Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Munching: Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars

It's Monday.

I hope your Monday face doesn't look like the grumpy cat's, who, by the way, is my favorite cat on the internet. She doesn't have anything to do with this post; I just really love the grumpy cat.

I've been meaning to share this recipe for a while, mostly because it has revolutionized breakfast, and mornings in general, at my house. I spend much of my Pinterest time (when I'm not looking at grumpy cat pictures) looking for healthy recipes. Healthy lunch and dinners are easier, but healthy breakfasts were another story. We eat a lot of smoothies, but you can only eat smoothies every day for so long before it starts to get old. And if I'm heading out on a long run and want to eat first, I don't exactly want to take the time to make one. I had been seeing tons of pins for homemade larabars, so I decided to try them out. (I'm calling mine fruit and nut bars because I think Larabars is actually a brand name). I started out with the recipe here, but I changed it up so much I'm going to share my own.

Fruit and Nut Bars
1+ cups pitted dates 
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds, or other seeds or nuts
1 cup dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, or a mixture
pinch of salt
1 to 2 Tablespoons honey
optional: shredded dried coconut, a dash of vanilla, lemon or lime juice, cinnamon, etc.

In a food processor, pulse almonds and seeds until finely chopped. Pour into a bowl. Add all other ingredients to food processor, and process until mashed and mixed together. If it forms a ball, stop and break it up. Then add nuts again and process until mixed. Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch square pan and chill before cutting into bars. You can leave them in the pan and cut as needed (what I do), or remove them all and package separately for convenience.

I eat these before long runs and have even taken them with me to eat on the run. They digest pretty easily, and you can change the proportion of fruit to nuts if it doesn't work for you. There are endless possible variations, so I don't feel like I'm eating the same thing every morning. And a pretty short prep time leaves me with enough bars for about a week! Perfect.

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