I know I keep saying it, but quick snacks are always needed around here! For a couple days this week we actually ran out and let me tell you, it wasn’t pleasant. I keep telling myself I can’t run out of quick snacks like these but I never learn.
We run out.
I get busy.
Kids get hungry in between meals and then cranky.
And then somehow, all the bananas go missing. Really? 4 bunches of bananas between the 4 of us and they couldn’t even last us all week? Fresh fruit is something the kids always know they can have in our house(this week we splurged on strawberries as you can see!), and it’s always easily accessible so they can get it themselves. But, to save the fresh fruit supply so it lasts all week I make things like these. But apparently I need to make more.
After I post this I’m going to go into the kitchen and mix things up a little and make some different kinds of bars because there is really no way we’ll survive the weekend without some quick snacks. And by we, I don’t necessarily mean the kids because when the baby is crying and I’m ready to gnaw off an arm these are the first things I grab. And thankfully I don’t have to feel guilty about them at all.
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say this by now, but these travel well. They last a long time in a sealed container on the counter, but they last even longer in the fridge if you’re worried about them. You can even stick them in the freezer for a very chewy cold treat although I think I prefer them at room temperature and they’re much easier for my 2 year old to eat that way too. If you don’t want bars you can take a large spoonful of “dough” and roll them into little 2-bite sized balls.
For anyone with nut allergies, you can sub sunflower seeds, pepitas, coconut, a little more flax seed(I would not recommend using all flax seed!) and maybe some other things. Would you be interested in some nut-free “Larabar” type bars? I may just go into the kitchen to work on that
Again with the pictures, I know, I know. Keep scrolling! I can’t help it, it’s so interesting to me to see how many things you can change with the same set up and the same light.
Even the difference that just turning the food around a little makes. Can you see the difference in the light and the amount of detail in the bar on top in the picture above and below?
Makes 8-12 bars or squares
- 1 C walnuts
- 1/2 C almonds
- 1 C soft Medjool dates
- 1 C dried cranberries
- 1/4 C ground flax(use golden flax for a milder flavor and make sure your flax is well ground before using it in the recipe)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch salt
- 1/4 C + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
In a food processor combine the walnuts and almonds and grind until no large pieces remain. Place the ground nuts in a bowl and set aside. Add the dates and cranberries to the food processor and process until no large pieces remain and the dried fruit comes together in a “dough”. Stop the food processor and break up the dough mixture a little with a knife or spatula. Add in the ground up nuts, flax, vanilla, salt and cocoa powder. Process until completely combined. Don’t process too long, the mixture may not come together, but if you pinch a little together it should stick and hold together.
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and pour the mixture into the pan. Press the mixture very well and flatten out the top. If the mixture is warm, place in the fridge for a few minutes. Pull the bars out with the plastic wrap and with a sharp knife, slice into 8-12 bars or squares. Wrap individually or store in an airtight container either in the fridge or on the counter.