Feb 102014

Family owned grocery stores can’t be “normal” to survive since Bob and Randy’s grandparents, Jake and Irene Harmon, opened a fruit stand 80 years ago.

Harmons Grocery StoreHarmons Grocery Store Brothers
Harmons Grocery Breads
Harmons Grocery Granola items
Harmons Grocery Baked GranolaNow that huge corporations and big-box stores have taken over the grocery industry, this local independent company has managed to not only survive, but thrive and expand to 16 grocery stores in Utah.

I joined a focus group held at a local Harmon’s store, to find out how they managed to grow and develop their own unique niche in this tough market.

Bob and Randy love to tell people that “they aren’t normal” in serving the needs of their customers.

Some of the things I learned why they “aren’t normal” is that they:
1. Provide fresh, local produce and specialty items.
2. Grind and make their own sausages in-store.
3. Sell only all-natural meat and poultry that’s not plumped with salt water, additives or hormones.
4. Make fresh soups and bakery developed by their own chefs and artisans.

Losing our love handles by Valentine’s Day, has become an annual resolution.  I wanted something healthy to snack on, rather than the usual sugar filled cookies and bars.  One of the gifts for joining their focus group, was a container of fresh almond butter.

This very healthy Almond Butter Granola Bar recipe has no added sugar for sweetening and about 130 calories per bar.  As a bonus, I found them to be very filling.

Without the extra sweet sugar boost, they may seem a little bland.  So other ways to jazz up this recipe would be to drizzle some chocolate on top, mix in more dried fruit or perhaps adding a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Just remember to adjust the amount of calories accordingly (sorry, but no cheating).

What’s your favorite and healthy way to curb the hunger pangs?


4.5 from 4 reviews
Almond Butter Granola Bars
Recipe type: snack
Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Many granola bars are made with honey, syrup or other sweeteners. These bars are tasty, filling and naturally healthy.
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • ¼ cup dried apricots
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 cup Crispy Rice or rolled oats
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 160C/350F.
  2. Line wide loaf tin with parchment paper.
  3. In a small pot, heat almond butter and mashed bananas.
  4. Stir gently until well combined.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In a food processor, coarse chop the almonds, apricots, cranberries, cherries, and raisins.
  7. Transfer to a bowl.
  8. Mix in seeds, rice or oats, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  9. Fold in the almond butter mixture.
  10. Press the batter into prepared loaf tin.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Let cool before cutting into bars/squares.
  13. Store in airtight container.

More healthy Granola Bar recipes can be found From the Kitchen of Cookin’ Canuck.

Dec 312013

On this last day of 2013, reflecting and remembering all the events of the year would take quite a while.  Fortunately, it helps that my memory isn’t as detailed as it used to be.  I wouldn’t want to stay up all night!!!  So I’m sending my thanks to you, my family and friends in this short quote.
blog - thanks










Also, I’d like to share this inspiring comment from an Olympic paraplegic skier.  I plan on reading this often during the 2014 year, when I feel frustrated.

“This Holiday and every day you live, thank God you can see the sunlight when you awake, as there are many who are blind.  When you sit down to a meal give thanks, for there are many who are hungry.  Give thanks for your family and your friends, for many are alone.  Give thanks for your job and co-workers, for there are many with no job.”

“Thank God for his most precious gift, your life.  Treasure the gift of each day and take nothing for granted.  Find your way down the mountain, no matter how difficult.  And cherish the journey.”

Thank you for your friendship and I look forward to our journey together in the New Year.

Dec 282013

Yule logs, candles and anything else made with fire created cheerful warmth for families during their holiday season for centuries.early electric tree Christmas Lights at the ZooChristmas zoo lights
The tradition of placing small candles on trees began in the 19th century in Germany.  They were glued with melted wax to a tree branch or attached by pins.

Around 1902, small lanterns and glass balls held the candles.

Trees were brought into homes right before Christmas and candles were lit for only a few minutes each night.  Buckets of water and sand stood nearby in case the tree caught fire.

One of Thomas Edison’s inventors created the first string of electric lights in 1882.  The red, white and blue bulbs were the size of walnuts and very expensive.

In 1917, after a tragic fire in New York at Christmas time was started by candles, affordable tree lights were invented.

Our family tradition, during the long and dark nights of the Christmas holiday season, is visiting the Hogle Zoo.

While most of the Zoo’s animals are sleeping, we ooh and ah at all the millions of lights that decorate bridges, trees and pathways.

Hot chocolate kept our grandchildren warm, while watching polar bears and seals play in the pools.

What holiday lighting displays are you enjoying in your area of the world?


Nov 142013

Goblin Valley State Park is a Jurassic playground, that’s over 170 million years old.
Goblin Valley Scenes Goblin Valley State Park Tourist Goblin Valley State Park playgroundGoblin Valley State Park Families, hikers and tourists can walk and climb among the hoodoos, that resemble goblins or mushrooms.

These unusual spherical stone shapes resulted from weathering of the Entrada Sandstone.

Hoodoo pedestals are produced  when a harder rock sits atop softer rock.

The Entrada Sandstone was deposited from ebbs and tides that directed currents back to an ancient sea and coastal sand dunes.

Watching the grandkids run around and explore this ancient land of goblins is like playing with them on the moon.

Recently, some Boy Scout leaders decided an ancient rock could possibly fall and injure someone, so they pushed it off its delicate perch.

They then posted a video online of their prowess, which included cheering and celebrating with high-fives.

They’ve since been removed from scout leadership and the law is still determining an applicable fine for this destruction.

Can we continue to enjoy the freedom of hiking among these ancient formations?

Or are they just a bunch of old rocks to be knocked over or fenced in, so our children and grandchildren are “protected” from potential injury?

Sep 162013

Cherry Peach Crisp RecipeHave you ever wondered what happens when you mix peaches and bing cherries together?  It becomes a purplish, peachy combo.

I didn’t have enough of either fruit to make a dessert.  So, I combined what I had and the mixture came out delicious and pretty!

This is an old family recipe that will never be the same again.  What recipe did you dare to change that turned out better or worse.

Check out what others are eating at FoodieTuesday.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peach 'n Cherry Crisp
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A fruit dessert that's compatible with any combination of fresh or frozen fruit
  • 4 cups sliced fruit (apples, peach, cherry)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup walnuts (optional)
  1. Place fruit in an 8 x 8 inch pan. Mix together the remaining ingredients with a pastry blender or fork. Pack on top of fruit. Bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until the fruit is done.

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