The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness- John Muir
Over a hundred years ago my bohemian Great Grandmother was asked whose church she belonged to. Family legend states that she turned to look the person asking and responded, "I go to the church of Mr. Woods and Mr. Beach" then firmly walked away. No matter what religious affiliation you subscribe to, if any, you have to admit that Great Granny was onto something.
Nature can be a religious experience. It can be the source of your inspiration, the sanctuary you use to recoup, or the place you find meaning in a chaotic and confusing world. Here we are on what is the 47th Earth day, but in reality it is just another day we should be honouring and celebrating our beautiful home, the Earth
To celebrate Earth Day, my wonderful blogging buddies and I have decided to share personal stories about nature, especially about our relationship to America's National Parks, all of which are currently threatened with ideas of dismantlement and private sale. Public lands were created as a way to make jobs and preserve the nation's history, whether it be pre or post European contact. National Parks allow everyone, regardless of social standing, a small piece in the vastness of the country. Every citizen has access to a slice of waterfront property, a section of the unbridled prairie, or a corner the sweeping vastness of the desert. They act as the one true equalizer in society, guaranteeing everyone access to the same piece of heaven, offering everyone the same treatment, and in doing so unites them as a community.
I remember the first time I traveled to America. I was twelve and my family was on an 'Americana' tour. We drove from Canada through the Bison strewn fields of Waterton Park (Alberta) into the adjoining Glacier National Park (Montana). We walked through the eerie yet lush prairie where the Battle of the Greasy Grass (The Battle of Little Bighorn) took place just a mere 125 years prior, just four years before my Great Granny was born. We learned about Custar, the Lakota, the Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho. We drove through the Badlands of South Dakota and were the only people at Mount Rushmore to bask in the President's rain-soaked faces. We laughed at the prairie dogs at America's first National Monument, Devils Tower, where my sister got certified as junior ranger (something she still cherishes). We saw the majesty of the Redwood Forest, nature's own wooden cathedral reaching its limbs to the stars. We visited the Old Man in Crater Lake, made boob jokes about The Grand Tetons, and where in awe of the pure magnificence that is Yellowstone.
Years later Adam and I would travel to Hawaii and visit Volcano National Park. I would stand with him on the the land where my (supposed) ancestor, Captain Cook, deceived Adam's Polynesian forefathers 246 year earlier. I would feel the connection to the land and the people and the eons of civilization that existed there before me. Without these parks and monuments my childhood imagination would not have been ignited to learn about Sitting Bull, Lewis and Clark, lava vents, or Native America constellation legends. I would never know what it felt like to see Bison roaming free on the land they inhabited for thousands of years before Europeans drove them to extinction; to touch a tree that was a mere sapling at the time humankind discovered bronze; or to see first hand so many of the endangered species which call national parks their home.
This weekend we plan on heading out of the city to take in some fresh air and scenery. We hope to find some peace and calm and to reconnect with ourselves and our home. Like any good outdoor adventure we'll be sure to bring along plenty of snacks to munch on along the way. These trail bars are the perfect thing to pack. They are loaded with dried fruit and nuts, have plenty of fibre, and are easy to package in reusable containers like these beeswax wraps. While the recipe calls for walnuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and raisins, any nuts and seed combo would be a perfect match.
Enjoy your weekend, your home, and these posts from my friends
- Tending the Table - Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest
- Adventures in Cooking- Olympic National Park
- The Bojon Gourmet - Hibiscus Berry Smoothie Bowls
- The Year in Food - A Church in the Wild
- The Modern Proper - Trail Mix Pancakes
- Fairing Well - Death valley National Park
- Will Frolic for Food - Glacier National Park
- Kale and Caramel
- Alison Wu - Joshua Tree
- Healthy Nibbles and Bites - Leek & Kohlrabi Fritters + Pinnacles National Park
- Husbands that Cook - Point Mugu State Park
- Brooklyn Supper -Shenandoah National Park
- Vanilla and Bean -Lemon Tahini Cashew Granola + Ebey's Landing National Historical Preserve
- East Your Beets - Cheney State Park
- The Broken Bread - Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
- Fresh Off the Grid - Weekend Escape: Planning an Impromptu Camping Trip
WEEKEND LINKS + LOVES
- Overplayed but always loved, this classic quote from Carl Sagan says it all and always makes me misty eyed.
- I have and will always be a documentary nerd. This Ken Burns documentary on America's National Parks washes me in waves of sadness, nostalgia, hope, and invigoration. Totally worth streaming if you too are a history dork.
- Speaking of documentaries, one of my favourites is Into the Wild which I think deserves a watch every couple of years.
- If you are Canadian, or planning on visiting, all National Parks, Marine Conservation Areas, and Historical Sites are free this year, so check one out!
- After 25 years, the world's longest recreational trail is nearly complete. Who wants to go on a bike ride!!!?
- Simple homemade cleaners, because so many of the products labeled green are in fact pretty terrible for you and the environment.
- Turning a city into a National Park is a fascinating idea.
- A art project that takes a disturbing look into the future of National Parks if Climate Change goes unchecked.
- The US congress has been toying with the idea of selling off up to 640 million acres of national land but through this website you can keep up to date with the latests resistance.
- One of the most important R's, reuse (okay, they're all important)! I love the idea of dyeing old cloths with flowers to make a fresh new piece. You can also do this with your compost (like onion skins and purple cabbage)
- Finally, the People's Climate March is happening this month.Check your city for local details.
HAPPY TRAIL BARS
Makes 8-12 Bars. Print it Here
1 ½ Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
1 ½ Cups Rolled Oats
½ Cup Toasted Coconut
½ Cup Toasted Walnuts, Chopped
½ Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
¼ Cup tablespoon Hemp Hearts
¼ Cup Raisins
¼ Goji Berries
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Ground Flax Seeds
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Rice Syrup
½ Cup plus 2 tablespoon Nut Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
½ Cup Melted Chocolate
Hemp hearts, Cacao Nibs, Bee Pollen, Goji Berries, or Calendula for garnish
- In a large bowl toss together the rice cereal, oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, salt, flax, and cinnamon.
- Next line a 8 inch square pan with parchment and set aside.
- In a pot combine the brown rice syrup (greasing the measuring cup first helps), nut butter, and oil. Heat over low just until it becomes runny (try not to let it boil at all). Take the syrup off the heat and add the vanilla.
- Moving quickly, add the syrup to the dry mix and stir to combine. After its all mixed together, scoop it into the prepared pan and using greased hands press down firmly to make a nice flat surface.
- Set the bars in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to firm up.
- Next, heat the chocolate over a water bath and get any toppings you'd like ready.
- Slice the bars in either 12 smallish bars or 8 mega bars and drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with toppings. Let the chocolate fully set before packing the bars in an airtight container (no need to refrigerate).
These are delish! I've made them several times now. Kiddos love them and the mix-ins are endlessly variable. I get 24 bars from this recipe, not 12, so your servings must be very filling!!
Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
Emily| Gather & Dine says
I am sitting here drooling over all of these posts, Sophie! I am always up for trying a new snack bar recipe and these look like they are packed with so much good stuff. Your trip exploring America as a child sounded magical. There is indeed so much beauty in this world to be enjoyed.
I couldn't get mine to set. The only thing I did differently was substitute molasses for brown rice syrup. Do you think that may have been the deal breaker?
It might have been, Amy. The brown rice syrup is super-duper sticky and kind of gives these a rice crispy treat consistency. I hope it tasted okay, nevertheless. You might want to stir in some more nut butter and see if you can roll them into energy bites. Best of luck <3
Thanks, Sophie! I will use brown rice syrup next time. I did add more molasses and sunflower butter and they ended up setting enough, just crumbly. Nonetheless, my family came into town right after I made these and they gobbled the entire batch up over the sink to catch the crumbs. They loved them! Thank you for posting the recipe.
These look amazing! I've been obsessed with having bars like these on hand lately. Especially if you store them in the freezer - they last longer and are like a frozen treat? Must try these! xox
Oh, I'm so thrilled you are bar obsessed too, Julia. They are a favourite around here for sure. I hope you enjoy these ones as much as we do:)
Oh your words (and photos).. They are SO beautiful.
Having visited Vancouver (and the area), I know how beautiful it is. I am so glad that the blogger community is raising their voice on the subject.
These bars look so SO good. I am pinning to try sometime next week.
Oh, I am so trilled to hear you liked the post, Aysegul. It is truly special when we can come together over causes we all agree on <3 xox
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Thank you for sharing your heart, Sophie. So much here and so much love. Thank you for sharing both your story and these scrumptious bars. <3
Thank you so much, Traci! What a brilliant group of people to be included with 🙂
Ruby & Cake says
Your great grandma was onto something for sure. Stunning photos, beautiful words and such a cool idea.
Ah, I'm so happy you enjoyed the post, Ruby! It was truly a delight to be included with such a wonderful array of people. xox
Marta | NATURALMENTE BUONO says
Girl, I love your photos (and words!) so much! These bars looks heavenly, can't wait to make them soon. Since I've got a huge pack of puffed amaranth I'm thinking about using them instead of puffed rice, but, a part from this, not going to change a single ingredient!
Oh, Marta! Thanks a million! I think amaranth would be a great addition. I am totally going to try adding some puffed quinoa next time I make these (which will probably be soon becuase we already ate them all 🙂
Jessie Snyder says
I would adventure just to eat these bars, girl!
lol! I love it! Happy (almost) camping season!!! xox
Loving the words of your great grandma! The recipe looks great, too! Thank you.
Awe, thanks Elsie! She was a wise woman for sure <3
Our words (and these bars!) are beautiful. I love this testament to our Earth <3 thanks for sharing
And by "our" words, of course I mean your words. -__-
I'm so happy you enjoyed the post, Natalie! Happy Earth Day to you <3
Thanks so much for joining us today. These bars look amazing and your words couldn't be more heartfelt and true. Thank you!
Thanks for including me on such a awesome project, Sasha! I can't wait to head south and explore some of the
gorgeous parks that were shared. xox
Yes yes yes! Celebrate mamma earth and all she has to offer. BIG BIG love for this one, Sophie - these bars look like the ultimate adventure fuel. Love this initiative by all these lovely bloggers, food and the earth are so connected in every way. Gosh this makes me want to get outside! Happy Earth Day (today and everyday). x
Ah, thank you Jodi!! Happy earth day to you too! I hope you get to head out and hit the trails soon! xox