We all have patterns in our lives that we would prefer to reorder- habits we strive to break. Sometimes, however, these patterns seem inevitable and out of our own control. One that I have dealt with practically since the first time I ever traveled away from home (summer camp circa 2010), is the oh-so-melancholy coming-home crash. If this is something you have ever experienced, you will know exactly to what I am referring.
After my month and a half of traveling this summer, yoga training, exploring and dancing 24/7, I had the sneaky suspicion that readjusting to life in Tangier could be a bit difficult. I tried my best to stay positive, embrace the home-coming and enjoy it moment-to-moment the same way I had been enjoying the new adventures elsewhere in the world. This plan failed miserably after I came down with a fever and headache the second morning of being back. So much for trying to overcome the crash.
In general, whenever I travel and experience so much newness, such adrenaline excited by things out of the ordinary, coming back to everything known- no matter how beloved- is never an easy process. I’m always trying to continue riding that wave of pure, in-the-moment experience and take it all with me, but when we have our eyes so wide open for so long, taking in so much, they inevitably get tired and need to close for a period of time. The crash of coming home usually consists of feeling lost or uninspired, finding it hard to get yourself out of bed in the morning (although jet lag also contributes to this one), general mental and physical exhaustion, and sometimes (in my case last week) getting actually sick is part of it as well. While all of this is something I instinctually try to avoid, I have been realizing more and more that perhaps it is necessary. It is part of a cycle.
What I have now learned to keep in mind is that the post-crash pattern can often be inconveniently forgotten when you are in the middle of the melancholy. About a week or two after crash-landing, I always slowly and thoughtfully pick up the pieces of whatever was gained during the previous adventure and begin to create something new- something beautiful that has evolved from all of the changes I went through, merging them with the reality of daily life. The prospect of this process is now what I try to hold on to even when I am moping about the house muttering “what in the world am I doing with my life.” I think we have all had those moments, it is just a matter of recognizing that the crashes are temporary. Everything always gets picked up and put back together, shinier and better than ever.
I also have to remember that another factor is this month in particular. In my personal experience, August is a notoriously lazy and aimless month. It is often the peak of heat waves and the time just before hard work kicks into action, whether it be school, teaching dance classes (in my case), or just the tense anticipation of winter. Even if all I want to do is laze around like a lizard all day on our sun-soaked balcony, I am trying to offset that overly-languid feeling with pops and sparkles of freshness. New books, new yoga sequences, dance sessions in the living room, cold dips in the ocean, and fresh, zingy new recipes- like this kiwi yogurt tart, for example.
Imagine a slightly tangy-ier, lighter, more breakfast-friendly cheesecake. In bar form. With juicy, tart kiwi slices spread on top. That is exactly what you get with these lovely baked bars, laced with the sweetness of honey drizzles in every layer. You could absolutely do the same recipe with whatever fruit you have on hand, but I just love the bright, floral, summer-y look and taste of thinly sliced and perfectly ripe kiwi fruit. These bars are naturally gluten-free and almost taste like yogurt & granola in pie form, with the oat and chickpea flour crust. Make these for a satisfying burst of freshness for breakfast or for an afternoon pick-me-up, helping you brighten up from any end-of-summer melancholy.
Kiwi + Honey Yogurt Bars
Gluten-free, makes 12 bars
Crust (adapted from Bon Appetit)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled or instant oats (gluten free if needed)
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 5 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- pinch of salt
Filling (adapted from Kristine's Kitchen)
- 2 cups plain, unsweetened full-fat yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3-4 fresh kiwis, peeled + sliced
- Extra honey for drizzling
Preheat your oven to 350º (175ºF) and line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper, or grease with a light layer of butter or oil.
To make the crust, add all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until they come together to form a sticky dough- it's fine if there are still some oat pieces. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of your prepared pan and set aside while you make the filling. For the yogurt mixture, simply whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour the filling on top of the crust and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the yogurt layer is set- it will be more of a jello-like consistency and set even more as it cools. Let the bars cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Once cooled, layer the kiwi pieces across the top, drizzle a little (or a lot of) extra honey, slice them up + enjoy! These can be kept for a few days in the fridge if you don't eat them immediately.