Saturday, January 5, 2013

No-Bake Granola Bars

It would seem that we are into the thick of winter here in the Northeast.  I'm pretty sure it was a lot warmer out before I went to Buffalo for Christmas.  Maybe I brought the cold weather back with me?  All I know is, I find myself putting more and more layers on before I head out to the train in the morning.

I suppose that it had to happen eventually.  It's not like I live in Florida and this below freezing snap is a surprise.  It's just that you get used to those warm sunny days and it's sad to see them go.  This cold weather was further a slap in the face this week when I got to work on Thursday to find my office a balmy 40 degrees.  That's right, 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apparently sometime Wednesday night, both boilers in the chemistry wing failed and the offices and labs proceeded to equalize their temperature with the outside world.  All the space heaters in the world could do nothing to warm up our chilly offices.  The reason?  Hood fans.

In a chemistry building, you have labs.  In each lab there are four to five chemistry hoods.  These hoods are just like your range hood over your stove, only bigger, and enclosed.  These hoods constantly pull air from within the labs and vent it through filters and out the roof.  This means that they are always bringing in new air from outside, air which wasn't being heated.  This meant that we couldn't do any lab work until the heater was fixed. 

Everyone in our wing made for the conference room to get some computer work done.  It felt like study hall.  We waited all day to hear something, anything, about the boilers.  Our facilities staff was running around the building with large wrenches, people were up on the roof banging on things, I was getting antsy just sitting in the conference room.  At least it was warm in there.

Our facilities team was able to get the boilers up and running Friday afternoon, just before we went home.  At least it will be warm in the office come next week.  Though it will be the first full week back to work, it's going to be a long one!

One Year Ago: Light Shepard's Pie

No-bake Granola Bars
As seen all over the Internet

I went with the classic chocolate chip topping for these bars, though I think next time I'll do a cinnamon chip and raisin combination.  These taste just like the chewy granola bars from the grocery store.  With such simple ingredients, you can make them your own and save some serious cash!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup crisped rice cereal
2 cups instant oats (not rolled oats)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp mini chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey and brown sugar over medium-low heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves then allow mixture to come to a bubble.  Reduce heat to low and let cook for 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine cereal and oats.  Pour sugar syrup over the oats and stir until everything is moistened.  Coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray and pour granola mixture into the pan.  Coat your hands with cooking spray and press the granola bars into the pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the bars and gently press into the bars.  Let the bars cool for at least 2 hours.

Place a cutting board on top of the pan and flip over.  Tap the pan to release the granola bars.  Cut bars into 1-inch thick strips, cut strips in half.  You will wind up with 16 granola bars!  Wrap each in plastic wrap and send them along to school for lunch!

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