When I told my family and friends that I was moving to the West Coast, some of them kidded with me saying, “Oh, your going to go out there and get all chewy granola on us.” At the time, I was like yeah right not this Queen O’ Butter. Flavor over figure was my motto. And you want to know why? Because I was that wench bag that ate an entire chocolate cake in one night and nothing happened. Literally nothing, I would go as far as to say that eating that much sugar may have sped up my metabolism and I actually lost weight. Not quite, but yeah, I was THAT girl.
Anyway, in the recent years I have surpassed a milestone birthday and well I can tell that my metabolism is slowing down. I eat unhealthy food and in the past, it really didn’t phase me that much. Recently though, some foods really make me feel drained, emotionally and physically. Honestly, it is down right scary for me. My dad died at the age of 53 from heart disease and since then, I have known that genetically, I need to figure this thing out. For some reason though, I felt like being skinny, well at least skinnier than everyone else around me (which was my true barometer), was good enough.
Moving out West was an eye opening experience for me. I see women well into their 80’s, vibrant and still contributing to society. Riding bikes, exercising, I’ve even spied an older lady peacefully walking around alone snapping photos of nature on hiking trails. I marvel at her and want to be her when I grow up. They look so happy and cheerful, still having an eagerness in their eyes. I have to tell you, I am inspired every time we go out of the house and realize that life is truly what you make of it and you can live well into your years with vigor.
SO guess what… I’m going chewy granola, y’all. For breakfast this week, I have made my husband and myself some chewy “gorilla” bars. I call them gorilla because I traded out the fat for banana. Coming from the southern part of the U.S., what pairs perfectly with banana… peanut butter. Delicious little homemade bars, chocked full of protein from nuts and flavored with banana and some added cocoa nibs for a chocolatey flair.
16 bars @ approx. 277 calories each
- 1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups nuts (I used a mixture of pecans and almonds)
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the cocoa nibs and nuts.
2) Add honey, banana ,and peanut butter.
3) Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
4) Spread in the prepared pan.
5) Bake the bars for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re golden brown around the edges.
6) Remove them from the oven, loosen the edges, and cool for 5 minutes.
7) Use a knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars while they’re still warm in the pan. Carefully remove warm bars from the pan, and cool on a rack. Alternatively, remove from the pan before cutting into bars; it helps to cut in half first, then loosen the bottom of each half with a turner/spatula before turning out onto a sheet of parchment to cut into bars.
8) Wrap bars individually to store; or place in a single layer on a plate, and cover with plastic; or store in layers with parchment in between. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.