This week has been extremely busy (yet not busy at all) and rather exhausting. I had two exams, one Wednesday and one Thursday, so I was studying as much as I could, going to class, and trying to squeeze in enough time for a workout. I tried starting Hip Hop Abs by Shaun T, but it isn’t full body enough for me to really want to hop on board with it. I’m going to get my body used to jumping around again with high intensity interval training next week, and then I’ll start Insanity over again the following week. I love Insanity.
Because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping this week, and we ended up running out of all fruit other than apples. On top of that, I was out of greek yogurt. I usually start my day off with a banana, have a berry packed smoothie after my workout, and nibble on oranges/apples/whatever else we have throughout the rest of the day. I’m a fruit girl, through and through. I had to survive two whole days without anything but apples. When it comes to fruit, I’m extremely spoiled, and I know that. But it really was dreadful without the variety. I have a tendency to get migraines, and sure enough, on day two of not getting as many fruits as I was used to, I was beside myself with dizziness and a pounding in my head. I tried to sleep it off, to no avail, so I ended up missing class that afternoon to try to get rid of it.. and of course I found the strength to go grocery shopping with Alex. Two bunches of bananas, 3 lbs of tangelos (I had no idea what these were), a few grapefruit, 4 lbs of frozen strawberries, 1 lb each of frozen blueberries, mixed berries, and peaches, and 3 lbs of unsweetened applesauce later, and I am well stocked up. My migraine has gone, my tests are finished (although two more are on their way this next week), and since it’s the weekend, I’ve finally caught up on some sleep.
Alex and I went out for dinner with his mom last night (I got some delicious lobster mac and cheese) and then went shopping afterward. I got a small kitchen scale, new placemats (that are white kitty fur proof, seeing as they’re off white – and they were only $0.29 each!), and wheat germ. Not much, but I deemed it a success. Seeing as I finished off my most recent batch of brownie power bars, I figured I ought to make some sort of bar for next week, which will most likely be pretty busy as well. After looking at countless granola bar recipes for inspiration, I came up with my own recipe with what I have (using my new wheat germ, of course, and testing out my new scale along the way). They ended up being quite a conglomerate of things – almond meal, pecans, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, raisins, oats, wheat bran, wheat germ, and coconut. Raw agave for sweetness, cinnamon and vanilla for a little extra flavor.. these bars are really the perfect little pick me up for long days.
I love the subtle sweetness of these bars. They have a lovely nutty crunch, but they’re still nice and chewy at the same time. While cutting them apart, there were lots of crumbles (I don’t think I quite let them cool enough before slicing into them – I’m too impatient). I had those crumbles with a splash of blueberry Kefir for breakfast this morning. It was delicious. With that said, I recommend saving any crumbles you have, and if they don’t crumble much, you might as well just take a bar and crumble it over some greek yogurt. Yum. The bars are fantastic by themselves, too.
Nutty Granola Bars
makes about 15 bars
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (≈5 oz.)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup unsweetened, desiccated coconut
1/2 cup almond meal*
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raisins
1 t cinnamon
pinch of salt
2/3 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 t vanilla
In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, coconut, almond meal, pecans, sunflower seeds, raisins, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine. In a small saucepan, heat the agave, vanilla and peanut butter over low heat to soften the peanut butter. Whisk until the peanut butter has sort of melted through. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir until all of the dry ingredients are evenly coated with the syrup. Press the granola mixture into a parchment lined (or greased) 9×13″ baking pan. Bake at 325ºF for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned on top. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
* To make almond meal, pulse some raw (or roasted) almonds in a food processor until they’re crumbs.