Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars
Well, so far so good. We’ve entered the second week of the new year and I’m still baking resolution-friendly fare. These dark chocolate, cherry granola bars are so delicious, you might forget they’re healthy! Although, I guess that’s a relative term…
We spent New Year’s in my hometown of Pasadena. I’m totally biased, but is there a better place to ring in the new year? No. The Rose Parade is regal and awe-inspiring, especially if you see it live. The magnitude and brilliance of the floats is indescribable. The bands and the equestrian teams are amazing to watch. And the pageantry…
The Rose Queen and her court are ambassadors of the parade and the city on January 1 (and for the entire year, really). Young women who lived in the greater Pasadena area are invited to try out for the Court. And nearly everyone does.
I remember arriving at the Wrigley Mansion (the “headquarters” of all things Rose-related) to register and receive my anonymous bib number. We were asked to walk in front of a panel of judges. That was the first round. If invited back for the second round, you were asked to respond to a series of questions posed by the judges. Each round thereafter became more intense and involved.
I must have had an adequate swagger, as I was invited to return for the second round. This time, I was to stand in the center of a room, surrounded by judges on three sides while they asked 2-3 questions.
I was told to wait behind a curtain while the young woman in front of me had her turn. I listened as they asked her two questions: her favorite ice cream flavor and what book she was currently reading.
“Easy peasy,” I thought. I might be a Rose Queen with these kinds of questions!
Then it was my turn. The first question they asked was my favorite subject in school. “English.”
“Why?” they asked.
“I like to read.” It wasn’t compelling, but it was the truth.
Then I got this one: “What is the greatest quality in a friend?”
“Mint chocolate chip?”
Why was I getting these difficult and thought-provoking (for a 17-year-old) questions when the previous girl got softballs?!?!
But, I won’t forget my answer. I said: “friendliness.” Face. Palm.
Now that I’m (a little bit) older, I can think of ten different ways I could have answered that question that would have wowed me into the third round.
But, it was not to be. Which was fine with me.
It meant I could enjoy the parade on January 1 without any of the year-long commitments and appearances. So, that year, I walked up to the parade with my family and we sat on the curb and watched it. We waved at the Queen and Princesses, we clapped along with the bands and we “ooh”ed and “aah”ed at the floats. Just like every year before.
And this year, I was able to take my own kids to the parade. It brought back such wonderful memories and I was glad to share them with my people.