I’ve started and deleted this post about 10 times, but just can’t seem to settle on a way to begin. After walking to the kitchen and back to get a glass of water, I think I just self diagnosed myself with a case of “August brain.”
You’ve probably experienced it before, too, or maybe you’re dealing with your own case right now.
- Difficulty focusing
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to make easy decisions
- Cravings for fruit, corn, grilled meat—all the summery stuff
- Strong desire to spend time outside
- Strong desire for summer to last another three months
That’s me right now. How about you? As summer begins to wind down, I’m feeling the “dog days” set in and wondering where the past three months of my life have gone. Granted, they’ve been great and our summer here in the Midwest has been just about picture perfect, but I’m starting to feel the inevitable end of season let-down. Thankfully I love fall and look forward to it every year, but saying goodbye to summer never comes easily.
My course of treatment:
- Let time work its magic and don’t fight the feelings. The let-down will pass soon enough, another season and all its joys will roll around, and we’ll have our mojo back before we know it.
As August rolls onward, I will not despair! Although cooler weather and structured routines are just around the corner, there’s always a silver lining and a bright side which I’m trying to focus on more than the negatives. And if there’s one thing that cheers me up and breaks up the slow and not-so-loved wind down of summer, it’s tying on my apron and getting to work in the kitchen.
Last week I made these Carrot Banana Granola Balls for my visiting family. Kept in the freezer, they made a great grab-and-go snack to take the edge off of a sweet tooth.
These granola balls are soft like a cookie but mildly flavored like a muffin. Bananas and maple syrup add natural sweetness. Oats, coconut, carrots, and raisins add texture and flavor. They’re easily made nut-free by using sunflower seed butter, a favorite in my kitchen.
Whatever your end-of-summer plans entail, these trusty bites will hold up to all your adventures and have your back when you’re in a hunger bind. (We’ve all been there!)
If you’d like a grain-free granola ball option, try this recipe. And here are a few more to add to your back to school baking list:
- 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium to large carrots)
- ½ cup mashed banana (about 2 small bananas)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter or sunflower seed butter
- 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (use 3 tablespoons for more sweetness, 2 for slightly less)
- 1-1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup raisins or dried currants
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the carrots, mashed banana, applesauce, ground flaxseed, sunflower seed butter, and maple syrup. Stir in the oats, coconut, raisins, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine thoroughly.
- Using your hands, gently form the dough (it will be moist) into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Place them on the lined baking sheet. (They will not spread, so they can be placed close together.)
- Bake for about 20 minutes until deeply golden brown and just firm to the touch. Cool completely before serving. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze for longer storage.)