“Being at Quest is just like making a smoothie. There are all these different academic disciplines, activities, and social experiences condensed down in your brain. Not everyone’s smoothie is good–too much of a single component can make it too bitter or too sweet. It’s striking the right balance that really makes a smoothie tasty but healthy as well.”
-Annika Smith, 2nd Year
One of my roommates offered this piece of insight as I sat on the porch of the cafeteria drinking a smoothie I had just made. This idea got me thinking about the importance of food on a university campus. Sure, we are here for the knowledge, not the food, but the food we eat has such a large impact on the way we live. It seems rare to go a single day without hearing a complaint about the lack of food options available to us. I’m guilty of quite a few of these complaints myself. After spending almost my entire first year at Quest eating the same meals every day, however, I realized that I just wasn’t thinking creatively. Black Katz offers plethora of foods that can be combined to create a whole new world of culinary excitement. In this column, I will provide you with some of my favorite combinations. I call them “Caf Creations.”
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites
This recipe is a great substitute for store-bought granola bars. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bites are the perfect accompaniments to any outdoor adventure. They also work great as a casual afternoon snack. And here’s the best part: all the ingredients you need to prepare them are sold in the caf.
1 container of oatmeal (I prefer Black Tusk, but the variety is up to you)
Splash of almond milk from the coffee station
5 pumps of agave (or to taste)
1 individual portion box of rice crispy cereal
2 large handfuls of a nut of your choice (I have used both peanuts and almonds)
4 peanut butter packets from checkout counter
1 Awake chocolate bar
1 wax pastry bag
- Pick a container of the oatmeal of your choosing. Take container to the coffee station and add a generous splash of almond milk– just enough to mix the oatmeal into a doughy base. Add 5 pumps of agave for sweetness, also located at the coffee station. Choose a variety of nuts from the store area, located along the back wall. Proceed to checkout, picking up an Awake chocolate bar. Make sure to ask for 4 peanut butter packets and grab a wax paper pastry bag before exiting.
- Break the Awake bar into small pieces and incorporate all ingredients into the oatmeal container, using your hands to mix thoroughly.
Tip: The salad bowls are useful for mixing if space becomes an issue.
- Once mixed, rip open the pastry bag to create a flat wax paper surface. Press mixture down firmly on the wax paper, creating a large, flat rectangle.
Optional: Drizzle chocolate on top for an added treat.
- Place in a communal kitchen freezer for at least 4 hours. For best results, leave overnight, however 4 hours is sufficient for achieving the shape of your bites (I get it, patience can be tough).
- Remove mix from freezer and cut into rectangles of the size of your choice (the real beauty of making your own bars).
- Plastic wrap each bar individually and store in the fridge until your next adventure!
Coming Next: Hearty Peanut Veggie Bowl
Do you have a suggestion for a Caf Creation? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.