There is a direct correlation between the quality of my day and the meals that I have sitting at-the-ready.
With that said, I always pack a lunch to take with me to work. The mere notion of having to scrounge for food when lunchtime rolls around causes my soul to recoil.
Regardless of the fact that I eat out of an, aerodynamic, mason jar whilst literally running from my classroom in the basement to the photocopier on the main floor with lesson plans in tow, the short, disturbed, time that I share with my lunch is ever-magical.
With absurdly busy days being a constant in my life, always being able to manage a home-packed lunch is a feat in and of itself.
This week I was a champ of advance planning; making a family-size portion of Mexican Bean Salad on Sunday. The bean salad lasts beautifully in the fridge for several days and actually ages with the grace of a professional ballerina.
You know what else I made on Sunday?
Yup. Hazelnut Energy Bars. Ouf. They’re good.
Every night this week, I packed my wee canning jar with delightful salad and plastic-wrapped a hazelnut energy bar for the following day’s nomadic-picnic.
Did I ever get sick of eating the same lunch? You bet I didn’t.
It was the highlight of my day. Every day. Even on Friday.
Power-packed with veggie protein, my lunch fueled my marathon-days in such a way as to satisfy every one of my senses.
And these bars were the figurative icing on my figurative cake.
Hazelnut Energy Bars
1-1/4 cup hazelnuts
1-1/4 cup almonds
2 cups dates, soaked in water for 20-30 minutes to soften
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1. In a food processor, very-finely chop the hazelnuts and the almonds.
2. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Process until they are finely chopped.
3. Add the vanilla extract, the honey, and the cocoa powder and process until all of the ingredients are well-combined and start to stick together.
4. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined dish and pat it down evenly. Make them as thick or as thin as you’d like. Refrigerate for 30-ish minutes before removing and cutting into bars.
*Alternately, you could roll the mixture into balls, cut them into squares, or form whatever other shape happens to tickle your fancy on that particular day.