Homemade Vegan Granola Bars

Anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, love snacks. I barely even eat my meals, I usually just snack away, all day long. Well, with the exception to breakfast. I loooooove breakfast, in fact, I can just eat breakfast for all my meals..and that includes a cuppa coffee too. So lately, I’ve been trying to cut down from eating outside, mainly because I don’t trust the sanitation factor that goes on in most Egyptian popular restaurants. I also have been paranoid about by snacks and what effects it has on our body especially to kids. Since I am addicted to snacking with anything that has flours like bread, cookies, donuts, you name it, there isn’t anything that I will not like. I’ve been trying very hard to trick my snacking habits into something that is healthy, fulfilling and good for me. I guess, what I am trying to get at is that I’ve created an awesome recipe for granola bars that any gluten lovers like myself will sure to love. I can’t say it’s gluten free but it’s definitely vegan. I’m sure, you can substitute the flour that goes into these granola bars with almond and coconut flour. I would have opted for that option but I haven’t found any place that sells those types of flours in Egypt. That’s the good thing about this recipe, you can totally personalize with anything that you have around or whatever is local around you. Before I get to the steps and the recipe it self, I must apologize if this posts will come out immature. This is the first time I write a post like this and I don’t even know how to do it. I don’t have any pictures to demonstrate the steps but I will share a picture of what these granola bars look like taken by my phone 🤕.

What you will need for the granola:

Baking Pan

Cookie 🍪 sheets

One bowl 🍲

Spoon 🥄

Ingredients:

You don’t really have to measure but I’ll give you a sense of how much I put of each ingredient.

Oats

Flour

Black honey 🍯 or bee 🐝 honey 🍯

Oil, it can be olive oil, vegggie or coconut 🥥

Those are the main ingredients but if you like you can put anything else at your possession, such as, nuts 🥜, chocolate 🍫 chips, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon powder, cocoa and coconut 🥥 flakes. I also add, chia seeds to make into a energy booster snack. 😉

Sorry for all those emojis, I’m writing this post from my phone and I am currently obsessed.

Steps:

In one bowl mix all the main ingredients together.

For every cup flour put half cup of any flour you have. The end product should look gluey and sticky.

Add 1/4 of black honey (I am totally bull sh*tting these measurements). Like I said the end product should be gluey and sticky as if you are making chocolate chip cookies.

Add 1/4 oil of your choice. Again bull sh*t as long as it’s looking gluey.

Now, that you’ve mixed it all, you can add any flavoring that you want. I added what I had around the house and that was chia seeds and raisins. I also added this spice that Egyptian use a lot in their baking and as tea which in Arabic it’s called “yansoon”. Comment below if you know the name of “yansoon” in English.

Place in a baking pan with the cooking sheet and spread the formula out as flat as possible. Since the mixture does not rise with the heat you will have to spread it out in a thin layer.

The oven can be at any temperature and the mixture should be ready once you smell it and it has browned.

It’s very important that you cut the formula as soon as it’s out of the oven since it will harden after 5-10 min at room temperature.

Now it’s ready to indulge, enjoy!

I hope you have found this post is useful and that you have tried it for your self. Let me know if you’ve tried this recipe and/or if you have other healthy snack alternatives.

Bon appetite!

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A New Year 2018

Dear Me,

You know you are not one to commemorate anything and the New Years is not an exemption. However, this year was a very challenging one and lot of self-reflection and growth happened. I am finding myself deeper in my thoughts and reflecting very hard on my personal growth and barriers I had to overcome.

I am not one to make new years resolution and I am not here to write a list of what I would like to accomplish in 2018. It’s time to make goals and set time lines. To leave behind the negativity and move forward. To stop making excuses and just do the things I most fear. Mostly, I want to live in the moment, to cherish everything around, to leave a little bit of goodness every day.

This letter is not to set up expectations and looking to fulfill them in a time span. It is not to accomplish all my dreams, goals, obstacles and fears in a the year to come. Rather, it is a time to pause and reflect on how far I reached within a year. To look at my blessings and downfalls.

Most importantly, when you look back remember there is no such thing as “failure”. When you wake up every day and try again and didn’t succeed, you didn’t fail. When you try new things and it did not go as planned, you didn’t fail. When life takes its own course instead of yours, you didn’t fail. What’s more important is what you learned from all that God had planned for you.

Now, read this post and reflect all the personal growth and blessings that have occurred within a year and don’t worry about what people think you should be doing or where you should be.

Don’t be delusional, don’t fall into trend, there is no such thing as happiness. There is however, a sense of peace knowing that you will embrace whatever comes or does not come your way. Not only embrace, face it, conquer it and gain the most expensive gift in life, “patience”.

Look at your daughters and see how much they have grown, hug them and tell them you “love them”. Pray for all the blessings that God has bestowed. If you cried a lot, it is time to smile. If you smiled a lot, it is time to help others who have cried. If you have gained, it is time to give. If you have lost, it is time to accept. If you loved than love even harder. Know that all your prayers are not answer in this life. Ameen.

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Going Shampoo-less

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The road towards a healthier life is not an easy one. You can’t take an escalator all the way to the top, it is a step by step process. I am by no means considered a healthy person but I have become more conscious of my actions and what impact it has on the society. Living in a chaotic, never stopping concrete jungle it is very easy to fall into and contribute to the city’s pollution. I have to come into realization that I will not be able to fix the city’s dangerous pollution but I have to take responsibility for my own contribution, whether or not it will have a positive impact on the environment.

It is quite clear to foreigners and Egyptians that Cairo does not have any green public spaces. And if it does, it is all privatized and enjoyed by the privilege which leads most of the population behind. I am a strong believer that nature is the cure to our soul, it is the way towards knowing God and being closer to Him. When you hinder people from decoding their stress and rejuvenate their energy than the country is building an aggressive and resentful beings.

What does this all have to do with going “shampoo-less” a.k.a no poo? Well, since the air in Cairo is nothing but a poison. Apart from trying to build a mini garden and eating healthier, I also questioned what else was I doing that could harm my body? Using conventional house products was one of those things that I’ve completely eliminated from my cleaning routine. Instead, I use apple cider vinegar for everything related to cleaning and more.

On a rare moment where I watch t.v, one of those dr. shows was on and a guest had explained how she had not washed her hair with shampoo for 5 or more years. At first, everyone in the audience were frazzled by this concept. However, as she explained how much we are exposed to chemicals on our daily life and how shampoo strips our natural oils and that not too long ago we were not using shampoo, all of this starter making sense.

Immediately after having watched the show, I started making my own research for alternatives to using shampoo and came across the “no poo” terminology. I found a lot of alternatives that were just overwhelming and would take a lot of organization to go on the “no poo” journey. The simplest alternative to shampoo was by washing my hair with banking soda and apple cider vinegar. It didn’t require any work since I already have those products, so all I had to do is just start. I said goodbye to my store shampoo and conditioners and nevertheless saw great results. For moisturizer, I always use a fusion of almond, castor and coconut oil on my hair but this time I try to cut it down to allow my scalp to product the natural oils.

For a couple of weeks everything was dandy but afterwards, I’ve noticed that my hair was breaking and my ends where very dry. One of my daughter who has similar hair to mine was having the same issue. Although our hair looked better than when we were using regular shampoo and conditioner, the dryness and breakage was driving me crazy. I once again jumped online and made more research on the “no poo” journey and came to find out that baking powder has a very high PH level that our hair is not able to handle, therefore experiencing breakage and dryness is very normal.

I came across another alternative to shampoo that required blending canned coconut milk and aloe vera and rinsing the hair with diluted apple cider vinegar. This combination is so refreshing to the scalp and even skin, definitely living your body moist and soft. There was a lot of this mixture left behind so I just froze the rest in ice cubicle batches. However, this method left my hair feeling waxy on my scalp and oily. Although I loved the moist and how soft it makes my skin and hair feel, it was as though I had too much oil in my hair.

After not using banking soda on my hair for about a month, I had go back to this method to wash all the build up oils but this time I used a little less baking soda than usual. The outcome had my hair feeling lighter, airy and brought my natural color back to life. I also had found out through my research that the type of water you wash your hair with can have also an impact on the health of your hair. Water alone is sufficient to wash away the dirt in the hair but it all depends whether or not you living in a region that has hard or soft water. Hard water has a lot of harmful chemicals and minerals that also strip away the natural oils of the hair. Unfortunately, Cairo falls under the hard water category but there are some things you can do to repair the damage that hard water creates.

One step you can take is buying a filter for the shower but if that is expensive one can use rain water by putting a clean bucket outside until filled. If you live in the desert and almost no rain all year round and don’t have a filter than making a hair mask once in a while can be very helpful. You can use either the coconut milk/aloe water mixture or mask that I find helpful to remove dandruff and dryness is using olive oil with turmeric spices and leave in the hair and/or skin for 30-1 hr.

In conclusion, my hair is still not the way I want it to look and feel like with all of my experience with the “no poo” method. I am quite positive that the water in Cairo is not doing any good towards my hair either which is something I have to live with or invest in a shower filter. In the mean time, I realized that not all shampoo alternatives work for everyone. The “no poo” journey is a definitely a trial and error but patients is required and I have hope I will come across either an already all natural shampoo or a recipe alternatives. Although, my hair in the mean time is no where perfect or how I want it to be, I can tell it is definitely healthier because I no longer have dandruff and my natural color is slowly appearing. Also, this step I took towards eliminating conventional shampoos got me thinking of other healthy steps I can take next. Food is definitely one of the biggest challenges but I am eager to master healthy eating habits and share it with you all.