And just like that, life's pace seemed to pick up, hasn't it? At least over here, I feel more often than not like a frazzled, sweaty mess, but with a smile on my face because even though life is getting busy, it's also been exponentially more fun since Match Day. They slammed me with emergency medicine shifts all through the tail end of March but I can't complain. It's busy, but it's also so much more stress-free and exciting, with events all lined up until the end of May - trip to Chicago to buy a new home (!!), the med school talent show, a beachy break with my homies, then our great adventure to the PNW. With mini-Indy adventures scattered in between. My little heart can barely handle it all.
My meals have taken a major downgrade though (womp womp) due to the chaos, and I've settled on a temporary hiatus from fancy salads and regular homemade dinners and have resorted to the quick and easy sandwich on rye, raw fruits and veggies, and chips. Oh god guys, chips. Their saltiness has become my weakness, which is a huge development given my massive sweet tooth. My latest obsession has been corn tortilla - I munch away until my jaw cannot handle it any longer. Don't worry though, we'll return to regularly scheduled oven meals and salad things v soon, once this pesky emergency medicine exam is out of the way and my fourth year returns to stay-cation mode. Fourth year life = best life.
My current self is thanking my February self though for thinking far ahead enough to prep some quality snacks for the busy month. And by snacks, I mean this one, a densely packed granola bar with all the nuts and seeds and some jammy bits of apricot. Oats for substance, and some sea salt on top to balance out the sweet dates and honey. They are the perfect snack for when you are in a pinch and need something good for your body but carrot sticks don't sound appetizing any more. And quick to make! As homemade snacks should be.
Have a great week, everyone! And P.S. happy birthday today to my beautiful momma! You still look like a twenty-something. Must be those Asian genes.
- 2 heaping cups medjool dates, pitted
- 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup flaxseeds
- 1 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sea salt, for sprinkling
- Line a 13x9 inch pan with parchment paper, then set aside.
- Pulse dates in the food processor until finely chopped. It takes a little while for the food processor to get going, you can chop the dates roughly to help with the process if your little guy is having trouble!
- In a large bowl, mix the apricots, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and oats. Add the dates to the bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over low heat on the stove, stir the almond butter, honey, and vanilla extract together until well combined.
- Pour the almond butter mixture into the oats mixture, and then using a wooden spoon, mix together all the ingredients until they are well combined. You need a lot of muscle for this step as it takes some work to get the dates dispersed - but you can do it! I like to take my wooden spoon and break up the dates as I'm mixing.
- Scoop the granola mixture into your pan. Press the granola mixture so that it is packed tightly into the pan - I used my hands first and then used a glass to finish pressing it down. Cover the top with plastic wrap or parchment paper and place in either the freezer for 30 minutes or the fridge for 1 hour.
- Remove from the fridge/freezer and chop into squares. To keep fresh, wrap the squares in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer safe bag. They will keep in the freezer for at least a month! I love them cold but not completely frozen, so I recommend taking them out of the freezer and letting them "defrost" in the fridge for a couple hours before nomming.