Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Must Make This Right Now

I have a thing for Lara Bars. These tasty bars contain three simple things: dried fruit, raw nuts, and spices. They are delicious and nutritious. There's only one drawback: they are very expensive.

Luckily I recently fell in love with Pinterest and discovered that my friend Sarah had located a blog with a recipe for homemade Lara bars. The recipe looked easy and all of the ingredients were in my kitchen (one of the perks of buying dried fruit and nuts in bulk at Costco).

I've now made these bar three times in two weeks. They are amazing. You need to make them. All you need are dates, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and a food processor. Don't have those things? Get off of your butt and go buy them. Now. Even if it means you need to buy a small appliance. That is how good these bars are. If you come to my house I will force-feed you them until you admit that you love them and your life will not be complete until you make them and have them in your refrigerator at all times.

These are amazing bars. And they are so easy to make I was compelled to document the entire process in an effort to convert you. As you can see, these are bars so good they make you crazy.

Step 1: Get Fruity
Put dried fruit into a food processor. I went with blueberries and dates and dried cherries and dates. Yes I love these bars so much I made two kinds in one day. Get off my back.
If you are able to get these in the bowl without eating any dates I applaud you. I have a date addiction and need to constantly taste.

Once the fruit is in the food processor, process it (I told you it was a simple recipe). You want it to go from this:
To this:
When it is mushy like in the photo put it in a bowl.

Step 2: Go Nuts
I've made the bars with almonds, pecans, and pistachios. Pecans are my favorite. Pick the nuts you want to go with and process them.
They should go from this:
To this:
Once chopped, put it in the bowl with the fruit.

Step 3: Spice it up
Add a dash of cinnamon.
Your bowl should look like this. When you look in the bowl you will probably be questioning my love of these bars.

Step 4: Mix it up
You'll need to use your hands.

Mash it up until it looks like this:

Step 5: Wrap it up

Split the goo in half. Wrap your bars in saran wrap and store them in the fridge. When you are running out of the house and need to eat breakfast grab one on the go and congratulate yourself on being so prepared.

Now head on over to Enlightened Cooking to get the recipe and make these.

You're welcome, America.

Apple Butter Bartering

A few weeks ago I read on Stacia's blog about her apple butter making. I love apple butter. It is perfect on toast, especially in the dead of winter.

I convinced Stacia to trade me one jar of delicious apple butter for a loaf of bread.
One loaf my favorite light wheat bread later I am now the proud owner of a jar of apple butter.

I could really get into bartering.

While I was at Stacia & Greg's dropping off the bread I was able to check out her worm composting system. It's incredibly cool and I am getting one at our new house.
So in short - I tried being a hippie and it's cool.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Slippers for Mom

Over Christmas Mom requested a pair of felted slippers. I recently finished a huge knitting project (photos to be posted as soon as possible), so I was ready for a a quick hit knitting project.

I had stash yarn leftover from other projects. I found the Duffers pattern on Raverly and got to work.

Knitting items to be felted is fun, because you get to use big needles and act like you are knitting for a giant.
Once felted the slippers are toasty warm and much cuter.

UNI Game

Last weekend we headed to Drake to watch UNI kick some butt at basketball. I neglected to take photos of my UNI friends at dinner before the game or at Justin and Amy's after the game, but I did remember to take a photo at the game. It shows what a good job Justin does at getting tickets for the whole group.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iowa Nice

If you haven't seen this yet you should watch it. They language may be offensive. I think it's funny even with the language.

Republican Recap

Tonight is a big night in Iowa. After months of campaign commercials thousands of Iowans are headed out to Caucus for candidates they support. I am not caucusing, as my candidate in November already has a spot on the ballot.

Even though I am not participating tonight, I have enjoyed learning about the candidates running for office. Along with my trusty co-workers Brian and Angie I have gone to see five Republican candidates for office over the past two months. It has been quite an experience.
My trusty co-workers

One of the perks of working at a large insurance company is that Republicans line up to speak to your office. For you convenience I have arranged my comments in order from least crazy to totally crazy.

Not crazy: Mitt Romney
Do I agree with this guy? No. Do I respect him? Yes. Unlike most other candidates I heard speak, he was not an enormous ass.

Newt Gingrich: Angry Grandpa
Newt started off great. I liked the guy. Then his medication wore off and he started talking crazy. Having seen him answer questions off the cuff I can now easily imagine him shaking a rake at kids and yelling at them to get him off his lawn.

Michele Bachmann: Not the craziest
What does it say about the options that this lady is not the craziest? That's right. This tiny woman who thinks you can pray gay away and speaks of Obama like he is a disease not the president is not the craziest person I heard speak this fall.

Rick Santorum: He Probably Hates You
He spoke for 30 minutes. He didn't mention the economy until a question was asked about it. He hates gay people and women's rights. We don't exactly see eye to eye on the social issues.

Rick Perry: Frightening Nut Job
Imagine you are watching a sketch from Saturday Night Live about a politician giving a speech drunk. That's pretty much what listening to Rick Perry is like. He wants to privatize the TSA. He's for states rights but for a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. He sited a story from the Bible and said God had picked him to run for president. He didn't even speak about his platform. He had Bobby Jindal do that for him.

If Bobby Jindal runs for president I'm pretty sure I would put him between Mitt and Newt.

I am thankful for the opportunity to hear so many candidates speak. I hope that the next time I hear candidates speak they do not focus on how faith can heal our country. I think God has bigger things to do than think about tax law in the United States. I hope that candidates start focusing on how everyone can work together to keep our country great. If we spent half of the time we spend complaining about the other party working together we could accomplish a lot.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was a busy year. I'm excited for a slower paced 2012.
John & I rang in the New Year with the Ourtoberfest crew at Sbrocco. We like to celebrate NYE with a fancypants dinner.
It's hard to believe I've been friends with this group for 10 years. We all started in the Service Center at Allied. They are such wonderful friends.

In addition to the regular Ourtoberfest crew Sarah and Ivy joined us this year. We are happy to welcome them to the Ourtoberfest community. We are hopeful they will join us at all of our upcoming Ourtoberfest events.

I wish you all a wonderful 2012. May this year be your best year yet.