A few weeks ago, I was sitting on the sofa in our near-empty living room–the sunlight reflected off the wood floors and every little noise seemed amplified. It was quiet and early morning, one of the last mornings in a place that had been our home for over 5 years. Over Christmas and well into January, we’d lived amongst a maze of paint cans, tools, packing materials, and boxes. The craziness of the holidays and travel made this time all the more chaotic. We spent afternoons moving boxes to storage, packing up more boxes, and taking clothes that have merely been taking up space in my closet to Goodwill and a local charity, Mary’s Place. Then, we lived out of suitcases and moved Milo and Roux (and ourselves) into Angela’s place for a few weeks. All to get here: our lovely 1960 split-level ranch house sold after less than 7 days on the market, well over our asking price. Just a couple of weeks ago, I walked out of the door that I’ve walked in just about everyday of the last five and a half years knowing it was the last time, and this was now someone else’s home. I cried then, and I’m still a little sad, honestly; also, it’s super weird to be renting again…so very weird. But, I’m excited about the craziness that is coming because Skip and I sold our house with the intent of buying land and building a house. We’re exploring some land near our ‘old’ neighborhood–a plot on the top of a hill, overlooking Lake Washington, and surrounded by mostly beautiful mid-century homes, in a neighborhood we’ve walked Roux and Oliver around many, many times while we talked about what we liked about one house or another and admired the amazing views. We’re also exploring other options, scattered around the city, all difficult to build on due to sloping topography, but most with lovely water and mountain views. We might be crazy but, then, we might just end up with the house of our dreams and a pizza oven. The chaos of the last few months has reminded me that home isn’t a physical place, it isn’t the ‘where’ but the ‘who.’ Home is wherever Skip is and wherever the crazy, snuggly furballs are; home is Washington, Louisiana, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, California–home is where all those I love happen to be. That’s a pretty good thing to realize, a good thought to keep me grounded.
Honestly, with all of the stress and basically moving for months, it’s been hard to stay on the healthy wagon, and the holiday gluttony didn’t help. Oh, and did I mention I came down with a cold on Christmas eve that lasted till the middle of January?? Well, I’ve finally kicked that damn cold, our new place is becoming a little less chaotic day by day (and a little less cardboard-filled), and work is what it is, and that is all manageable most days. We’re now able to put our focus more on figuring out what land is the best fit and where our house will eventually be. We’re finally getting back into cooking again; my sourdough starter is back to being active and bubbly, I’ve made a couple loaves of bread; and we’ve made pizza and cocktails a couple of times. So, it’s starting to feel a little more normal and more like our house. I’ve even manage to make up some snacks, nut butter and oat bars, that are a good pick-me-up in the afternoon before I head to the gym and feel sort of healthy…sort of. Next time I make these, I think I’ll add a little less oats and pulse the whole mixture just for few seconds in the food processor to bring it all together a bit better. These keep best in the freezer and should keep for a few weeks.
Nut Butter & Oat Bars
1 1/2 C Old-Fashioned Oatmeal (164 g)
1/2 C Pepitas (73 g)
1/4 C Flax seeds (40 g)
3/4 C Whole roasted almonds (126 g)
1 C Nut butter (I used 3/4 C peanut butter + 1/4 cashew nut butter)
1/4 C Honey
1/4 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp Dried sour cherries, diced
1/4 C Cocoa nibs (optional)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
- Pulse the almonds, cocoa nibs, & flax seed a few times in a food processor or blender—don’t pulverize, you just want to break the almonds up enough to be similar to the oats in size.
- Toast the oats & pepitas at 300 °F for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer the oats & pepitas to a large bowl; add the nut butter & honey, mix.
- Add the almonds-cocoa nib-flax mixture, the cinnamon, & the salt—mix well.
- Line a 9 x 9 pan with foil, overhang the foil a little. Press the oat mixture in the pan & put the fridge for a couple of hours or the freezer for an hour.
- Remove from the pan using the foil & cut into squares. You can also just roll these into small two-bite balls and store in the refrigerator.
These will keep best in the freezer and should keep for a few weeks. Enjoy!