Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

Life has been busy. I am sure it is just as busy for all of you as it is for me. I find it really hard to fit in time for myself. Life is too short to not put my health and happiness at the forefront. I have known too many people that have lost loved ones, or passed themselves and to not live life to the fullest is a serious tragedy. I have been taking steps to ensure my life is one I am proud of. I am not perfect and I do fail at things. One thing I had been failing on recently was keeping my body healthy. I wasn't exercising. Somehow fitting another hour in the day just seemed impossible. So I started getting up an hour earlier. My daughter hopped on the bandwagon with me and I am happy to say that we have successfully been hiking every day for over 2 weeks now. 
It is a 45 minute hike up the hills behind my house. I like it because when we get to the top, we get to see the ocean. We had a friend walk with us one day this week. Here is a picture of us giving our thumbs up for making it to the top! 
The Pomeranians really enjoy hiking with us. This is their victory picture for reaching the top!
I am feeling healthier and stronger. I find I am waking up earlier and earlier each day and I am even looking forward to my hikes now. Life is just way too short to not live it to its fullest. Get out there and take the steps necessary to make each day a day worth living!
My daughter wanted some granola bars for in between meals. So I set out and bought some Bob's red mill certified gluten-free oats to ensure she would be ok with them. Oats that are not certified gluten-free make her really sick. I am super happy for certified gluten-free oats! This recipe is easy and the bars are really yummy.If you want to make it a little healthier you can use agave nectar instead of maple syrup. These keep nice and fresh in an airtight container in the refridgerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Maple Spice Granola Bars
Adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips

3 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
¼ c ground flax seed
¼ t ground ginger
1 t cinamon
¼ t nutmeg
⅛ t ground cloves
½ t salt
¼ c brown sugar
1 c pumpkin puree
½ c maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
½ c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare a 9x11 baking pan, or similar sized baking pan,  by lining it with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl, toss together the first 7 ingredients (oats through salt).
In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined.
Pour the liquid mixture over the oats mixture, and stir until evenly coated and the oats are moistened.Stir in the cranberries.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown, and firm.
Cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling completely.
Slice into bars.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

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