Last weekend I took a long overdue trip to St. Louis to visit my parents. In two days we squeezed in some truly incredible meals. One night we inhaled steamers, clam chowder, and lobster rolls at a new seafood spot called The Peacemaker, and another night my mom put together a feast of homemade tagliatelle with roasted cherry tomatoes and mini key lime pies (there were other dishes involved but she knocked it out of the park with these two).
I have to say, everything just felt so easy – clean – quiet – peaceful. Ah, Manhattan – sometimes I don’t know why I put up with you! And not that I ever had any doubts, but man oh man do my parents know how to live. Somewhere between the Saturday afternoon fire, complete with a cheese platter and port, and the jaunt to the art museum (to which they bike in warmer weather) I decided I didn’t want to go back to the city.
But I did come back. After an early morning flight and a full day of work, I carried my suitcase up the five flights of stairs to my studio, set it down on the wood floors, and went straight to the kitchen. It felt how it always feels when you reluctantly return from vacation – bitter at first, but comforting and delightfully sweet when you fall back into your routine.
Ingredients for 6-8 bars:
1/4 cup of dry lentils
1/4 cup of peanut butter
3 tbsp pumpkin puree (I had some bagged in the freezer, but you can sub applesauce if preferred)
1 tbsp agave syrup
2-3 tbsp of bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup of rolled oats
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook lentils according to instructions (boil in water, drain, let cool to room temperature).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, lentils, walnuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, and cinnamon.
In a blender or food processor, mix the peanut butter, agave, pumpkin puree or applesauce, and egg. The consistency should be yogurt-like.
Dump the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and mix very thoroughly. Pour the entire mixture back into the food processor (or if you have one, use an immersion blender) and blend until about 50% of the mixture remains solid. In other words, you’re going to want some chunks of ingredients here and there for texture.
Line a baking tray with foil and spray lightly with baking spray. Don’t worry if you only have large pans – the mixture should be thick enough that you can use a spatula to shape the one side into a straight line. Use a spatula to form the mixture until it’s about 1 or so inches deep, about the thickness of a standard breakfast bar.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the edges seem to turn golden or slightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. I sped the process up by refrigerating it.
When completely cool, use a serrated knife to slice into bars, 1 to 2 inches in width. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy at breakfast!