I can’t think of Tu B’Shevat without thinking of Tone, short for Antonio–an Italian Catholic co-worker from my days at JUF News. On each Jewish holiday, the HR department would deliver a festive goody: honey on Rosh HaShanah, chocolate on Chanukah, Hamentashen on Purim…you get the idea. The first time I saw the cart roll down the hall with the Tu B’Shevat dried fruit bags, Tone excitedly exclaimed, “It’s Tu B’Shevat already? I love Tu B’Shevat!”
Tu B’Shevat may not be the most widely celebrated Jewish festivity, and I’d bet a lot of Jews won’t even notice today’s birthday of the trees. But I’ll be munching on Tu B’Shevat granola bars full of Israel’s seven species and thinking of Tone.
TU B’SHVAT GRANOLA BARS
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1t baking powder
1/2 cup honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup of raisins, chopped dried dates and figs
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
handful of chopped almonds
Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the egg, syrup, nut butter and combo of fruit and nuts. Stir until evenly coated. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Store up to a week in an airtight container…if they last that long.