Running our blog has been so much fun! This hobby’s taught us many skills, and personally, it’s given me an opportunity to start archiving my mom’s recipes–recipes of foods I grew up eating, here in Canada and during my years living in the Azores. Another great thing about the blog is that I’m constantly creating new meals and desserts which we get to eat–no complaints from anyone here. Also, occasionally, we get to work with some great partners and their products. It’s a win-win-win situation!
…but it’s lots of work!
Running a food blog takes up a lot of time. Everything from developing recipes, cooking, photography, writing, social media activity, website improvements, etc. are all components required for every post. We originally aimed for three recipes per week and quickly realized that wouldn’t be sustainable; at least not if we wanted to keep our sanity.
We ended up settling on 1 to 2 recipes per week. This has been a good pace for us. If this was a full-time gig we’d have to boost our post frequency, but since it’s not, 1-2 recipes per week is the perfect balance for us.
Both our boys have always enjoyed granola bars. Full disclosure – most of them have been store-bought. Although store-bought granola bars won’t be the poster food for health food stores, they’re better than a lot of other sweet snacks sold out there.
I’ve attempted to make granola bars in the past, but never quite got the consistency right. This time I feel like I have a winner. These bars are a little crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside, and the dark chocolate makes them decadent. They’re mostly sweetened with honey so these granola bars are a delicious sweet snack without a ton of guilt!
Worth the effort
Sure, keeping up the blog is hard work, but we feel like it’s been well worth the effort. We’ve enjoyed all the sweet and savoury foods, we’ve developed skills in cooking, art, and technology, and we’re keeping recipes and traditions alive for ourselves and our children.
Another reason we feel our blog is worth the effort is that we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from many people who have a connection to either the Azores or mainland Portugal and they’ve shared their stories and traditions with us. It’s wonderful to hear people share their memories of cooking and baking with their moms or grandmothers; or to hear our reader’s delight in finding a recipe on our blog that brings them back to special memories of home-cooked meals from ‘back home’; and also to hear our readers thanking us for documenting and sharing traditional meals so that they too can try them out at home and re-live special kitchen moments in their lives.
For us this blog is special; it takes effort, but it’s truly a labour of love. Find your labour of love, and always eat well, friends!
“Delight in the things that bring you peace and happiness and they won’t feel like work at all.” ~ Liz Cardoso
Dark Chocolate Pecan Granola Bars
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup dutch dark cocoa (baking cocoa)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup pure honey
- 1/2 cup butter melted and cooled
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
- Line a 9" by 12" baking pan with parchment paper. Leave a little extra paper over the long sides. This will help during the transfer of the granola to the cutting board.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, brown sugar, cocoa and salt.
- Add the honey, butter, vanilla, pecans and chocolate chips.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients well, until you stop seeing dry flour and the ingredients are all moist and well coated with the butter and honey.
- Scoop the mixture onto the baking pan and press down the granola mixture, evenly until it covers the entire bottom of the pan.
- Using a spatula or clean hands, press down more until the top is flat and even around the entire pan.
- Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the granola slab to a cutting board, cover with paper towel or a towel and place the cutting board in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the cutting board from the fridge and cut into bars using a very sharp knife.
- These keep well in a plastic or glass container for a week or more. Enjoy!