Sunday, August 28, 2011

Phew, They've gone back- #TLLBLND

Back in 2003 I decided it was time to explore my own neighborhood's natural beauty and climb Mission Peak in Fremont, CA, elevation 2,517 feet.  It was in the month of February, I filled a backpack with a couple sandwiches and juice boxes.  My son Blaze and I bundled up in sweaters, jackets and hiking boots that had gone unused for perhaps almost a decade.  The weather was crisp and bright and I fortunately grabbed a disposable camera from a drawer so that I could record the adventure. Yes, a disposable was not yet part of my world.  The views from all heights are amazing, the walking paths easy to find and for the most part not too strenuous.  The final third of the climb may be challenging for some and for those who can finish at the top...SPECTACULAR.  We made some acquaintances along the way, there is a peak marker with labeled viewfinders to peek through highlighting the valley floor landmarks.  If you are lucky you may see a fox or wild turkey.  My co-worker Jessica has made this climb a few times.  The entire climb took both of us 90 minutes up and a rapid paced 45 minutes down due to the steep grade.  If you walk backwards going up it is easier on the knees and the views are endless; however walk with a partner!

Phew, students have gone back to school, fewer crowds and the weather is still comfortable enough to take an outdoor vacation.  Check out your local walking trails and make a day of it or plan a trip:  It always pays to plan ahead, below I have included a homemade Granola Bar recipe, thanks to Ina Garten "The Barefoot Contessa" to take along your next outdoor adventure.
NOTES: The recipe as follows will make great granola, however it came out loose and perfect to sprinkle over anything.  I added 2 frothy egg whites to hold it together and cleanly cut bars for individual wrapping.  Mix and match your own selection of dried fruits and nuts too.
Home-Made Granola Bars


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, not Instant
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • (2 frothy eggs whites to hold it all together)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


  1. I wonder what the calorie and sodium count is in this receipe. Sounds nummy

  2. Yes, they are nummy. Could not locate a nutrition count and no these are not low-cal. but necessary energy for a long hike like the one we took-

  3. I love Mission Peak! The best time is start up before sunrise and I've actually seen the moon on one side of the mountain and the sunrise on the other side at the same time. God's beauty is everywhere! Miriam, what a blessing to have Mission Peak in your backyard! I love those granola bars too! Great topic this week - Leslie

  4. I love your granola bars, thanks for sharing the recipe!



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