(Since I originally began writing this post, there have actually been a few “updates” to my original situation: Israel has assassinated the Hamas military chief in an airstrike. Hamas now claims that Israel has “opened the gates of Hell” and has killed at least three Israelis with rocket fire. “Wider war looms.” Great. Juuuust great.
At least my Chickpea Chocolate Bars are portable...
|protect me, sweet vessels of chocolate and nutrition
I made the mistake last night of telling my dad the location of my next Wwoofing farm… In a nutshell, he replied, “Um, aren’t you aware that missiles from the Gaza Strip were fired about 10 miles northwest of the very area to which you’re going a mere TWO days ago, injuring 3 very innocent farm workers on one very innocent farm…an innocent farm like the one you’re headed to?”
Looks like I'm not going.
I don’t think I’ll get used to this whole “always a country at war” thing. I don’t really want to get used to it.
I’ve never had to deal with such serious issues getting in the way of my travel plans. Usually I’m the type to say, “Eh, it’s nothing I wouldn’t see in downtown Atlanta,” but in this case, I’ll begrudgingly admit that 72 rockets and mortars launched at my current country of residence is, in fact, a bit more serious than a night in Buckhead.
The reason that I had paid no attention to this before speaking with my dad is that I was simply following the example of Israelis—they are so accustomed to this state of affairs that they seem to hear the news with a mere shake of the head, a sigh, and then life goes on as usual.
|Viewed from afar, missiles and mortar shells look surprisingly like dates.
Bad joke, much?
But living here in Israel, I do feel proud of America (cue patriotic music here). I realize that Israel is a beautiful country with especially beautiful people, but it is caught within a vicious cycle of seemingly-endless war with its neighbors. It is geographical tug-of-war, and I can only hope that the religious extremists don’t win.
I am proud because the powers-that-be enabled me to grow up protected, exposed to many other cultures, and with an unquestionable feeling of safety in my life. I know that all American kids aren’t lucky enough to experience this, and I know that the ways in which America gains this power and strength to protect its citizens are sometimes questionable.
But at this moment when I can’t travel a mere three hours to go work on a peaceful organic olive orchard, I feel proud of America, and I miss my home.
So what do I do when my plans are thwarted and my spirits low (another day in Eilat…)?
I cook, of course.
|take the pain away
But now that I'm stuck in Eilat for a few more days, the time has come for my darling chickpeas.
Hummus and roasted beans were out. Since I’d let these little guys sit around lonesomely in the fridge for the past 2-3 days, I wanted something that would last a while once prepared
And thus was born my Israel-Inspired Oat & Chickpea Chocolate Squares.
It was simple enough: I just kind of started throwing healthy and desserty ingredients in a bowl, flattened out and baked it, then topped everything with chocolate.
|you + me = peace in Israel
Oat & Chickpea Chocolate Squares [vegan + GF]
|Baked chickpea-oateyness...DON'T use an oval dish like I did. I am sad to say that it's the only
baking dish I had on hand, and it did not make things easy.
Chop dates into tiny pieces and mash chickpeas by hand or with a blender/food processor. Then throw everything else except for the chocolate into the food processor and pulse just enough to blend. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the baking pan, and cook for about 15-25 minutes, or until sides start to brown.
Remove, let cool completely so that it won’t break up later. Once cool, remove from the pan and set yourself up for drizzling chocolate over the top.
Gently melt chocolate using double-boiler method, then spread over the baked chickpeas and oats. If a full layer of topping scares you, feel free to just drizzle drizzlies on top.
Allow chocolate to cool and harden, then try not to trick yourself into thinking that they’re so healthy you can eat half before going to bed.
|Make healthy-things-with-chocolate, not war.
The Savings: Chickpeas and oats cost next to nothing, which makes these bars even more enjoyable. It's fun to use a cheap food that's usually only considered for one dish (hummus) in a new, so you get to perk up your tastebuds and impress friends at a very low cost. Furthermore, it's packed with vitamins and minerals, and because of all the protein, you'll feel more full, faster. A little goes a long way with these guys, financially and nutritionally.
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