11.19.2015

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I feel like I’m returning to the kitchen table of a best friend who I haven’t talked to in months – so much to say but not knowing where to start. This (almost) two month break has been the longest one I have taken from this space. And it had to happen (for many reasons). Mostly, I was busy…furiously working on the manuscript and photography for my second book (sorry no title yet). Elizabeth was behind the camera and I was at my stove, sofa, and kitchen table doing my darnedest to create exactly the book I had in mind. It is still very much a work in process but I am damn proud of all we have done. Because of this personal all consuming project, I shut myself off from many other things. This blog, side projects, and life chores like my own dentist appointments and car vacuuming were all postponed. But now, I’m on the other side and more excited then ever to be back here. I missed cooking whatever I wanted and sharing it with you.

The downside of a cookbook schedule is the strange, cobbled together meals and snacks it leaves behind. I have served a pie and side vegetable for dinner on more then one occasion over the past couple of months. Now we are a few weeks into our regular scheduled dinner and snack routine – another cause for celebration (especially for Nick and the boys).

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First up, this recipe for Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars. They are perfect for busy people, small people, sweet people, and salty people. As the simplicity of the recipe suggests, almost every ingredient can be substituted with something else. The pumpkin seeds can be any seed or nut, your favorite dried fruit can replace the raisins, choose a sticky butter made from almonds or sunflowers, and bind with agave nectar or brown rice syrup. We stuck to this original recipe and they were delicious, especially enjoyed by a refreshed post-nap toddler.

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Five-Minute No-Bake Granola Bars from Food52 Vegan

makes 16 small bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats or quick oats

1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/2 cup raisins

2/3 cup peanut butter or almond butter

1/2 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup, plus more as needed

1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

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1. Line an 8 by 8-inch pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.

3. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, agave nectar, and, if using unsalted peanut butter, the salt; alternatively, combine these ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined. Add to the oat mixture and stir until everything is sticky and well combined. If the mixture is too dry to hold together, add a bit more agave nectar.

4. Spread the mixture in the lined pan, then cover with foil or plastic wrap, and press firmly to form an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

5. Cut into bars and warp them individually. Stored in the fridge, they’ll keep for 2 weeks.

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