My first class of students I taught as freshmen have graduated! I'm so proud of each and every one of those students and it was so wonderful to see the completion of such hard work and determination. The delta still has a great hold on my heart. I'm so excited to see what the future holds for these wonderful young men and women.
About a month ago, Lang sent me to the grocery store with the graphic below. He had jumped on the train of whole foods eating and more specifically, packing our breakfasts and snacks with superfoods. I told him about one of my favorite blogs, Nutrition Stripped, and for a solid couple of weeks, McKel's amazing recipes and informative blog ruled our bellies.
We followed her smoothie and nutrient-dense bread recipes for a few weeks before venturing off and experimenting with coconut flour, maca powder, raw cacao nibs and other odd, but insanely good for you foods.
In the last month, I have made these granola bars four times. They don't last long in our house. I modeled the recipe roughly off of my version of the Smitten Kitchen granola bar recipe I made a few months back, but this time only used nutrient dense ingredients, aka superfoods.
Here's a short lowdown on the goodies of these ingredients:
oats: low glycemic index, high fiber, potentially gluten free (read your labels!)
pepitas: one of the best plant-based sources of zinc!
goji berries: crazy amount of antioxidants in an itty bitty berry
maca powder: helps with hormonal balance (anxiety, depression, infertility, focus, endurance)
cacao nibs: magnesium, iron
Substitutions can definitely be made for this recipe, but you'll loose some of the nutrients. If you're looking for a nutritious, basic granola bar recipe, go here. Otherwise, here are some possible substitutions:
goji berries = raisins, cranberries, any other dried fruit
pepitas = any other seed or nut
cacao nibs = chopped baker's chocolate bar
coconut oil = melted butter
You should make these. So tasty and so good for you.
Superfood Granola Bars
2 cups oats
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup goji berries
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1 tablespoon Maca powder (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup honey (heaping)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 350; Line an 8x8 glass baking dish with aluminum foil so that it comes above the sides; grease really well.
In a large bowl, dump in the 1 2/3 cup of the oats. Take the last 1/3 cup of oats and place in a food processor and grind up to make an oat flour. Add the oat flour to the large bowl.
Take your 1 cup of almonds and pulse a couple times in the food processor to get chopped almonds and almond meal. (It's okay if you get primarily almond meal--almond flour is a great binding flour and so you're less likely to have crumbly bars). Add almonds to the large bowl.
Add the rest of your dry ingredients to the large bowl and combine.
Melt the coconut oil and mix with honey. Add the wet mixture to the large bowl and stir until well distributed. Dump the mixture into the baking dish and mash it down with the back of a spoon so that it is packed in.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. A couple minutes after taking it out of the oven, lift the bars out of the baking pan by the aluminum foil to help them cool faster. Once they are completely cooled, remove foil and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.
Sheesh. I'm a blubbering mess right now.
My very first day as a teacher was these students' first day of high school. I still have the notecards they filled out with their name, how they were feeling about their first day, and a current goal they had for themselves. Almost all of them wrote either "scared" or "nervous" and that they wanted to graduate high school and go onto college.
Four years later, they are strong, confident young men and women, now a little scared and nervous about the next chapter of their life--college. I had the privilege to take senior pictures for some of my students I have gotten the closest with over the past four years, and words don't even come close to describe how special that was.
I am so, so, so proud of these guys and the LHS class of 2014. You are smart, hilarious, resilient, beautiful, and have taught me more than you could have every possibly imagined.
I love you all so much and I can't wait to see you walk across that stage!
This is the last installment of South African photos-- the iPhone edition.
The last couple of weeks have been rather packed in regards to reconfiguring the new curio quilt site, a trip to the delta (pictures coming soon!), and figuring out and updating our new Lang Thomas Photography website. This post almost made a home in the draft's tab, but I quickly realized that would be quite a loss.
Ahh...how I so wish I could go back.
I know I'm a broken record...but I refuse to fix this one: A trip to SA is something I think everyone should put on their bucket list.
Getting there is a little pricey and inconvenient (lonnnng plane ride), but when you are there, all of those traveling woes will float away. The food is wonderful, the dollar is incredible strong, the people are sweet and kind, and it is the most visually appealing place I have ever been.
Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most famous drives in the world. You feel like you're in a maserati commercial--even though you're driving a Ford Figo rental.
Foodie heaven. Every Saturday, there is this incredible marketplace with tons of great food from local eateries as well as pop-up shops from Cape Town's hippest boutiques and UK designers. If you're looking for good eats and garb, you must go to the Old Biscuit Mill and the Woodstock Exchange.
The photo above is action packed. One of our favorite parts of the trip was the time we spent at Boulder's Beach napping and swimming with penguins (currently tied with goats for my favorite non-domesticated animal). After that, we went to the southernmost tip of Africa, The Cape of Good Hope.
Also included in the photos above are some glimpses from our safari at the Gondwana Game Reserve along the Garden Route and our time exploring wineries (and eating lots of truffles) around Stellenbosch. The two wineries we loved were Ernie El's and a more modern one, Hidden Valley.
In and around Cape Town, we did lots of hiking, exploring, eating and shopping. For hiking and exploring, you most definitely need to go to Table Mountain and Lion's head as well as take the ferry out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.
In regards to food recommendations, I could write an entire blog post. I'm going to spare you and myself the work of doing so and redirect you to the SA blog that made every meal a raging success. Thank you Miss Moss for being so incredibly hip, tasteful, and willing to share Cape Town's best secrets.