Thursday, October 15, 2015

blueberry birdseed bars + finding my balance

I can't believe that I have been blogging for two and a half years! I am so thankful to everyone out there who is reading my posts and making my recipes, you are my motivation. I strive to inspire a healthy diet and lifestyle. With that being said, I think it's about time that I share a little more about myself.


I am not vegan. Hence the name. I believe a vegan lifestyle is good for the animals, the planet, and my body, but I also believe in finding a balance and rhythm that works for me, with all labels and titles aside. The thing is... food stresses me out! By putting restrictions on myself and my diet I give myself anxiety. I don't need anymore stress in my life, earning a bachelor's in science is stressful enough right now. I go to school or work 6 days a week and spend the rest of my time doing homework!

I have been having a really hard time lately managing my stress and my time. I finally broke down last weekend and realized, with help from my wise mother, that I am putting way too much pressure on myself. Pressure to be a perfect student, to eat the perfect diet, to live the perfect life here in Hawaii. What a slap in the face that was! And a profound realization that am not perfect, I never will be, and perfect is a unicorn - it may not even exist. As Mom said, "You don't have to get straight A's but you do have to be healthy and happy." Amen. It's time to lighten up. Thanks Mom.

There is a new term coming onto the nutrition scene called the "flexitarian". This in itself sounds like an oxymoron to me. A status given to those who drift between statuses. Why do we feel the need to label everything?! Either way, this is probably the diet category that I would fall into. I eat mostly a whole foods plant based diet with a little bit of sushi here and there, a drizzle of honey now and again, and I never go too long without having a beer (or two). My diet doesn't consist of "rules" and "restrictions" but instead of choices that I consciously make. My goal is to find my balance. A balance that honors my body, my mind, my relationships, my busy schedule, and my overall happiness. Too much to ask? Apparently, as it has been a huge challenge for me. A challenge that I face every morning when I wake up. But a challenge that I love and live for.

Alright, alright, lets make some good food! I have so many recipes that I want to share but not enough time to put them into posts. Organic chemistry takes up most of my time these days and I am currently writing a ten page paper! But bare with me, I'll get it together eventually! Balance, right?

Homemade granola bars and some sort of energy ball are always in my fridge. They are so easy to pack and great for a quick snack or even desert. For more ideas check out my sweets and treats page!

birdseed bars

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups dates (soaked for a few minutes in hot water)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (or dried fruit of choice)

Place oats and almonds in a food processor and grind into a course meal, add the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Drain dates and add them to the food processor with maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Blend into a smooth paste. Add this, the sesame seeds, flax seeds, and dried blueberries to ground oat mixture.

Fold together with a wooden spoon or with your hands. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper, plastic wrap, or tin foil. Transfer mixture onto tray and press firmly down until flat and even (or at least as flat and even as you can get it, press hard!).

Place tray in freezer for about 20 minutes. Use whatever you lined the tray with to help you transfer the whole thing onto a cutting board. I found there is a sweet spot here, you don't want it to be completely frozen because then it is really hard to cut (especially the blueberries) but you want it to be frozen enough that you can transfer it without breaking it. So, if it doesn't feel firm enough, just freeze it for a little longer, or if it is super frozen because you forgot about it (done it!) just leave it out for a few before cutting it.

Slice into bars or squares and store in the fridge!

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