On any given afternoon I can be found
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sitting in my favorite booth at the coffee shop, reading, writing, or studying
After years of practice, I'm pretty good at tuning out the background noise, either by focusing on the task at hand, or the music in my headphones. Admittedly, there are many days when I'm procrastinating or easily distracted by shiny things, and I can't help but catch pieces of the conversations happening around me
There have been first dates, break-ups, confessions of love gone wrong, kids excited for what Santa will bring, stories of exotic vacations, and this week
An unmistakable sweetness between them as they talked; the everyday sort of ease that only comes after years of familiar. They sipped coffee and nibbled slowly on a tasty treat as they caught up on each other's lives, and hugged each other tight as they parted ways. Her words I couldn't help but overhear
“Thank you, my friend, for being so .. good.”
In the days since, they're drifted in and out of my mind. I think of all of the beautiful souls who surround me, and while I compliment them frequently, I've begun to wonder if it's on the things that really matter. Compliments for who they are in the inside, rather than the superficial things the world tells us are important, on the outside.
How often do we remark on someone's pretty new work-out shoes, the cool sweater they should wear more often, or the new highlights they were brave enough to have put in their hair. Certainly, those are all fine and good, though have we paused lately to tell a friend how wonderful they are because they're kind?
How often do we sit across from the ones we love and tell them that they’re incredible, high-caliber people? As odd as it may sound, I wonder if we even take their goodness for granted? Tacitly seeing the irony in this, because in our day-to-days we all too often encounter those who lack grace, humility, kindness, and compassion
Since that afternoon, interactions with the people closest to me have left me feeling extra thankful. Conflicts don't seem quite so big when you know someone is good in spirit, although struggling with execution. The focus shifting instead to the things in life that truly matter
(though it's still fun to hear that someone likes your new hair)
A wonderful snack idea to share; a simple bar really, with oats and flax seeds, chocolate and sea salt. Peanut butter and honey the perfect complement in this portable snack. They're moist, chewy, incredibly delicious on their own, and a blank canvas for additional flavors.
(Think coconut, dried fruit, nuts, chia seeds, etc.)
The wet ingredients heated ever-so-slightly to meld their flavors and make them easier to combine. Oats can certainly be toasted slightly in a cast-iron pan, which will lend the bars a slightly different taste and texture. The complexity of the chocolate is enhanced by sprinklings of sea salt
If you're avoiding peanut butter, almond, sunflower, or any nut/seed butter will be great. To keep these vegan, sweeten instead with maple syrup. Remember as well, look for gluten-free oats if you're someone avoiding gluten
Simple, customizable, and delicious.
They freeze beautifully
~ Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Peanut Butter Oat Snack Bars with Chocolate and Sea Salt
- 3 cups rolled oats (gluten-free if you’re avoiding gluten)
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1 ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup honey (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings
- ⅓ cup almond milk
- 1 ½ Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 - 3 pinches sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 350º F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Spread the oats evenly over a cookie sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
- While the oats are toasting, in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat, add the peanut butter, coconut oil, and liquid sweetener. Warm slightly, just long enough to combine.
- Add the toasted oats to the saucepan and stir until just combined.
- Spread the mixture evenly over the parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Sometimes the mix doesn't cover the entire cookie sheet, that's ok. Spread it evenly, as far as it will go, in the thickness that works for you)
- Refrigerate the bars while making the frosting
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add the chocolate shavings, almond milk, and coconut oil. Stir continuously, until the chocolate has melted.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the bars and refrigerate them until they've set (~ an hour).
- (After they've been in the fridge 15-20 minutes, sprinkle them with sea salt. If you sprinkle it on while they're warm, the sea salt can melt into the frosting)