Ben takes the GRE today. I am so excited, anxious, proud and nervous for him - all rolled up in one crazy little bundle. I am both eager and on edge. And I'm not even taking the damn thing. I don't even know how he is managing. Actually, he's probably managing a lot better. He's a little less excitable than I am, and on top of that, he has more than prepared.
I am very proud of him and how he came at studying for the test. It has been a long time in the making. He has been extremely dedicated, carting his studying material (including the 5 pound book of questions! Which, title aside, actually weighs closer to 6 pounds) to each of our last 3 vacations. Making time to study while I go play with our nephew or nap in a hammock. Spending many weekend afternoons tucked away in the spare bedroom or studying in the car while I drove. He has been beyond committed, and I find myself constantly impressed and beaming with pride.
So, today I sit at my desk in Rockford, anxiously tapping my foot, knowing that this is something completely out of my control. And it will drive me nuts until I get that long awaited call this afternoon to tell me he is done and that he did great.
Adapted from 101 cookbooks
These are also fabulous for those afternoons that at 2 PM you can't imagine staring at a computer anymore. They are lightly sweet, have just the right small bit of caffeine and, if you add chocolate, just about perfect for giving your behind the little swift kick it needs to get you through the day.
The recipe is very adaptable. Add whatever nuts you want or have on hand. Throw some seeds in there too, if you'd like. Add some dried fruit if you get the feeling. And, really, you can't go wrong with a few mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top.
Lastly, I usually use my 9x13 pan for this. It makes thinner bars, similar in size and thickness to a Clifbar. If you like yours thicker (think size and thickness of a Quaker Chewy bar), go for a 9x9.
Coconut oil, for greasing
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. chopped almonds
2/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
1 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. natural cane sugar (sugar in the raw)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp espresso powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
Preheat your over to 350. Generously grease a 9x13 pan with coconut oil and set aside. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss walnuts, almonds and coconut. Toast in the over for 5-7 minutes, until coconut is golden. Toss a few times to avoid the nuts and coconut burning.
In large bowl, combine toasted nuts, coconut, oats and cereal. Mix well. It is easier to evenly distribute the ingredients now, then it will be after pouring the syrup over them.
On the stove, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the wet ingredients (brown rice syrup - vanilla). I find it easiest to handle/measure/pour the brown rice syrup if I heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave first. Bring mixture to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Continue to cook, while stirring, another 4-5 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat and pour over nut/oat mixture. Stir (slow and gentle!), until syrup covers the nuts and oats completely.
Pour into prepared pan and lightly push down. Wait a few minutes for mixture to cool, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top and lightly push into bars. Let cool to room temperature (a few hours). Flip out onto cutting board and cut into 16-24 bars.