Thursday was rough. Everything that I had planned went the opposite way I wanted it to. And then every backup plan that I had went belly up as well. I’m no stranger to failure — far from it — but by 3 pm I was mentally exhausted.
If this day had happened a few months ago, I would have crumbled into a heap of self loathing and tears. But since I’ve been on wonderful, wonderful meds for anxiety and depression, I was able to maintain some personal composure. It felt nice.
The only reason I’m sharing this is because it’s what’s on my mind. This blog is for food, but it’s also for talking and sharing and welcoming. (sorry for the icky-sappy)
To that end, I feel like it’s a good time to introduce my new project. It’s a small project, a simple one, designed to spread kindness in a rather uncertain world. It’s called Snack it Forward (like pay it forward), and the premise is quite plain. I send a snack to another blogger and write about it. Then that person sends out a snack to another blogger, and so forth. One of my favorite parts of blogging is the community built out of strangers, and I wanted to celebrate that.
I sent this snack to Megan aka The Emotional Baker. She’s has a unique talent for whipping up sublime vegan treats — sesame matcha bagels and cinnamon rolls bursting with sprinkles and carrot cake pop tarts and bright summery popscicles. She’s also a runner and biker and generally awesome human.
So let me talk about these little bites. They’re nutty and lemony and chewy, so good, with a slight hint of chocolate. They’re super easy to make too — just mix up some oats and almonds and other goodies and press the whole thing into a square pan. Then microwave the whole thing for about three minutes and let it chill in the fridge. Cut them up and dip the ends in chocolate and you’re good to go. You should probably make a second batch, because this stuff is kind of narcotic.
I was at my mother’s home over the holidays while I was going through test-batches for this. While I was out on a run, my mom took one of my failed batches and baked it up into granola. Even though she burned it just a bit, it was still good. When I re-made it, sans-scorching, it was even better — so I realized I had to turn this into a double recipe. Chewy bars and crunchy granola.
Even the most perfect day has imperfections: my husband proposed to me while I was wearing sweatpants. The outfit every girl dreams of. (yes, I realize that is a total FWP). Those flaws rarely last, but other things, like empathy, kindness, and heart…those things can go on forever. (sorry again for the icky-sappy).
PS if anybody is interested in joining Snack-it-Forward, please email me at gormannscoot (at) gmail (dot) com or let me know in the comments.
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 cups quick oats
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 scant tbsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 5 dates, softened in hot water and chopped
- 1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life (omit for granola)
- combine almonds, oats, cranberries, the citrus zests, the cinnamon, and the salt. Stir it up and set aside.
- Combine the coconut oil, the maple syrup, and the dates.
- Stir together the maple mix and the almond mix till well coated.
- With clean, wet hands, press the mix into a parchment lined 8 x 8 pan. Press down very hard (otherwise the bars will crumble when you cut them)
- Microwave for 3 minutes
- Chill in fridge for 2 hours
- Cut into little triangles
- Melt the chocolate and dip in the edges of the triangles in the chocolate. Allow chocolate to harden.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Follow the instructions for the bars up to step 3.
- Spread the mix on a parchment lined cookie sheet
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven but don't open the oven door. Allow to sit in closed oven for 3-4 hours.