauren and Ruth; the reading given by my long-time childhood friend, Ling; and the surprising and heartwarming moment when I realized that our minister had been moved to tears by our vows to each other.

And then almost before I knew it, we were married!

We were married at Minoru Chapel. The first time I laid eyes on it, I knew that it was the little white chapel of my dreams. It’s tiny, quaint, old-fashioned, and so softly romantic.

Then came the scorching heat and blazing sun outside where we met our guests. One of the reasons why I love Vancouver is its temperate climate, never getting either too hot or too cold. Until the week of our wedding, that is. It was insane. And in my heavy wedding dress, I was a ridiculous sweaty mess.

(There’s Ling!)

Did I mention it was hot??

My new family:

Mommy and me:

Brothers 😛 :

Best MOH ever:

And all our awesome family and friends:

We then jetted off (in our Buick Century with Len driving–what can I say, we wanted to be Len and Susan all the way 😛 ) to the Richmond Olympic Oval (site of the 2010 Winter Olympics) for photos…

And my dad was with me that day:

Since we had a western-style ceremony, we decided to have a traditional Chinese banquet for the reception. Lots of red coming up!

Lots of fun and hilarity ensued…

The evening was filled with so much laughter and amazing food. It was everything Len and I had hoped for and more.

As I write this, I can recall the memories, emotions, and thoughts of that day so readily that it’s hard to believe it was two years ago. And what I remember most vividly is how, at the end of the night, I was just so happy and content to be married to Len.

Happy Anniversary, my love!

 

Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Thoughts

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