On this morning, Mariah pours herself a strong cup of coffee, acrid from sitting on the burner a half-an-hour too long. She stirs in cream and sugar, whistling away the blackness; this jolt will last her maybe an hour, enough to get her through that revolving door. She waits for the man that brings up her paper, leans up against a bookshelf, and presses her warm mug against her cheek, the steam swirling up into her nose. He knocks. She opens. And he hands her a paper wrapped in flimsy blue plastic, smiling with his front tooth yellowed, his socks not matching, with an old jacket that reminds Mariah of her father (surprise).
Mariah’s father wore cuff links. One pair—diamond studded gold, a gift from an important man that remains nameless. “You wouldn’t know him” father always said, “But he’s important”. And so Mariah would dream of him after a day of wrestling with the ineffable thoughts that sprung from hallways filled with students so much smarter with their purple keds. Mr. Important helped her to float down to the ground, pushed her deep into her pillow, made sleep stay quick and painless. Bushy eyebrows, a full beard and a pair of cufflinks even more flashy than her father’s, he strode into her bedroom with confidence, a swagger, and sat at the end of her bed, listening to her talk about Megan’s baby brother, about the game of Tag that ended when Mrs. Hutchinson and Chris collided near the rear door of the gym. Goodnight lovely, he said and then she was off, asleep and calm for at least the next ten hours. Where is he now? She thinks, sipping and stirring some more cream into her coffee. And why does he no longer come?
To be continued next week...unto granola bars below
One item that follows me wherever I go is a granola bar. Tasty, chewy and transportable, these bars offer me a simple and nutritious snack whenever my stomach starts to grumble. My purse's day job is a lunchbox, and if you were open it right now, you would find a small container of edamame beans, an apple, a dozen almonds and one of these delicious granola bars.
The melding of peanut butter, dried fruit and crispy oats is heavenly. These granola bars are embarrassingly simple to make, and cost far less than what you can buy at the store. Not only do they taste better, but they cut back on unnecessary packaging and transportation. As the world grows smaller, we all need to be more aware of how and where we get our foods.
But enough preaching.
After I made a pan of these granola bars, I saw my cookie cutters sitting alone and abandoned in my baking drawer. Because I have a tendency to favor aesthetics over sensibility, I decided to cut little owls and rounds out of my delicious pan of granola. The result was adorable (in my opinion) but I promise that these bars will taste just as delicious if you are practical and cut them into squares.
Enjoy the bars, enjoy the beginning of the story, and I will see you all on Friday
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1 Tb. flaxseeds
1 Tb. sesame seeds
1 c. unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (like Kashi)
1/3 c. dried cranberries
2/3 c. dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/4 c. creamy almond butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
1. Lightly oil an 8″square pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet and toast until everything is lightly browned and fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, cranberries, and figs, toss to combine.
3. Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles slightly, 2-5 minutes.
4. Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly oil your hands and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars or owls...whatever suits your fancy
Anecdotes and Apple Cores