Chewy Granola

Let’s take a quiz.

Alarm sounds, wake up. Are you groggy and fumble for the snooze button, or do you jump out of bed and turn the hot water on? Give yourself three points if you are groggy, and four if you jump out of bed.

You find out that there’s a mandatory meeting in the afternoon at work. To remember to attend, do you create an alarm in your Outlook, or do you wait for your colleagues to shuffle in and go when everyone else is ready? Take four points for using the Outlook tool, and three points for shuffling in with the rest.

A friend emails you, and it’s been a good month since you’ve hung out. Plus, she just went on an awesome trip and you remember that you have her sweater to return as well. Is your reply, “Free tonight for coffee?” or do you get back to her on the weekend when things calm down a bit? Bank three points for an on-the-fly appointment, and four for waiting ’til the weekend.

Alright, let’s take count. But I’ll get to the results in a bit.

The pace of my month has taken to factory settings. Auto-mode. When things get busy, I feel like I’m simply doing things for the sake of getting them done. Two of my nights are taken up by a course, I work two late shifts a week, and have been cooking in my free time to, literally, fuel the whole process. After a couple consecutive weekends of hosting, I’ve also taken to MIA mode this week. I’m not even on a visible status on my Gmail chat.

Not that I’m endorsing hiding underground (which is actually my set-up, living in a basement apartment). I think being on factory-mode has made me cranky, disconnected and aloof, which is not cool. All for the sake of carrying on, self-protection, and escaping the fires of burnout.

Needless to say, I think this pace will change when the late shifts become summer shifts (get outta there at 5:30pm and no later, ya hear?) and my course finishes up. And then I will be better company and ready to attend to my friends, who I hope, will still want to make plans on the weekend with me after I’ve post-poned most of their proposals in May and June!

In terms of having the energy to get through factory-mode setting, here’s a granola recipe. For many, many years I’ve used a recipe that makes the crumbly kind, which is great for breakfast when you can stir it around in yogurt and eat with a spoon. But if you’re on a bus, or at your desk, you might want to just grab a piece of granola to nibble on. In search of a chewy granola recipe, I’ve come across four from the Feb/Mar 2011 issue of Homemakers, which involve pureed fruit. To simplify the preparation a bit, my sister sent me a recipe that uses egg and milk to make the granola bar chewy, posted below.

Now for the quiz results: if your total score is eleven or higher, sounds like you cope with stress by planning, planning, planning! It’s go ahead or postpone for you, as long as you are ready to perform. If you scored ten or lower, maybe you prefer a more mellow method to busyness. You’re more likely to enjoy the moment and go with the flow.

Wherever your results fall, this chewy granola bar recipe ought to fuel us through demanding schedules and busy days!

Chewy Granola recipe, adapted from Kath Eats Real Food

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dried fruit, chopped (use any combination that you like – raisins, cranberries, dates, figs)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Preheat the oven to 350°C. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir to combine.
  • Pour the granola mixture into the pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

*On her website, Kath also gives great tips about how to store and freeze the granola for later on — which sounds great if you find there’s too much leftover and don’t want the granola to get stale. Also, Kath is a registered dietician and includes nutritional information for this recipe on her website.

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