The recipe you see before you, in all its crunchy cluster and creamy chocolate glory, is the result of three significant events. First, I found myself staring at a bag of freeze-dried strawberries at Trader Joe's, a food that I hadn't considered for its recipe potential until then. Second, an obsessive run of granola-making. Third, and perhaps most unsurprising, a late-night chocolate craving. Presto chango: granola bark was born.
I went on a bit of a granola bender the other week for reasons best left between me and my obsessive brain. The upshot of this, as you can probably guess, was that I ended up with a lot of granola sitting on my counter. After foisting jars of it onto my friends and snacking on it every afternoon, I still had more granola than I could conceivably eat before it went stale. The solution? Freeze it.
Roast a block of feta and the first time you taste it, you'll wonder, Why did I waste so much of my life eating baked brie? Spreadably soft, with a tangy, salty, rich flavor, baked feta is easy to make and almost impossible to resist. Adding a sweet compote of dried figs simmered with honey and fresh thyme rounds out the flavors and turns a humble starter into a knock-out appetizer that is pretty enough for any party.
You may be stuck inside all night speed-reading and cramming for Friday's test, but that doesn't mean you should go hungry. Not on my watch. Gather your best study buddies, make a batch of maple-butter spiced popcorn and a few thermoses of chai, and we're in business for one seriously productive study session.
Now and then, a girl needs a little magic to get through and fly above it all. I have a couple of pretty gigantic projects going on right now, and while moving a mile a minute isn't my preferred way to live, it's been a reality. At times, I move so fast, I forget to eat and I get clumsy and frantic. That'll knock the wind right out of a lady's magic fairy wings. To make sure I stay on top of it all, I need a nourishing and energizing breakfast.
It happens. You leave a banana in the bottom of your work bag and pull it out the next day to discover a big, fat bruise. Or maybe you buy a big bag of apples at the store without inspecting each one only to notice a big welt on one of your Granny Smiths. Is it safe to eat the bruised fruit? If so, is it just as good for you as a perfect apple?
I'm one of those people who always has a snack tucked away in my bag, a worst-case survival tactic for when the hours between meals stretch just a little too long. I love me some yogurt-covered snacks: raisins, cranberries, pretzels, all of them. It's taken me a while to work out how I might make these favorite snacks at home, but my golly, I think I've finally got it.
I'm hesitant to admit this, but during my first year of college, I survived almost solely on ham and cheddar hot pockets, with the occasional pepperoni pizza thrown in for good measure. There was a vending machine in my dorm lobby, hot pockets being only one of its many choice selections. (If my parents only really knew where my "meal plan" money was going!) I still love a good ham and cheddar combination, only now I can enjoy it in a much more delicious way.
Even though I work largely from home, I'm still plagued by the 3 pm energy plummet like many of my friends and old coworkers. There's just something about that hour, especially in the winter when the days are colder and darker. Instead of reaching for a soda or another cup of coffee, a small snack with a bit of protein is a great picker-upper, and lately I've been mixing up a batch of quick no-bake snacks to keep on hand when the energy lows strike.