honey coconut date bars

It's weird to think back on how my life has changed so much in the last two and a half years since moving to Africa. Words can hardly even convey what I want to say, but let's just say I'll be going back a completely different person. 

It seems like just yesterday my school day lasted until about eleven, we would go to swim class with all our homeschool muchachos, and go to Wendy's for chicken burgers and Frosty's afterward. I remember hanging out with my friends before youth group every weekend and talking about how hard it would be for me to move half way across the world. Since then, I've realized what true friendships are. I've lost so many and gained many more. 

It definitely does not seem like I've been away from the life, family, friends, and surroundings I've ever known for two and a half years. These last years have been a complete roller coaster ride. There were months of absolute highs and "OHMYGOSHIFREAKINGLOVEMYLIFE." and there were many months of lows where I was so depressed I could hardly motivate myself to do anything but stuff my face hole with chocolate. But I've learned so much, mostly about myself, and have emerged from it all a completely strong and totally changed person. 

As our time in Africa is winding down to a close, I'm trying to prepare myself for the months that so unclearly lie ahead. Although I don't have too many people or relationships to detach from, it's hard for me to remember a life outside of this with a much faster pace. I've become so accustomed to down time and I've learned to secretly love it. How will I go back to having school, extra classes, running track, church and youth group, friends, and finding time for peace and BAKING? 

I'm also trying to prepare myself for the people situation. Like I mentioned, since coming here, it's been really hard to keep up relationships with people 9,000 miles across the globe. I know that when I go back, the whole dynamic of my friend group will have changed and I most likely won't go back to relationships I had when we left. 

For so many months, I wanted nothing more than to leave. I had fallen into a habit of looking to the next thing instead of soaking up the present. 

And although I still look forward to going home, hugging my G'ma, squeezing all the juices out of my gorgeous best friend, ordering a Starbucks latte, kissing my sweet puppy and breathing in her many aromas, and shopping at actual shopping malls with actual stores and actual quality clothing, I know there are many things I'll miss here. The gorgeous sunsets on my runs every evening. The stars glowing up in the sky, untainted from man-made anything. The cute kids with such gorgeous colored skin, flashing their big white smiles. It was here that I fell in love with health and wellness and discovered the path I wanted to travel with my life. Good things always come from seemingly depressing situations; no matter how deep you fall, you'll come out so much higher than you ever were before. 

Anyways, I really do nawwwwwwwt know how to transition from all that to all this. But if you could taste rainbows and puffy hearts, they would be these bars. 

honey coconut date bars {vegan}

1 c. roughly chopped dates
2/3 c. finely shredded coconut
1 c. oats, divided
2/3 c. wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. softened coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. honey
4 tbsp. nondairy milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 4x9 in. pan with parchment paper. Place chopped dates in a mug or bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 5-10 minutes. Drain and mash with a fork until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, coconut, cinnamon, and 3/4 c. oats. Add coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and milk. Mix until combined. Press 3/4 of the mixture into prepared pan and spread dates in an even layer. Add the rest of the oats to the remaining dough and crumble on top of date layer. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before slicing into squares. Yields about 12 bars. 

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  1. I love this post and feel very similarly after living in Mexico for the last 9 months. I'll be headed home at the end of the month, and although I haven't been here for 2 and a half years, the style of life is much slower (which is sometimes frustrating, but also really nice and a great life lesson). When I studied abroad here only for three and a half months it was a transition to go home and I'm sure the same will happen again. Can't wait to hear about your future adventures!

  2. This looks so good! Dates are such an amazing versatile food. Will have to try this recipe out soon. Thanks for posting :)

  3. This post is awesome!! I just want to say that I am a high school student, trackie, baker, and blogger (even though I a newbie!). It is hard to manage everything, but it is TOTALLY doable. And you'll find time for everything. Good luck with your journey!!! And enjoy it!

  4. 3 Studies REVEAL Why Coconut Oil Kills Waist Fat.

    This means that you literally kill fat by consuming coconut fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from major medical magazines are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world upside down!


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