God I love school supplies. I just played a round of totally safe-for-work Never Have I Ever at work and I said that I had never been to Taco Bell when really I should have said never have I ever NOT hoarded school supplies. What a rookie mistake.
I’ve been out of any kind of school for 5 years now but still find myself “accidentally” meandering through the supply aisles at Target and debating whether I want the classic black and white composition note book because très chic! or the totally on point watermelon one (actually, I’ve never seen a watermelon one but if that doesn’t exist then I’m trademarking it here! I just Googled it and it doesn’t exist so hands off guys! It’s gonna be my claim to fame like the post-it notes in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.)
My Type A heart is made so happy surrounded by clean, crisp notebooks, rainbow packs of pens, bright highlighters and fine tip sharpies. You’d never guess if you watched me in the kitchen – it’s a battlefield in there. Generally there’s flour everywhere, regardless if I’m baking or not, but the best is when (and it inevitably happens at least once a month) I knock the olive oil off the counter and it smashes into a thousand tiny glass pieces and coats EV ER Y THING in sight and out of sight and is the worst to clean up. Have any of you tried to clean up cups of olive oil? It’s some demonic form of Suzy Homemaker torture if I’ve ever seen any. But anyway, back to happier things like school supplies.
I’m really grateful to the marketing industry for giving school supplies an adult name too: office supplies. It gives my happy heart a reason to buy calendar organizers and pencils with real manual pencil sharpeners and because I have my own money now I can splurge on as many of these as I want (team metallic all day baby!)
But we can’t talk about school supplies without also giving a little nod to school lunches which in all honesty were such a guilty pleasure of mine – especiallllllllyyyyyyy enchilada day! But if I brought lunch it was the same deal: a sandwich, some fruits or veggies, chips or cookies, and a granola bar for later. I went through a Nature Valley kick, but if I had these Tahini Granola Bars on hand they’d be subbed into the mix in a flash. Loaded with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and ancient grains, they’re a powerhouse of a snack. And while they’re the R-version of your PG Quaker’s Chewy, they’re still totally safe-for-work.
TAHINI GRANOLA BARS
1 1/2 cups Kashi Puffed 7 Grains
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup pitted dried dates, chopped (from about 8 whole dates)
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons toasted quinoa
Start by toasting your nuts and seeds and grains. For the pumpkin seeds, toast in a skillet on medium heat for 1 minute. The sesame seeds and quinoa should each be toasted for a quick 30 seconds. Remove and let cool. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the tahini, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, canola oil and salt. Mix to combine evenly. Then microwave for 1 minute.
In a large bowl, combine the puffed 7 grains, rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, dried dates, dried cherries and sesame seeds. Toss to incorporate. Add the tahini mixture and stir until everything is coated. Press the mixture into a parchment lined 11×17 baking dish, pressing into an even layer. Sprinkle with the toasted quinoa and press gently to help the little gems stick to the granola bars.
Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cut in half and then cut each half into 6 pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!