Almonds

Homemade Banana Bread Larabars

Homemade Banana Bread Larabars

I’d rather stand on my head than buy unhealthy munchies while I’m out with the kids, so I’m always on the lookout for pack-able snacks I can make at home. When we discovered the idea of making simple 3 to 5 ingredient Larabars at home, we had a hay day coming up with new flavors and experimenting with superfood bars for travel.

This banana version requires the additional step of dehydrating the bananas, but that part is really easy. Even without a dehydrator.

Banana Bread LaraBars

Banana Bread Larabars

1/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup homemade dehydrated bananas (not banana chips)
1/3 cup almonds, pecans, or a combination
Banana Snack Bars

The dehydrated bananas in this recipe need to be flexible, chewy bananas that you’ve made at home, NOT store bought banana chips. Either use a dehydrator or lay a sliced banana out on a greased cookie sheet and dry in the oven at 175 degrees for 2-3 hours or until dry like a raisin. *Update* These instructions for making dehydrated bananas in the oven are very good.
Dehydrated Bananas

Directions

1. Grind all the nuts to a coarse powder. I use my VitaMix for this step, but you could also use a food processor fitted with an ‘S’ blade, a nut mill, or powerful blender. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl and set it aside.
Ground Nuts

2. Put the dried fruit into VitaMix and turn it on. In my machine, the dried fruit looks like it’s just getting thrown around by the blades, but it really is getting cut. Process it for about 30 seconds. It will become more finely ground when you add the nuts.

3. Now add the ground nut mixture to the dried fruit in the VitaMix and turn on the blades. You’ll need to use the tamper to push the mixture down into the blades and keep it moving. Keep it running until you can see that the fruit is getting sticky and combining with the nut meal.

4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and press it into bars with your hands. Wrap in waxed paper or parchment paper. These can be kept at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for a few weeks.

Each recipe makes about 4 bars, 1.5″ by 3.5″.

Gluten Free Almond Cookies

My mom found this recipe in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and wanted me to try making these for her. I thought the idea of putting arrowroot powder into cookies instead of flour sounded a bit strange, but I made them anyway.  They’re awesome! When I took them out of the oven, they were very crumbly, and broke easily (probably because they don’t have eggs in them), but after they cooled down for a few minutes they were very nice.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups almonds
1 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Rapadura Whole Organic Sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon, or 1/2 orange
1/2 cup softened butter or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
about 18 almonds for decoration (optional)

Directions:

Put the 1 1/2 cups of almonds in a blender or food processor. Turn the machine on low and grind the almonds into a meal. Pour the almond meal, arrowroot powder, Rapadura and lemon rind into a bowl and mix them together. Then add the softened butter and vanilla, and stir until combined.
Drop rounded tablespoons of cookie dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork, or press an almond into the center.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cookies are just slightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool before serving. Store in an airtight container. (Makes about 18 cookies.)

Sprouted Trail Mix

Whenever we travel, I am always careful to pack plenty of good healthy snacks so we aren’t tempted to garbage out on fast food and sugary granola bars. We make healthy cookies, homemade grass fed beef jerky, homemade crackers made with good yellow butter, dried apples, and this awesome trail mix, among other things.

A couple weeks ago, we took a trip to the northwoods of WI, and in an effort to save some money on our trip, we determined not to eat out at all. So for the 16 hour drive both ways, we munched on all the healthy goodies we had brought along. This trail mix was among the favorite snacks. And since the seeds are soaked first, they’re more easily digested so you feel good after eating this stuff by the handful.

Of course, you can make this trail mix without sprouting the seeds, but the sprouting process is said to increase the B vitamins, improve the protein quality of the seeds, and destroy the antinutrient, pyhtic acid.

For this recipe, you don’t really want the seeds to sprout a tail, so just soak them for about 4 hours; long enough to improve their digestibility and nutrient content.

First, soak each type of seed in a separate bowl of water with about a teaspoon of sea salt.

2 cups sunflower seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 cups whole, raw almonds

Strain the seeds and dehydrate at 115 degrees.

Then add:
2 cups raisins
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups flaked natural coconut
2 cups Sunspire unsweetened carop chips

Mix everything together in a big bowl and store in an airtight container.

Linda’s Raw Cranberry Maple Granola Bars

My friend Linda brought a bag of these yummy granola bars to the herb plant pick up on Friday. What a blessing!  With all the kids helping, and so much going on, it was great to have a healthy snack to give everyone.  Here’s her recipe.

Recipe by Linda Lagos

Ingredients:

1 apple, cored and chopped

2 cups dates made into a paste*

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. orange zest

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 3/4 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours

2 cups almonds, soaked 4 hours

3 cups pecans, soaked 2 hours

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked 2 hours

3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins, chopped

1/4 cup golden flaxseeds, ground

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

2 tbsp. hemp seeds (optional)

Directions:

In a high speed blender put chopped apple, maple syrup, orange zest, lemon juice, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract, then put in dates.  Blend until well blended but does not need to be smooth.  Set aside.

Rinse and drain all the nuts. In a food processor break up sunflower seeds and pour them into a large mixing bowl. Then put in food processor the almonds and break up into small pieces.  Do the same with pumpkin and pecans.  Pour all these in the mixing bowl as you do each nut.  Add ground flaxseeds, sesame seeds and hemp seeds.  Put in date mixture into nut mix and mix well.  Then put in chopped cranberries and mix well.  You may want to use your hands to mix it.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator and I put the mixture on 3 trays with the teflex sheets.  I spread it to the thickness I desire and dehydrate for 24 hours at 115 degrees, then turn down to 105 degrees for 12 more hours or until done.

*To make date paste you normally would put the amount of dates the recipe asks for, usually a minimum of 1 cup.  With 1 cup dates to 1/4 cup water in a vita mix and on high speed it does not bother the machine.  I have been doing this for the last 4 years that I have had my Vita Mix.  I do soak my dates if they are not real soft and fresh.  But with this granola bar recipe, you just use the apple and agave or maple syrup as the liquid to blend the dates.

Chocolate Almond Bark

2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons almonds

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or foil, allowing the paper to come up the sides of the pan (forming handles for easy lifting).

Melt the chocolate chips over very low heat or in a double boiler, stirring frequently.

Combine the melted chocolate with the 1 1/2 cups almonds in a medium bowl.  Then spread the mixture into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds on top of the chocolate mixture.  Chill until set.  Break or cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces.  Makes 2 – 3 dozen.