Coconut Cream Homemade Lara Bars

The medicine I was given yesterday really has helped me feel better.  Plus the 11 hours of sleep I got last night has really helped me.  I’m still not at 100% but I’m at least at 70%.  Much better than I was feeling 3 days ago.

My father-in-law had diabetes and blood pressure issues.  For a few years at Christmas time, I would buy him treats he could enjoy.  These treats contained low sugar and low sodium.  He also couldn’t swallow almonds all that well and I would buy him lots of almonds.  He kindly told me not to any more.  Plus he hated coconut.  So what did I get him?   I would go to Trader’s Joe and get him various nuts but not almonds with no salt, pumpkin butter, and Larabars.

I thought Larabars looked interesting but did not try them for the longest time because I didn’t know what the dates would taste like.  I know, I know I’m such a chicken.  Then when I did I was hooked.  They are so good.

This Christmas I had planned to make him some homemade ones.  In fact, I bought the dates the Friday before his death.  It took a month or so after his death to make the homemade ones for myself.  I ended up making coconut cream ones which I know he would have hated.

Let me tell you, they are delicious!!!!!  I would take one of those and a cheese stick and would be set for breakfast.  Yummo!

(Sorry I don’t have a picture of one.  I forgot to take one but will post one as soon as I make another batch.)

coconut cream homemade lara bars

Click on the recipe so you can print it.

My Whole Food Life

Pork and Sauerkraut (A Slow Cooker Recipe)

It’s a family tradition to have pork and sauerkraut for our New Year’s dinner.  My father-in-law would make a big pot of it and family members would eat the sauerkraut so that they would have good luck for the new year.  Since he died two weeks ago, I offered to make it this year.

I made some changes to how it was cooked.  First of all I made it in my slow cooker instead of in a big stock pot.  I also roasted potatoes instead of cooking the potatoes in the slow cooker with the meat and sauerkraut.  Hubby loved it and was impressed because it didn’t have the bitter/sour taste you usually associate with sauerkraut.  He even took some to work with him to share with his co-workers.

The boys did taste the sauerkraut so they would have good luck but being kids didn’t really like it.  At least they tried it which is better than on New Year’s Eve.  I made fish for supper.  The fish was cooked with olive oil and a seasoning mix from one of my Foodie Pen Pals.  Hubby loved it but the boys wanted to give me excuses on why they could not eat it.  They still had to eat it but it was interesting on what excuses they came up with.  The best one is their brain was going to explode since I told them fish is brain food.

Now onto the recipe:

Pork and Sauerkraut in the Slow Cooker

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 -2 lbs. pork roast
  • 16 – 32 oz. of sauerkraut (depending on how much pork you have)
  • 1 big carrot or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Drain and rinse the sauerkraut several times to remove the brine.
  2. Place the pork roast in the bottom of the slow cooker.  (Mine is 5 qt.)  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pork roast.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the rinsed sauerkraut, apple pieces, carrot pieces, and brown sugar.
  4. Place the sauerkraut mixture on the pork roast.
  5. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  6. Shred the pork and combine with the sauerkraut.
  7. Enjoy with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, or roasted potatoes (just serving suggestions)!

This Weather

Many states in the United States are currently deal with the Polar Vortex.  From my understanding, it is always around but this is this first time in 20 years that it’s gone so south and then stalled.  We are experience record lows that have not been felt in 20 years which was my first year in college.  I am surprised I don’t remember that because I went to a community college and would ride public transportation to and from school.  I would have to walk several blocks to catch the bus home even though I could ride a bus down there but I decided to be healthy most of the time by walking.  I don’t remember it getting that cold or I just forgot.

However I do remember when I came home from Walt Disney World in January of 1996.  I had been down there for the College Program.

Disclaimer:  Cell phones and the Internet were not as readily available as they are now.  In fact, I did not use the Internet until the summer of 1997 and did not own my first cell phone until my first year of teaching (2000-2001 school year).   Even then I rarely carried it around.

This day reminds me of the day I came home from my Disney internship 18 years ago. (We are having record breaking cold weather. The forecast had been 8 to 12 inches of snow and we only got 1.5 inches of snow.)

I had talked to my mom before leaving for the airport. She told me that it was cold and snowy. It was 80 degrees in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and I was wearing shorts during that phone call.

Later on that morning, I got onto the plane (no longer in shorts) and never heard about the connecting flight from Atlanta to Dayton. Another person who had did the internship and I had taken the same flight home. We took times calling our family in the Dayton area. (Had to use the pay phone) The other person waited in line to find out information about our delay. We knew more from our family than we did from the Atlanta airport.

Almost 11 hours after we were suppose to take off, we finally did take off. (11ish at night). When we landed in Ohio, we were greeted with 8 inches of snow on the ground (looked it up today). I put on layers because I had no winter coat with me. We then hunkered down in the baggage claim area which was freezing because of the exterior flaps. One of the baggage claim carousals had some diet Pepsi and peanuts come through so that was our middle of the night snack. I had no pillow but did have a big Pumbaa stuffed animal. That ended up being my pillow. (It was about 2 am at this point.)

Between 6 and 7 am, we found one cab driver willing to drive me home. Even though the other young man lived really close to the airport, he rode with me to assure I got home safely.

I could not find the spare key outside the house and everyone was asleep. Luckily my grandma woke up to go to the bathroom. She heard me outside and let me in. (No cell phone because cell phones were nothing like we have today.) Even though they wanted to celebrate Christmas since I was in Disney on Christmas Day, I told them I was ready to sleep.

When I got up, we had to go to Walmart because I had left all of my personal hygiene goodies in my apartment in Lake Buena Vista and my glasses had broke right before I had left.

Oh this was a Sunday into Monday ordeal . . . And we were only suppose to get 2-3 inches of snow that Sunday.  (The dates were January 7 into the 8th).

 

Four years later, I traveled down there with Hubby.  It was our honeymoon a year after we had married.  On the way home, we got stuck in Newark, New Jersey.  They had a plane for us but then all of the sudden there was no plane.  We ended up spending the night in the Newark, New Jersey airport.  The next 2 times we traveled to Walt Disney World were by car and when we go in March, we are once again driving.

The Importance of taking pictures

Today’s challenge for Elf 4 Health is to share our expertise.  I wracked my brains and could not come up with anything.  I mean I take pictures but I’m not an expert.  I know about aperture and shutter speed.  I’ve manually set the camera but am not an expert.

I teach all day long but you could call me a Jack of all trades but a master of none.  There is nothing that I teach that stands out  that I could say I’m an expert at.  I write Individualized Education Plans and some of them have been great but I don’t think anyone would want to read about IEP’s and how to write them.  Plus the laws constantly change so what I teach you today could be different tomorrow.

Then yesterday my family’s world changed when we lost my father-in-law.  He was a great guy who played Santa every year.  He will always be Santa in my heart.  As family sat around last night, I gave my mother-in-law and sister-in-law their presents which were photo books from our big vacation in July/August.  Their were pictures of the whole family together in a happier time.  Memories were shared.

It was decided that my expertise is taking lots of pictures.  It drives people nuts but in times like these those pictures are a good remembrance of the person.

So why should you take pictures?

1.  It documents important events in your lives.

Last Christmas, Hubby started making plans for the whole family to go down to Charleston, SC for a family vacation.  We knew that my father-in-law’s health was not the best so we wanted these memories of everyone at the beach for one last time.  I probably took around 4,000 pictures at the different places we visited.  Some of the pictures are scenery and sunrises/sunsets but others are pictures of family members.  One of my favorite pictures is my father-in-law sitting on the balcony of the condo.  He looks like Wilson from Home Improvement with the bars of the railing covering his face and you can only see his hat.  Another picture I took was on our last night of the trip.  It is a picture of my mother-in-law and him kissing.  The second picture is my mother-in-law looking at me while he’s still looking at her wanting another kiss.  That picture shows me what true love is.

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2.  You never know what is going to happen in life.  

It’s great to have pictures of people who have impacted your life.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

3.  To document your family history.  

I love looking at pictures of family members who lived before I was born.  The boys get to see their great grandparents who lived and died before they were born.  They get to hear stories about their great grandfather who flew in a bomber during World War II.  We have pictures of him wearing his bomber jacket 50 years after he last flew.  The boys know about him and what kind of person he was.

4.  For moments like these

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Those special moments that happen once in a life time.  My father-in-law played Santa for 40 plus years.  He was at our local mall for many years and now played Santa for parties.  My father-in-law seemed to be rough at the edges but once he put his Santa suit on, he was truly Santa.  It was magical.  This picture was taken at our town’s lighting of the tree last year.  My father-in-law did not know the boys were standing there.  Even though it looks staged, this picture was totally candid and is one of my favorite pictures of them with Santa.

My words of advice though are:

1.  Don’t worry about capturing everything that you miss out on experiencing life.

2.  Don’t take the pictures and never look at them again.

3.  Sometimes the best pictures are not the staged picture where everyone says cheese.  The best pictures are the candid ones.  Our wall is covered with those candid shots that turned out the best.  They looked staged but were not.  I just captured the picture at that right moment.

4.  Share the memories with those you love and care about.

When I made the memory book, I left out writing any captions except for on one page.  I did that so people could share the memories and our family history.