Saturday, September 8, 2018

DIY Homemade Power Protein Bars

I first learned a version of this idea a couple years ago from a web search, but I have changed it a LOT and I like it even better with the changes I made!

This is an easy project, though it is time consuming and messy!

You will need a food processor and either a stand mixer or a big bowl and a strong mixing arm! (side note ... I have had my Kitchen Aid 5qt Tilt Head Stand Mixer for 25 years and it's still going as strong as ever! TOTALLY worth the investment! I'm not always gentle with it LOL)

I have chosen ingredients that are nutrient dense to make this a POWER PUNCH of nutrition fuel. You can research the nutritional values for each item, as I am not going to address that too much, but I will pop in a few random comments as we go.

Choose organic, bulk, local or homegrown ingredients as suits your lifestyle, but I always recommend getting the highest quality ingredients that you can afford and are available for you. I have included some Amazon affiliate links for items I buy.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (it's a complete protein and a pseudo-grain, and helps provide the sustaining fuel for your morning! I make a decent batch and use the rest for salads and pilafs! YUM!) (click here to get red quinoa on Amazon)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (high in protein) (click here to get raw pumpkin seeds on Amazon)
    • optional 1 cup of any sort of nuts you like. I occasionally throw in walnuts.
  • 1 can drained or 1-1/2 cups cooked beans. Mung beans are the most nutritionally dense, but are are more expensive and can be difficult to find canned, so you have to buy them dry and cook them. I most often use garbanzo or black beans. The photos show canned drained garbanzo. (click here to get dry mung beans from Amazon)
  • 12 dried figs. Darker figs are more nutrient rich, but are not available everywhere.
  • 1 cup fresh ground nut butter of your choice. I use peanut becasue I like it best. Do NOT use the canned peanut butter that has ingredients!! If your nut butter has more ingredients than 2 (nuts and salt) put it back on the shelf and walk away! The added industrial sugar and hydrogenated whatevers will wreck your bars! And they are not nutritionally sound. Check those nutrition labels.
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Cocoa is not only tasty but is high in antioxidants. Make sure this is 100% cocoa, no added sugar or flavor. No, chocolate milk mix is not a substitute. (click here to get cocoa powder on Amazon)
  • 1/2 cup unflavored unsweetened protein powder. I use a pea powder becasue most of the whey powders I have found in my area have added soy which I do not eat. Again, read labels. (click here to get the one I use from Amazon)
  • 1 bar of 100% cocoa baking chocolate all chopped up. Unsweetened. You can also use a cup a carob chips, or dark chocolate chips, I just don't like all the added sugars. (click here to get baking chocolate on Amazon)
  • 1/3 cup dark or black strap molasses. You COULD use honey, but molasses is amazingly rich in minerals and adds a richness to the overall flavor of the bars that I LOVE! (click here to get molasses on Amazon)
  • coffee or water
Ready? ... let's get messy! I've got lots of pictures to walk you through each step.
  1. First up, get out your food processor and put in the beans, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, nuts if you are using them and the figs (take the little stems off as you toss them in! You'll be glad you did!)

  2. Whir that around until it's as blended up as your machine will get it. It DOES NOT need to be smooth or creamy.


  3. Dump this into the mixing bowl.


  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix it up.


  5. It will be dry and crumbly, so add 1 tablespoon of coffee (the beverage! not the grounds!) at a time as you mix until you have a dough about the consistency of playdough. If you don't want the added caffeine of the coffee, use water.


  6. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. You can use a brownie pan, that seems to be a good size. The one I use is an odd size, it's not a 9x13, nor is it a 9x9 brownie pan ... But it works for me! You will thank me for this step! It makes everything that comes later so much easier!
  7. Dump in your dough. Using a piece of waxed paper, pat, press and rub the dough out evenly into the pan. Snip the corners of the parchment paper as necessary to miter them so it's not all bunched up in the corners and causing issues there!
  8. After it's all flat, trim away the excess parchment that is sticking above the pan.


  9. Bake at 325 degrees for only 15 minutes! You are not COOKING this! You are heating it to meld the ingredients. If it cooks too long you will have a crumbly mess.
  10. Take it out of the oven. Place a layer of parchment on top and without burning yourself, pat and compress the "cake" a little. Leaving the parchment on top of it, pour in dry popcorn, or dry rice, or dry beans or something like that to really weight it down.


  11. Put it in the fridge to cool for several hours. All day or all night is great! You want it to be cold all the way through.
  12. After it's cold, use the parchment that's holding the popcorn like a paper funnel to lift that out and pour it back into it's canister! Saving the paper! Lay that paper out on the cutting board, and turn the cold bars upside down on there, and peal away the paper that lined the pan!
  13. Now, cut into brownie sized squares!

    Store in a container or zip-lock bag in the fridge. They are NOT shelf stable! BUT will be fine for the day in a lunch box.

And there you have it! NOW! Go clean up the kitchen!
Did you try this recipe?
I'd love to hear your experience with it! Please comment below and share the link to this article so other people can find it too!

Love,
SuziQ

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Responding Instead of Reacting


When we make our inquiry, then sit quietly and listen for a reply we will hear it.
Now, I don't mean necessarily mean sit, but we do need to quiet our minds so that we are able to receive an answer.
That applies equally to our interactions with the people in our lives! How many times do we ask our spouse/partner something and expect an emmediate response!?
If we are certain our query was received by our loved one, what if we become ok with letting the response process for 30 seconds, a minute, 5 minutes?
Unless a response is urgent, like, someone is in danger, what's the harm in letting one another process to a healthy respectful response instead of blurting out a reaction.
I need to work on being ok with letting ME ponder more before opening my mouth. Slowing my reaction down to a response is not an instinct for me. But it does feel better when I can!



Sunday, June 10, 2018

Living Well is More Important Than Ever






I was cleaning the gutters of our house and feeling so blessed for  the health and ability to do this task. Thankful that I could spend that time with my husband, working on the care of our home together.

Sometimes it's the simple things that make our lives good, right?

How you define Living Well?

As we more and more frequently hear of celebrities choosing to end their lives; and more and more people in our own circles following suit, I can't help but ask what's happening?

But maybe more importantly, what acts of kindness can I, can we, implement into our lives that might help encourage another person?

You never know if the person passing you in the grocery store isle is hurting. Physically, emotionally. That is exhausting stuff.

You don't know if that person pushing you through traffic is late for a job they are scared to loose.

I have made a small practice over the last handful of years of smiling at strangers. Commenting kindly at the store. Trying to connect to my fellow humans in small genuine ways.

Sometimes it is received with a smile.

Other times with suspicion.

But, maybe if all of us thought about the broader collection of neighbors we share the planet with, with a little more kindness and curiosity people might feel a little less disassociated, more connected, more alive.

Didn't we learn this stuff as kids from Fred Rogers? Why do so many people think that is only for TV? Only for children? Only for the Land of Make-believe?

It's not!

It's more important than ever to just #benicetopeople

I am going to do more random acts of kindness.
Smile more and hold conversations with strangers.
Engage in life more with my family.
Ask questions.
Listen to answers.
Care up close, instead of at a distance.

There are a couple of projects I am doing to put this into action!

I am making quilts for my kids made with bits of fabric from their childhood.

I am going to make little crochet hearts that my friend is going to sprinkle along her path driving her daughter across country. The idea comes from the Payton Heart Project: http://www.thepeytonheartproject.org/

I am making breast prosthesis in honor of my friend who was just diagnosed: https://www.knittedknockers.org/

I am sharing my growing collection of reusable grocery bags by helping people bag their groceries at my local WinCo!

I am smiling at strangers.

What might feel right for you to do?
Share in the comments! You just might inspire and encourage someone through that!

Live Well!
Love,
SuziQue

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Grown out Superwash Project is Not a Loss Altogether - Convert a failed Hat into a Handbag

Last summer I crocheted a hat using super wash wool.
Not something I do often being allergic to sheep wool, but I have been told on several occasions that the process that makes it washable should take out the "things" that make me react ... First off that isn't true in my case! And I had a request from a friend and some in my gifted stash to get used up, so I thought I'd try it out.

I have been hearing from others for a couple years now about super wash growing and getting bigger after a project is completed, so I wanted to test this out as well.

Here is my perspective. Super wash is still an allergen for me, it still grows after stitching, and will still felt up if you throw it in the washing machine and dryer.

Here is how one of my projects turned out, and what I did about it.
Read on to find out more ...

I made this hat using a super wash wool that had been given to me:


But it just kept stretching bigger, even after tossing in the dryer to try to tighten it up. So, I tucked it away until the other day. NOW I have a plan to avoid throwing it in the trash!

I turned it upside down and pinched in the sides ... Like this     ...



Then I took some other scrap yarn that matched in color and crocheted a heavy cord .... And poked that through the  accordion pleats ...


Did that on both ends, and tied the cord ends together ....



BAM ... Cute little purse!



Lesson learned ... Don't give up too quickly, remember to think outside the situation facing you!
This is Living Well!
Love, SuziQue

Monday, September 7, 2015

The 3 Most Important Movies I Have Seen in the Last Couple of Years

The people in my life know what level of respect and feeling I have for America's Warriors.

I am in awe of them, and I respect and thank them for choosing to protect and defend to their very lives.
I can actually "see things" in my subconscious when I am near certain friends who have served in some of the most important theaters on different continents and in different decades.

If you haven't yet, I encourage you to see all of these movies. Not necessarily in a movie marathon or something. 


It will be powerful. And thought provoking. And important.

1.  Acts of Valor


      Utilizing Active US Navy SEALs to play the role of, well, US Navy SEALs; Acts of Valor had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Holding my breath, and FEELING the tension and almost feeling like I was there with them. The realistic manor in which this was filmed heightened the powerful emotions, and I cried openly at the depth of the seriousness and intensity. I cried because this was real. I cried because these are real people risking their lives. These are real people that do a job that is so challenging, and requires such difficult decisions, that the scenario had to be TONED DOWN for the big screen! This is not a fictional story filled the with faces of well known Hollywood handsomes. There are no cleverly written lines. This is important for people to see and understand and know. This is REAL. We saw this in the theater when it first came out. The theater was still and silent as it ended, and we all just sat there quietly watching as photos and video clips of the real soldiers' lives flashed before our eyes, and until all the credits had passed. Not a dry eye to be found.






2. American Sniper


     Most of us have now come to recognize the story of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The Warrior who served several tours in Afghanistan and hallowed for his hyper marksmanship, lauded as the most lethal sniper in US Military History. Thanks to the thoughtful directing of Clint Eastwood, this movie is powerful, and shares a lot about what is happening for family and friends on the home front while our Warriors are serving, and again as warriors are attempting to re-integrate back to "normal life". Difficult choices are being made on both sides, and relationship things are challenging, and yet the commitment to each other is as strong as the commitment to country. We are all now familiar with the part of the story where he and another Warrior are murdered by a young man recently returned from the conflicts. This actually happens while the movie is being filmed, and the intended ending is modified. His widow asks that the project is continued. We saw this movie in the theater, and I found myself holding my breath every time he pulled that rifle to his shoulder and peered through the scope, releasing my breath only once the target had been achieved. This movie is an important reminder, not only of the level of talent and skill our warriors have and the level of training they go through, but also of the human side of their lives. A debt of gratitude is owed to the families at home, waiting and loving and worrying. Again, as the movie ends, the entire auditorium is silent except for those of us crying as the final scenes of real footage of the funeral procession, and the credits roll. No one moves until the lights come on.





3. Lone Survivor


     Another movie based on actual events and real people in modern war. The title gives away that this story does not have a happy Hollywood ending. The power of their brother-bond as soldiers and warriors is a huge focus here. We watched this at home, and I was riveted. LOTS of "F-Bombs", but totally appropriate for the story. I cried. Again. I cried because what seams like the right and humane thing to do turns out to be the worst thing they could have done. I cried because those decision have to be made in war. I cried because these men bounced down cliffs, and were shot multiple times, yet they continued to fight in an attempt to bring down the evil that not only wanted to kill them, but wants us all dead as well. I cried because through unspeakable pain and injury, these heroes fought the enemy until their very last breath. I cried because in the midst of hell, there are good people, and soon the protected become the protectors. This time, it was my very own living room that fell silent as the real life footage scrolled across the screen, and the real faces of real heroes filled my home. Tears falling from my eyes.




I THANK GOD for men like those portrayed in these movies.
I thank GOD that some of them in generations past were my family.
I think GOD for those that are friends in my life now.

I honor them.
I revere them.
I grieve the loss of them on this planet.
I grieve for their families who loved them enough to let them go and fight for our country, and the world.
I grieve for us, as a nation, and yet rejoice that there are such heroes in this generation.

Because of men like those portrayed in these movies, we all have the opportunity to
Live Well

Love,
SuziQue