Saturday, March 8, 2014

Getting Your Energy On...One Bite at a Time

One of my biggest challenges to eating healthy isn't always the food I eat but eating regular, balanced meals especially when I am working. At first I was making mini-meals, but soon found that anything I couldn't grab and eat on the run just stayed in my backpack (sometimes till it developed its own language...) and then I would be starving and eat everything in sight when I got home. So, I started packing snacky things; Veggies, oat crackers, cheese, lunch meats, etc.  This should have worked except I would usually only manage to grab one or two pieces (generally the cheese) thus no balance and still the rotten food in the backpack issue.

I thought I found something good in cliff bars and Kind Bars till I read the sugar content, and the same with health shakes (those don't come out the other end too well after a few days either...).  Then I started seeing these things called Energy Bites in the bulk section at the store. Looking at the ingredients I thought I found something good; coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.  All this goodness could be mine for $9.98 a pound. These are dense little suckers so you don't get too many in that pound.  So we make them!


9 Dates
7 Figs
1/2 cup Cranberries
1/2 cup Raisens
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup Pumpkin seeds ground
1/4 cup Sunflower seeds ground
1/2 cub Almonds ground
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chips ground
1/2 cup Chia Seeds
1/4 cup Ground Flax
1/2 Oats coarsely ground
2 tbls Cinnamon
1 tbls Ginger
1 tbls Cloves
1 tbls Tarragon
1/4 cup Peanut butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
2 tbls Honey
2 tsp Vanilla

As always, these recipes are approximate.  Adjust to taste.  The main binder is actually the dried fruit so feel free to experiment; dried apricots, dried cherries, prunes, etc.  I have found more dates give the bars a sweeter taste, whereas more figs make them a little tart.

In the food processor; grind/mince the dried fruit.  In my little food processor I need to do fruit group separately and I dice the figs and dates before mincing them.  If you have something a little more powerful you might not have to do that.  Pulse the processor till the fruit is in crumbles and toss them in the bowl.

Grind the nuts and seeds to a consistency between crumbs and powder. Do the same with the Oats and toss into the bowl with the fruit.

Melt the coconut oil and add the honey vanilla but don't let it boil.

Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix with your hands.  The mixture will be wet and sticky but shouldn't be runny.

Once mixed press into baking dish.  I usually make them about 3/4" to 1" thick.  Be sure to press them in firmly and then put them in the fridge till firm.

Slice into cube size of choice.

I usually store these in the fridge if I am making large batches, but they don't need to be kept cold through the day and are great for hikes or weekend trips if you don't have a fridge.