Library Eats: Finals Season Needs Some Seasoning

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Here we are… classes are done and you’ve said goodbye to your friends who somehow don’t have any finals, but you’re still stuck under McLennan’s fluorescent lighting, wearing your fully zipped parka, slowly making your way through thirteen weeks worth of material. I see you. I’m one of you. We got this. We got this because if we glance away from the blue light of our laptops and turn our attention to our bags on the floor, we have the only thing our dying, holiday-craving souls could ever need: snacks. 

Snacks make anything better, and as easy as it can be to wander down to Redpath Cafe, remember that they will charge you a dollar for one tiny clementine. You’re better than that and you know it. 

Instead, try my five favourite library snacks and three tips to get you through this finals season. 

1) Popcorn: So good, never-ending, and — when eaten slowly — a silent and non-fragrant snack.

For this one, you can either buy microwavable popcorn and make it at home to take on the go, or you can follow my fantastic recipe below. 

  • 1 tsp oil (I like coconut) 
  • 1 sprinkle of sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste 
  • ¼ cup popcorn kernels 

On medium heat, add oil to a large pot (make sure you have the matching lid). Once the oil has heated, add the kernels and sugar. Mix the kernels around so they are evenly coated in the oil-sugar mixture and then place the lid on the pot. Grab oven mitts (or two tea towels) and lightly shake the pot over the burner, holding the lid and pot handles together. Continue doing this until your popcorn is popped! This will make a full pot, so you can be snacking for days. 

2) Trail mix: Buy a bag or make your own. 

Here are some combos I love…

  • Cashews, almonds, dried cranberries 
  • Pepita seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries 
  • Salted cashews, salted peanuts, M&Ms, raisins 
  • Cashews, shelled pistachios, pecans, pepita seeds, almonds, dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, coconut flakes 
  • Peanuts, dark chocolate, dates, granola 

3) Roasted chickpeas: Trendy, protein-filled, delicious and cheap to make! 

They have these in the library already made, but if you can make it yourself you’ll save major moula. Also, feel free to switch up the spices with your personal faves. 

  • 1 can of chickpeas 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt 

Toss the chickpeas in the oil and spices, and lay them on top of a lined baking sheet. Put them in the oven at 400 °F and let them bake for 30-40 minutes, mixing them halfway through. Make sure they are cooked until crispy and then they are good to go. 

4) Chia parfait: A big snack for a big and full brain. 

This is super easy, and can also be a great on-the-go breakfast! 

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds 
  • ½ cup milk of choice 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 banana 
  • 2 tbsp crushed nuts 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ cup berries 

The night before, combine the chia seeds, milk, and cinnamon in a mason jar. The next morning (or at least 3 hours later), layer the banana, crushed nuts, honey and berries on top. Hello gorgeous! 

5) Holiday Rice Krispie treats 

We all deserve to treat ourselves and get into the holiday spirit! This one lets you indulge in the most wonderful time of the year, even as you spend your days working as hard as one of Santa’s elves.

  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal 
  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows 
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (any kind: milk, white, dark or a mix) 
  • 2 large peppermint candy canes — chopped 

In a medium, pot, let the butter melt and add the marshmallows. Mix the two until you get a marshmallow-y mixture. Then, in a large bowl, combine the mixture with the Rice Krispies. Once combined, add in the chocolate chips and candy canes. Finally, press it into a greased baking dish (preferably something close to 13×9). Let it cool and then pack it up. 

Now for a few tips and tricks:

1) Bring tea bags to the library. BYO-Thermos and the cafe will give you free hot water.

2) Take a break to eat. Close your laptop, take a lap, hang with friends, call someone, do a sudoku, play Angry Birds, read a fun book, watch a YouTube video… I don’t care. Just STOP WORKING FOR A SECOND! 

3) Explore new study spots. I love to switch it up throughout the day. Changing locations around lunchtime or after dinner is a great way to avoid going stir-crazy!

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