Pea shoots: I first tasted these delicious and nutrient rich microgreens last spring when we found some in our weekly veggie box. The young leaves and tendrils of pea plants are crisp and sweet and offer a welcome first taste of the fresh produce to come later in the season. I was so happy to find these again at a local food shop recently; we've been enjoying them whenever we can, tossed in salads and rolled with other veggies in wraps. Try them -- you'll love them!
Lilacs: I love the lilacs that are in bloom this time of year. When I step out onto our deck and catch their wonderful floral scent wafting by on the breeze for the first time each spring, I am instantly transported back to my childhood. There was a pretty lilac bush in the back corner of our yard when I was growing up, and I still remember burying my young face in the dainty blooms to inhale their sweetness, and walking to school clutching bouquets of them to bring to my teachers over the years. Lilacs are one of the simple pleasures of the season that make me forget whatever else might be happening for a moment and just feel so grateful to be. If you don't have a lilac bush of your own, I encourage you to walk around your neighbourhood to find one and breathe near it -- I'm pretty sure it will make you feel happy, too!
Walking: Since the arrival of nicer weather, I've had a standing date for a weekly walk with friends. We meet at the start of a lovely trail near our homes just after we drop the kids off at school, and we spend an hour or so moving at a brisk pace, soaking up the sunlight and the birds' sweet morning songs while we talk about what's important or interesting to us. It's such an easy and enjoyable way to get some exercise, and afterwards I feel energized for the rest of the day. Walking is good for the heart in both senses, and this time of year the warm sunshine and pretty landscapes make it very appealing to get moving. If you're feeling that you'd like to be a little more active, maybe the longer, cheerful days of spring can inspire you to head out walking, too!
1 1/3 cups certified pure oats, divided
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 cup of any combination of add-ins (I use about 1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut, about 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, and about 2 tbsp each of hemp hearts and cocoa nibs)
2 tbsp whole chia seeds
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, letting a bit of excess paper hang over the sides.
Grind 1/3 cup of the oats in a food processor until powdery. Add them to a large mixing bowl with the remaining oats, the salt, cinnamon, and ginger, the add-ins, and the whole and ground chia seeds. Stir to combine.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the granola mixture into the prepared pan, and press firmly down on it with the back of a spoon to smooth it out and create a flat top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely.
Once cool, lift up the edges of the parchment paper lining to easily remove the granola from the pan. Place it on a cutting board and slice it into squares or bars using a large, sharp knife. Store the granola bars in an airtight container.
That's all I've got in my pockets for now... come by and see what other interesting things I'll collect and share in the coming months! Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!