Cooking with nostalgia

I have a ton of recipes in my recipe book that I try once, love it, keep it, and then don't make it ever again.

Well not ever, but years will go by and I will not go back to it. (After all, there is an entire world of recipes out there just waiting for me to try).

I've been thinking about making granola bars again for awhile. I love oats. I essentially want to eat them all the time. Anything that has oats in it - I'm for it. How can you make most baked items better? Try the version with oats in it. (well, this obviously isn't true all the time, but as a theory, it sounds delicious).

Besides my overwhelming love of oats, now that I am working a regular-ish schedule, I find myself hungry all. the. time. bah. Apparently, I am not eating the right things for breakfast. At 10:00am, I find myself sitting at my desk, hoping my stomach doesn't implode. Minus trying to make time for a more well rounded breakfast, I have started to think of what type of "healthy" snacks I can bring to work for second breakfast (which is the best meal of the day). I've eaten carrots and apples (which we all supposed to be part of my lunch, but didn't make it that far), and expired granola bars from Meridian grocery. (I really like granola bars and, yes, I know they aren't really healthy of you at all). But this last batch of bars you could tell they are expired.

It was time to finally stop being lazy and make my own.

As a part-time baker, it's hard for me to work up motivation to come home and continue what I was doing during the day, especially since that means dishes are ultimate involved - and that is really what it comes down to. But tonight, I finally decided to go for it.

This is the part where I bring in the title of this blog.

I haven't made these granola bars since I was in South Africa. I believe that I only made them once when I was there. And they didn't really turn out properly. They were a little too dry, making them seem like caramelized (non-marshmallowly) rice crispy treats. Don't get me wrong, that is still a delicious win, but still strange. (I decided tonight that maybe it had something to do with the corn syrup. I generally distrust all corn unless I meet the farmer who grew the edible kind. American corn syrup industry is insane, so I like to blame my semi-failed granola bars on that. ha).

Regardless, I lived with 2 boys who had appetites the size of their native homeland of Canada (and our neighbour, Christian, who basically only eats sweets), so they were rapidly consumed.

Usually, I don't feel nostalgia about all the food Tim, Kyle, and Christian ate, but I made these right before we headed to the Eastern Cape for some r & r from Pietermartizburg. We loaded up the ballade, I filled up an old, plastic ice cream tub with the bars and we headed to Mthatha.

On our first night there, our MMN friends put us up in a "backpackers" (a hostel) for one night since they still had guests staying at their home. That evening, the five of us chilled at the backpackers, consumed the entire box of these granola bar treats and did something that we hadn't done in 6 months.

Watched TV

It. was. awesome.

We sprawled out in the lounge and watched a combination random things, including Scrubs and two different documentaries - one about a per-historic creature called "the terminator pig" and the other about a particular mountain range in Russia where none of the beauty is "lost on the bears." (Yes, that is a direct quote). We watched TV til we were too tired to stay awake.

We all went to bed at 8:30.

no lie.

(Our time in PMB was pretty stressful and so whenever we got out of the city, we basically all collapsed).

That evening has been glorified in my mind as maybe one of the most relaxing evenings in South Africa, and maybe even in my entire life thus far. It was so great.

So when I eat these yummy things this time around, I will undoubtedly think about my team, that backpackers place in Mthatha, and how none of these good things are lost on the bears.