Ok kids, the word of the day is “seedy”. As in, “These Seedy Adventure Granola Bars are chock-full of seedy, golden goodness.” Or, “You know when you find an ad for reclaimed wood on Craigslist and you end up going to some seedy backwoods location, alone, and you’re convinced you’ll end up a victim of a serial Craigslist killer?” I do.
A couple of weeks back I found an ad on Craigslist with a few teeny tiny thumbnail images of what looked to be pretty good reclaimed barn wood. I’m always on the hunt for interesting backgrounds for my photos, so this wood really got me excited. I emailed the anonymous listing and confirmed a day and time when my husband and I could stop by and take a look. Of course, the person on the other end had to reschedule for a time when the hubs couldn’t go. No problem. Cut to, me driving up a beautiful mountain on a sunny afternoon with a breathtaking view of Santa Barbara in my rearview mirror. My Google maps app directed me to an address near the peak of the mountain. What could go wrong?
With very spotty coverage, I came to a cliffside where the address was supposed to be. An abandoned pickup truck sat at the end of a long, winding dirt driveway that lead down into a deep and dark valley. I exchanged confused texts with the seller (we’ll call him Bubba), and he called my phone to walk me through the route.
Go down the dirt road, through the rusty metal gate. Are you inside the gate yet?….Now?…..Now?
I don’t see it.
Just keep winding down the driveway. Through the gate, then to the left. Past the dirt bikes and first trailer (on cinderblocks).
Ok, I see the gate. Passing through now.
Pitbull on chain lunging at my car: Ruff, Ruff, Ruff. Grrrrrrrr.
Oh my, there is a dog.
Oh yea, sorry ignore him and keep going. Now, drive down to the left, then a sharp right at the shed.
ME (in my head)
Where did the sun go? How long have I been on this road? If for some reason I needed to quickly get out of here, where would I turn around? There is nowhere to turn around. Hmm.
Now pass through the second gate, past the driveway on the left and hang a sharp right, we’re down here.
Ok……Oh, there you are. (upon seeing 3 very large burly backwoods men looking at me sideways with narrowed eyes).
I hop out my parked car and, with slight hesitation, start to walk towards the guy with the cell phone in his hand. On my slow motion walk towards Bubba, I take a look around. I am now near the bottom of a valley. I am surrounded by a treasure trove of reclaimed wood, live edge wood slabs, center cut tree rounds and miles of thick, dense, sound absorbent woods.
After a minute of chitchat, we get down to business and Bubba shows me around. It’s overwhelming, I want to buy it all but I know those live edge slabs are way too much wood for me. I tell him I am looking for smaller, lighter and more rustic pieces. He shows me a pile of just what I am looking for. I am set and ready to buy and get outta there, but Bubba tells me he has “the perfect thing” and leads me past the other two guys who probably work there, but don’t seem to be doing much working. The air smells of stale beer. A truck pulls up and parks behind mine, blocking my exit. Hmm.
From this point on, things get even more seedy. He leads me to a shipping container claiming he has “the perfect cut of wood”, he opens the creaky door and crawls deep inside to reveal an enormous heart shaped center cut. I pass on his suggestion to look for more inside the container. Then, we go on a “hike” down a narrow windy path, past another RV on cinderblocks sheltering a chain smoker and adorned with pairs of muddy shoes at the entrance. Bubba and I, now far from everything, visit another pile of rustic planks. These are a little too rustic and way too much work to shlep back to my car (I wonder if it’s still there).
For most people, alarm bells would have sounded at the pitbull and they would have turned around right then and there. But I love dogs, especially pitties, and I’ve been in similar situations more times than I can count. While this scenario had all of the makings of a tragic local news headline, Bubba actually turned out to be a solid dude and great contact for all of my rustic wood needs.
My point is this. Sometimes a seedy situation can turn into a great adventure. So, here is my recipe for Seedy Adventure Granola Bars. They are chock-full of seedy super power and will give you the energy and alertness you need to take on anything, no matter how seedy the situation.
- Bob's Red Mill thick rolled oats or gluten free certified rolled oats - 5 cups
- sunflower seeds - 1 1/2 cups
- pumpkin seeds - 1 1/2 cups
- sliced almonds - 1 1/2 cups
- flax seeds - 3/4 cup
- chia seeds - 3 tablespoons
- sea salt - 2-3 tablespoons
- maple syrup - 1 cup
- coconut oil - 1/2 cup
- brown sugar - 1/4 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Spread the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds over a baking sheet and lightly toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Once you're removed the seeds and nuts from the oven, lightly sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sea salt and stir to coat.
- While the seeds and nuts are toasting, pour the oats into a large bowl.
- Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a small saucepan and pour over the oats. Toss to coat.
- Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure the oats don't burn.
- Remove from oven and lightly sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sea salt, stir to coat and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the maple syrup and brown sugar. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until the sugar has melted completely.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Toss together the toasted oats, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, flax and chia seeds.
- Slowly pour in the warm syrup mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss the mixture to fully incorporate the syrup.
- Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly press the mixture into the pan.
- Cover the pan with another sheet of parchment paper and use it to smooth out the mixture. I like to press another baking sheet on top of the granola to evenly press the mixture into a consistent thickness. Once even and smooth, remove the top sheet.
- Bake the pan for about 20-25 minutes, until the granola is aromatic and a deep golden color. Rotate the pan halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Using the edges of the parchment, lift the entire sheet of granola from the pan.
- Optionally, sprinkle the top with 1 more teaspoons of salt.
- Cut 7 strips length wise by 4 strips wide.