Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Favourite Granola Bars

I've made note of my Minimalist Baker obsession before, and this post is just another bit of evidence to prove it.

Granola bars are a staple in most households. They are simply an easy, on the go snack. I first attempted to make LaraBars a few years ago, however they just weren't quite the same. The flavour and texture wasn't up to par and honestly, who wants to eat something when you know there is a better option out there. Last year I tried the 5 Ingredient granola bars from Minimalist Baker - let's just say that I don't buy granola bars any more.

These ones are so easy to make (as long as you have a good blender/food processor - I have a Cuisinart food processor and a Ninja blender) and leave tons of room for creativity. You can personalize them to whatever you like best in your bars - chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, spices... You get the point. I have a go-to variation that I make every few weeks. Truly, I'm rarely without a batch.

These bars are sweet, chewy, HEALTHY, and plain delicious. When I first told people who would try them that dates are an ingredient, it was a turn off (it even turned me off at first). But you don't even taste them! They just add a sweetness factor I find and help keep the bars together (along with the PB and honey).

Here is my ingredient breakdown for them:
1 cup dates
1 1/2 cup whole oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey

I've actually never tried any other variation... I find this to be the best!

(also, please ignore the Bailey's in the background... It is not mine)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Feeding the Nutella Obsession

When I was living in Switzerland in grade 12, I discovered how much I love Nutella. We never had it in the house growing up (perhaps that was a good thing) but the minute I had unlimited access to it, I went for it. Hard. Really, really hard. My roommate and I would binge nightly. Needless to say, it was bad and my devotion showed. Okay so I didn't get, like, "fat" (as in obese) exactly. But I gained weight that I hadn't before... 

Ever since, I've only been able to eat it sparingly. I've also become a lot more health and nutrition conscious since then. So, as per my Minimalist Baker obsession, I decided to test out their recipe. Nutella is a gift to mankind, after all. However, it contains so much sugar that it is hardly justifiable at times. 

I made the recipe when I was home for a week after leaving Banff and before coming back to Halifax. Holy s#*t. It. Was. Amazing. I totally recommend trying it. It was (a) easy to make (b) customizable, and (c) relatively healthier than the original recipe. 
Though I didn't take any pictures (a really, really bad habit of mine), I hope you'll trust my judgement on this. I did add more chocolate than the recipe called for, just personal preference I think :)

The only downside to making it yourself, I find, is that hazelnuts are very expensive. So... Maybe not something to make all the time, but definitely something to try! 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Back to School!

Well I've been back in Halifax for almost two weeks now and I still can't believe it's already that time. We are fully back into the swing of things! Maybe not mentally, but the profs aren't holding anything back. I already have two tests this week! I have a lot on my mind right now because of my exchange, but I'm trying to use that to my advantage - start allocating my time effectively now to get ahead of my midterm rush. 

I'm also trying to set goals for the short 4 months that I'm in Halifax: volunteering, making more connections with profs, and exploring the city more (along with a few others...). 

Remember picking out back to school outfits weeks in advance? Like, specifically going shopping for the outfit? Shopping for back to school was always the best - clothing and supplies-wise. I don't really do any shopping for back to school anymore because, well, #studentproblems. If I don't need anything new, I tend not to buy it. Save! Save! Save! Aside from textbooks, that is (which, honestly, are probably the reason I can't go shopping). I do always go shopping with my mom and sister and grandma before school starts, but the shopping bags are are very, very minimal. 

My back to school outfit this year was an old J.Crew shirt (one of my all time favourites), jean shorts (which I'm starting to get back into again), sandals, Madewell Transport tote (I normally use my North Face backpack but when I only have my laptop or notebook to take, I take my tote), Kate Spade Gramercy watch in silver, and sunnies :) 

**I couldn't find a picture of my sunglasses online, so I added my favourite eyeglasses to the image ;)

Hope everyone is having a great start to their school year!