Let’s talk dates for a moment here.
First thing first: dates. Yes, I’m talking about the edible kind–although the strange, single-as-a-one-digit-number part of me is convinced that dating would be a lot more interesting if my dates really were edible. As in, “Have you met my date, Mister Hot Chocolate? Word on the street is that he can get pretty steamy.“
Chances are, you have stumbled across copycat larabar recipes before now. I’m not introducing you to them because they’re new. I’m introducing you to them because they are awesome, and if you are like Me One Month Ago–sitting on your butt ogling at these larabar pictures but also totally doubting the sanity of my taste buds, because how in holy heck could anything with three ingredients actually taste awesome–this is why I’m introducing you to them. Because if you are reading this post and not making these bars pronto, you need to be converted. NOW.
It’s a running joke among all my friends that I am the most horrendous baker/blogger in existence–75 chocolate chip cookies later, and I’ve eaten what: one cookie? Half of one cookie? Who does that? In my field (that’s English grad school, for those of you who are new to WG) and in my defense, you don’t get by without self-discipline. And I am pretty much a discipline Beast when I want to be, so unless I am on a total emotional spree that afternoon, whatever comes out of my kitchen usually escapes unscathed. (Note: This does not account for the generous portions of batter, ‘crumbs,’ or last-spoonfuls-of-nut-butter-in-a-jar that fill my tummy during each baking session. This is why I totally prefer to bake alone: I’ll pass on the spoon-licking judgment!)
Not so here. Oho, SO not so!
In the short month since I have ‘discovered’ dates–yes, since I picked up my very first dateful box from the store in February–I have gone through SIX batches of this recipe by myself. SIX. Need I tell you it’s love? These bars are so nutty, flavor-packed without added sugar, simple (three ingredients, two minutes!), and perfectly salty-sweet like a giant peanut butter cookie. I generally avoid pubs since I don’t drink, but if I had any dates-at-pubs experience, I would still have to say that these are probably the best dates I have ever (or never) met in a bar.
Hoho. See what I did there? Punny, right?
I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about other date stuff with a lot of text, so if you feel like skipping to the bottom of this post and printing/sharing/Pinning the recipe right now, I won’t be offended. Pinkies!
This brings me to that second thing I was talking about: dating. Random (and randomly personal) as this topic is, I’ve always wanted to write a post about it, and I thought this entry would be the perfect opportunity because a) it’s pun-derful (hooray for dates!), and b) because as I was writing my epic “100 Things I Want to Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree” list last week, I realized that it’s been a really long time since I’ve been on a really fun date. I mean, I’ve been on dates. Maybe not much since I started studying for exams, and maybe typing out the sentence “I’ve been on dates” on my public food blog has just confirmed for an entire segment of the happy internet world that I have never really been on a date in my life…but I have.
I swear. Okay, I’ll stop.
Well, now that I’m officially done with exams and have regained some semblance of a social life, “go on a fun date” finally made it back onto my list as Item #18 of things to do! I was so excited…..for all of about 0.839273 seconds. And then I remembered why it’s been such a long time since I’ve ‘gone on a fun date.’
Because here’s the thing: probably like a handful of you out there, I am just really, really terrible at dating. I mean, I’m not the food-dropping, frumpy-hair type of date you’d be embarrassed to bring to a fancy restaurant (usually). But 95% of the time I am ‘on a date,’ I am apparently and blissfully unaware of the fact until waaaay afterwards. Which has, as you can probably imagine, its drawbacks and stuff. And I’m sure I’m not the only one, right?
Have you ever been told after a fun dinner with someone you swear was just a friend five minutes ago that they had a really–stress really–good time tonight? Wink wink nudge nudge elbows? If so, how did/do you respond? I will be completely honest: I am so, so awkward about these moments when they happen, and while I know it’s something everyone experiences at some point or another, somebody out there needs to write a new dating language. And it’s not me. I enjoy being chipper and making sure other people have a good time, all the time. At the end of one ‘date’ about a year ago now, I remembering being completely floored when Dude a) told me that he was usually pretty good at ‘reading’ girls but couldn’t quite tell with me, and b) asked me how I felt about us now that we were maybe dating. As gorgeous and nice as he was, I could only stare at him and wonder if I could get one of those old-school VHS tape rewinder thingies, because what?
This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in dating, and this certainly doesn’t mean I like whoever I happen to be with any less, because that would be silly. But as unfair as this sounds–because I’m not saying it’s easy for others to read my intentions, either–I’d really just like to go on dates that I’m, you know, aware that I’m going on. ‘Friendly’ is a good word for defining my personality in general, and since college/grad school, my friends have picked a nickname for me whenever we discuss our social lives: The Friendzoner.
Of course, I felt much better about the name after I read this comic about friend-zoning that just about sums up my view of dating priorities. It’s funny how, knowing me as a complete extrovert, people often expect me to meet a bunch of new people and instantly be interested in them. Not how it works, folks. Extrovertedness does not = Instant RomCom! I am not a Disney princess, yo. The last time I went on a date that I think I knew I was going on was probably two years ago or something, and I had a blast just roaming the streets of downtown. At the same time, simply waiting around and having a blast with my friends in between dating cycles is virtually a non-issue for me, too. And while I will admit that hitting the Publish button on this post feels weird, because it’s not meant to be a deterrent or anything for anyone’s future dating prospects, I am totally in love with my prerogative to shout to the world, “Hey y’all, still having a ball in here!”
Anyway, I hope that by writing this post out with no real agenda, some of you will be willing to share some of your own thoughts or funny stories on awkward dating experiences, no? This is a post I’ve always wanted to write just because #MYBLOG, and I’m still super stoked to get this 100 Things to Do List kicked into gear! Until then, I’m settling down with some more dates with my favorite dates to date, a cup of hot tea, and
a cozy book on game theory in linguistics of nonsense literature plenty of “Let It Go” covers on repeat tonight.
Don’t forget to share the love!
Dates–any thoughts, folks?
PS–pstttt, Wallflour Girl just hit the 100,000 views mark this week–thank you, readers!!
Peanut Butter ‘Cookie’ Lovers’ Larabars
If you’ve always dreamed of a perfect date that doesn’t require you to change out of your tacky leopard-print purple pajamas, these simple date–the fruit, that is–based larabars are your match made in heaven! With three simple ingredients, 2 minutes of prep time, and virtually endless possibilities, these bars are a favorite in the household (of one) and a heavenly snack, whether you’re at home jamming in those jammies or on the go for a long run.
For the super-easy directions to this recipe, skip to the very bottom of this recipe box. Two steps. I’m serious.
- 25 pitted dates, any variety (I used pitted deglet noor dates)
- 1 cup almonds (or your preferred nut)
- 1/4 cup peanut (or your preferred nut) butter
- Other mix-ins (see notes below)
Directions Version 1 (Skip below for Super-Easy Directions Version below):
- Throw it all in a food processor. In the words of the famous meme, “ALL THE THINGS!!!!”
- Select your favorite finger on your favorite hand.
- Using the finger you selected in Step 2, press the ‘chop’ or ‘grind’ button on your processor at 30-second intervals until the dough comes together and sticks when squeezed lightly. If your selected finger gets tired while pressing the processor button, try switching to another finger.
- Pour the dough out onto a square of aluminum foil and smush the slightly sticky dough until it achieves your desired thickness and dimensions. Really, go wild.
- Chill in your fridge for 2 hours before cutting into clean rectangles or squares.* Keep leftovers stored in foil in the fridge.
* As the author of this recipe, I am going to totally disregard my own advice and tell you that these larabars taste amazing as they are–a bit crumbly, a bit warm, and a bit sticky–right after you make them and before you stick ‘em in the fridge.
Super-Easy Directions Version:
- Throw everything in the food processor and pulse until dough comes together.
- Pour dough into aluminum foil, smushing dough until it forms a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Chill in fridge until ready to cut into bars.
**Note: This recipe is SO forgiving–WAY more forgiving than your mom or your ex or your last roommate. For fun twists, try the following substitutes:
- Dates: raisins, any dried fruit
- Almonds: any nut
- Peanut Butter: any nut butter
- Other add-ins (add to food processor): seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), oats, cinnamon
- Other add-ins (stir into dough by hand): chocolate chips, white chocolate