there’s something about taking handfuls of this & that and ending up with a delicious & healthy snack. when you just look at some golden raisins or rice puffs, there’s not much there. but all it takes is a little patience and ingenuity, and somehow you’ve got something totally different and totally magical.

lately, i’ve been feeling pretty lackluster. apparently there’s a reason they came up with the phrase “sophomore slump.” after surviving the first year of college, i found myself feeling empowered, setting a lot of goals, and pretty much convinced that i was invincible.
of course i could balance classes, dance, sleeping a lot, ministry, being an activist, keeping in touch with the people who make me feel at home, preparing for traveling a lot in the next year, having a social life, my own spiritual formation, leading first year small group, street child project, my job(s), and baking.

turns out though, that my name’s not chandler. “i can handle it - handle is my middle name. actually, it’s the middle of my first name.” so here i am, feeling like all i’ve got are a thousand wishes but nothing to show for them. and you know, it’s understandable that i can’t always deliver to my expectations. but what about God? where was He when i was going to sleep feeling exhausted and waking up paralyzed with both fear and an unwillingness to face the day? what happens when you believe in a God who is good, loving, kind, patient, glorious, powerful, and most of all, full of grace and redemption… but you suddenly can’t see Him in your life anymore? apparently you’re left feeling pretty hopeless.

being the conflict-avoider that i can tend to be, my answer to my all of this was to… make granola. it seemed like a pretty good idea! at least in the kitchen, i know what i’m doing. i needed to make a snack for a group gathering, anyways. every sunday evening, my room is host to a spiritual discipline small group. for the past couple weeks, i’ve felt like the only thing i had to offer to the group was my baking. hence the granola-fest. here’s how it went down:

start by gathering different grains, seeds, dried fruits, nuts that you love. i used:

gluten free oats (you could of course use normal oats, but then obviously your granola won’t be gluten free)
pumpkin seeds
(i had a ton left over from other baking adventures. keep an eye out for my pumpkin butter & pumpkin thumbprint cookies to come!)
brown rice puffs (these were great because they are gluten free, but add crispy texture)
golden raisins (why are these infinitely better than their non-golden counterparts???)
dried cherries (my dear mom sent me a care package with my favorite tart dried bing cherries!)
hazelnuts (there’s no need to explain this. they just rule.)

excluding the fruits, all these ingredients should be placed on a lightly buttered baking sheet and toasted in the oven at 350 for about fifteen minutes. in the meantime, simmer together a wet mixture of 1/2 cup brown sugar, 4 tablespoons margarine, a couple drops of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of salt, a lot of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of honey or agave nectar. bring to a strong boil for a minute, then reduce the heat.

then combine the toasted oats/grains with the dried fruits and pour in the wet mixture. stir vigorously until well coated and combined. now all that’s left to do is create little bars/mounds of granola on a baking sheet and bake for five minutes, remove from the oven, and let it cool until hardened. i like to keep my granola bars in the fridge, so that i can easily grab one for breakfast! great with my pumpkin butter :)

at the end of it all, the granola didn’t change my life or grant me my wishes. you know what all this made me realize, though? i’ve always known about the magic of baking. you can call it chemistry, the combining of basic ingredients to create souffl├ęs or pastries, but to me, the process is the miracle. how had i forgotten that? the process is the miracle.

when i simply focus on the fact that i still feel like a boring list of ingredients like flour and baking soda, instead of something amazing like a chocolate mousse… i forget that the process is the miracle. it’s the journey, yknow? everyday, i’m being made into something new, thanks to the infinite power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. and with that, i can find hope. i hope you too can see the miracle of each day (: if you need a little help, try the granola.

it’s the journey.

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  1. milkandhoneybakery posted this