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Back To School, Back To School

Posted Sep 03 2011 10:37am


Thanks to everyone yesterday who left me mollifying words about Orgo. To those of you who said that I might find it easier than Gen Chem: you made my day. It may not prove to be true, but just knowing that some learners find Gen Chem harder is comforting, because I really struggled with Gen Chem. So we’ll see: I can handle superhuman amounts of work, and I’ve got nothing but diligence. I just can’t handle buffers problems.

Speaking of Gen Chem, on the day after my final this past August, I met up with my good friend Kathy for another installment of the Kathy Gena Show ! We had so much fun filming our first segment: if you missed it, check it out here . We’re trying to keep them seasonal, so for episode two, we moved from summer entertaining to everyone’s favorite September theme: back to school.

Starting life as a student again threw me a lot of curveballs: adjusting to a new set of disciplines, settling into the strange sensation of no longer being the youngest kid on the block, re-learning good study habits, and realizing that in the seven years since I graduated college, no one uses AIM anymore. One of the challenges that was most distinct was learning how to pack food and make food for long days of class, when I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to be near my kitchen.

Fortunately, I’m a foodie, so this was the least of my challenges. I quickly came up with lists of tried and true foods—snacks and lunches and sometimes dinners—to get me through the semester. They include:

Not everything is this creative, of course. Some days I live on snack bars and PB+J like a normal back-to-college kid. But I do try to keep things innovative and nutrient dense.

When Kathy suggested a back to school edition of the K + G Show, I knew she’d have kid-friendly recipes down pat—she’s built her career on making little ones savor their veggies! I also knew I’d have a few tricks of the trade to contribute for the K-12 set, but that my main strength would be sharing a tip or two for grown up students (like yours truly). To wit, in episode 1, you’ll see that I share my technique and logic for building a delicious grain salad—quick, packable, and filling. Meanwhile, Kathy has some amazing tips on putting together the healthiest and tastiest kid’s lunchbox, ever!

In episode 2, I share quick tips for snack-packing, and then I make my famous banana sushi . These are GREAT portable breakfasts for the grown up raw food lover or for the special kid in your life. Since most kids are likely to squirm at the sight of a collard or romaine or Boston lettuce leaf (my go-to options), go ahead and use my instructions for making this recipe with a whole wheat wrap in place of greens. Either way, it’s a perfectly packable breakfast option!

And I’m lucky to have Kathy’s valuable feedback as I go along:


Also mentioned in the video are my fantastic sunflower oat bars. Willie made them recently and wrote a whole dedicated post to celebrate them. Check out his review here !

Need a recipe reminder? The banana sushi are a simple how-to, found here . And below is the recipe for the bars:


Five Minute, No-Bake Sunflower Seed and Oat Bars (Vegan, semi-raw, can be soy or gluten free)

Makes 10-12 bars

2 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats (substitute gluten free oats if needed)
1 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup carob chips (or cacao nibs)
2/3 cup nut or seed butter of choice
1/2 – 2/3 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup (adjust based on how well things stick together)

1) Mix oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, and carob chips in a large bowl.

2) Whisk together nut butter and agave. Pour into oat mixture, and mix well, till everything is sticky and combined. If it’s too dry, add a bit more agave.

3) Press mixture into a shallow baking dish that you’ve lined with foil or saran wrap. Cover with more foil/saran, press well into the baking dish, and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refridgerated till ready to use. They ought to last two weeks at least.


4) After mixing wet ingredients with dry, crumble mixture into bite sized pieces and bake at 375 degrees for about forty minutes, or until crispy and brown.


5) Follow step 4 until you get to baking, and dehydrate for 10 hours at 115 degrees instead for a more-raw option.

Enjoy! And if you want another idea, check out the no-bake PB bars that Kathy just posted on!

May all of my student readers, mothers, fathers, and friends of students have a happy, healthy, and nutritious fall semester.

So guess what? I’m on in NYC. Again. I’ve got a fabulous wedding to attend this weekend, and the good news for you all is that the food promises to be top-of-the-line: I’ve already had some really promising email exchanges with the wedding planner. Stay tuned for the recap!


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