Unbelievably, it’s December. When do you start to get used to time passing? I mean really, it’s probably the most predictable event on this planet. Hours accumulate into days, days bundle into months, toddlers become teenagers. (And, I sprout another 5 grey hairs at the rate of: 2.83 dinners unloved X every time the radio insists “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”) I really wish I could get ahold of this time-passing business, making peace with the annual loop of birthdays and holidays. Instead, I awake jaw-dropped because somehow, inexplicably, we’ve passed out of November, again.
Shhhh. Don’t tell this sweet little composite growing on a southfacing slope in Utah that it’s actually winter.
Contemplating everything in a Utah canyon.
We took a fabulous trip to Bluff, Utah a few weeks ago. We rented a one bedroom kitchenette at a lodge reviewed as “quirky, dated, funky and not extra sanitized,” but “a great price!” all of which was true. When we were awoken at 4am by a rat running through the walls, it really wasn’t too big a problem because, as Rose reasoned, we like rats. She whispered to me, her pajama-ed self radiating warmth in the night, “should we rescue it?”
I will never get over the fact that in these desert canyons you can just find potsherds that are approximately 1000 years old. Thank you to everyone who finds and then leaves—as is the law—artifacts in place.
This is “rock make up,” called: golden sunset.
We brought the kids’ friend Mathew along, Mathew who’s been their sidekick since a playgroup in the park when the boys were toddlers and Col, inexplicably stood up on a picnic table and began shouting, “Mathyouuuuu….mathyouuu-uuu-uuu.” All mom-chatter stopped. Mathew wobbled over, saucer-eyed, following the compelling sound of his name bellowed across the park. It was as if Col had performed some ancient and powerful friendship ritual in which you literally call in a buddy for life.
Also, Mathew acts as ambassador to the United Nations of Siblings, promoting unity and peace, likely to actually remind Col of his promise a full three seconds ago not to pinch his sister.
We took one of those innocent hikes that seems to transpire about once a year in which we have a destination that keeps moving out of sight, and no one (over ten) wants to let it go. It seems so close, that wild sandstone ridge that rises like a jagged dinosaur spine in the distance. But the false summit, trickster of topography, kept rearing up, adults smacking foreheads comically, “Well, look at that! Just a little bit farther, guys!” When we couldn’t budge the hungry, exhausted kids another step, we stopped and ate leftover elk burgers (secret ingredient: liver!) and pecan pie energy bars.
All right, I burned these a little on the edges and then took an awful picture, but really, these are fabulous!
I first made these pecan pie energy bars for hunting season, as my answer to the “food” that Dan squeezes into his mouth for quick energy. They have high amounts of protein and good fat, and yes, some sweetener (I used honey and dates). They’re totally transportable, and although I made the cute muffin-style bars to appeal to kids, I am more likely to bake them in a baking dish and then portion out “slices” for on-the-go needs. Having these around helps me avoid buying granola bars for the kids’ lunches, which always seem to produce a small, lingering hangover of regret (the cost! the sugar! the packaging!).
Also, everyone loves these, which in our house is like a mathematical equation that always comes out right.
Pecan Pie Bars
5 cups pecans
1 stick butter
1 1/4 cups dates, pitted
1/4 – 1/3 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Melt butter and mix in food processor with dates and honey until you have a smooth paste. Crush about half the pecans with a potato masher, or throw in food processor. Add honey/butter/date mixture to pecans and mix well. Add salt and vanilla. Bake at 350F in muffin tins or in a baking dish for approx 20 – 30 minutes (less time if using muffin tins, more if using baking dish).
All mixed up in the food processor.
Happy little afternoon slice. Serve with coffee and Southwestern sun.