Wednesday, March 21, 2012

sweet and salty bars

I want to say thank you all so much for your sweet comments and your awesome feedback from Monday's post! It was very helpful--I have all kinds of ideas now, so thank you!! There were a few topics brought up that I have posted about before about so I want to send some quick links out. And for those wanting everything in baby steps--that is PERFECT! That's the only way to make is a very long process--believe me (remember how I used to eat nachos every day for lunch? yeah.)

If you are looking for small ways to start, start with THIS series of posts (start at the bottom) and it covers one topic at a time.

How to get your kids to eat "weird food" HERE
Snack ideas HERE
Lots of requests for gardening.......but you see, I am not that awesome of a gardener! This is something that doesn't come natural to all. Everything I do each year basically comes from trial and error.....but the more I try the more we have to eat. I wrote THIS post about some basic stuff, and I will continue to post this year as I plant and kill things. I have a board on pinterest that I've been pinning good tips so be sure to check those out too.

Make sure to read the comments in these posts because all of the info and tips are juicy and delicious.

On to today's post.
We are going to make......bars...?
I'm not sure what to call them. 
They aren't really granola bars. 
Fruit and Nut bars sounds like something for constipated old people. 
The kids thought I should just call them cookies. (always a good sign when making something healthy)
In the process of making them, I decided the mixture looked a little bit like......bird food!
But don't let that deter you......these pack a lot of power for such an easy snack to make.
So there we have it. Bird Food Bars!
bar6 copy
I really liked making these--not only can you identify EVERYTHING going into them (no artificial stuff....these are REAL food) you can throw in whatever you want. 
I have some races I'm looking forward to this spring and summer and I have recently started my training.....which means I am always hungry! When I get off the trail I need something to tide me over until I get home, and these are packed with the sweetness and saltiness that I crave after I run.
Sweet and Salty Bars
This isn't an official "recipe" (surprise, surprise), 

but here is a list of the ingredients that I used. 
Play around with whatever nuts, seeds, or fruit you want to add. 

1lb of pitted dates (found in the bulk sections of health food stores)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
about a cup of almonds, roughly chopped
a few handfuls of rolled oats AND rolled wheat
large handful of salted sunflower seeds (you don't have to use salted seeds, but I crave salt after a run so I decided to throw in something a little bit salty.)
large handful of raw pumpkin seeds. 
child size [see photo below] handful of flax seeds. 
handful of chocolate chips

Puree the dates in a food processor until a paste starts to form 
(this is your "glue" to hold your bar together)
Add vanilla and cinnamon. 
Continue to puree until it forms a big crazy date-paste ball inside your machine. 
(at this point it doesn't look very awesome)
Now is the fun part!
Put your date-paste-ball and all of your other ingredients into a large bowl and get some adorable little hands to mix it for you.
Mix and mix and add a little more of this and that until you've fit as many nuts and seeds as the dates will hold.
Untitled-2bar5 copyUntitled-1bar3 copybar4 copyfruitandnutbar2 copy
The mixture is soft and it leaves you with a few options for how you want to shape your bars. 
You could even roll them into bite sized little snacks. 
I wanted to cut them, so I pressed them out onto a pan and put them in the freezer for about an hour, so they would cut easily. I decided to keep them in the freezer to store them--it only takes a few minutes for them to thaw out when you are ready for a snack.

These are pretty high calorie (so don't eat them all at once!), but those nuts and seeds are packed with healthy fats and protein that your body will love as an afternoon snack, or pre/post workout. 
Also a great filling snack for your kids....and they will think they are cookies. perfect.
fruitandnutbar1 copy 2
The possibilites for flavors of these are endless. 
You can throw in any kind of nut or seed, or add dried fruit like coconut, cherries or apricots.....yum.
I'd love to hear if you make another flavor!



Ana Morais said...

Can i have one? or two? :)

Unknown said...

These look amazing. I will for sure be making them as we have been looking for a healthy 'protein bar' recipe for awhile now (all the ones I have found online seem to have butter in them. Weird!)

And I miss trail running in Utah SO MUCH! Ugh. Lucky girl. Put in a mile or two for me (I'm hugely pregnant at the moment... 41 weeks on Friday).

Maria said...

Another great recipe! I think I've made about 70% of the recipes you post. thanks!

Maria @ Orchard Bloom

Tanae Nelson said...

These came just in time, I think I'll make them to take with me on my will be a good alternative to the junk food that surrounds traveling.

Ashley said...

I just love when your kids are in the food photos. Little helpers!! Too cute. And these bars look fantastic!

Brittany said...

holy yum. i am a sweet and salty FREAK.

kassidi bridge said...

Yum! I forgot, I was going to ask you if you've ever made kombucha? It's our new favorite obsession. I haven't looked into how to make it yet, wondering if you have?

sheena said...

Kassidi my friend Summer made it here

melissa said...

oh hey, sheena, i have a question for the blog even though i'm soooo late to the party. (two days in blogworld: a year.) it's a stupid question.

how do you deal with telling acquaintances that you don't eat like they do? i'm surprised at how often it comes up in casual conversations at church or wherever (like when my kid doesn't eat fruit snacks) and i always feel so stupid being like, "oh, we don't eat that kind of stuff..." because it automatically sounds judgmental of their decisions. and i really don't want to sound that way! to tell the truth, i usually just let it slide--let them feed my munchkin some random candy, whatever, it won't kill him. but i still have a hard time talking about it with people. (and let me just say, we're not even very strict around here. a lot of people i know just eat like college students i guess...:)

k@tia said...

hi! I like bars, I like cooking bars and I try sometimes and I would like to show you my result :)

the second one is very similar to yours.

sorry for my english :(

ps your blog is simply fantastic :)) nice to meet you

Amber said...

Mmmmmm! I can't wait to make my own version of this... does adding chocolate and caramel kind of defeat the purpose? Because that's what I'm going to end up doing, haha.

Benjamin Tracy said...

ok this is tripping me out- Sheena, you must be one neato person because I am randomly friends with both melissa and kassidi up there, and it kind of blows my mind to have all of us commenting on one blog.

Keep up the good work, there, Sheena. And these bars look fan-TAS-tico.

-your cyber friend Carrie posing as her husband cause he feels sad when i sign him out of his account on his laptop

Erica said...

Found these on pinterest. They look so good. I will have to try soon!

Unknown said...

love this recipe. i have been making a lot of these fruit/nut bars for my son to eat as a snack. i will try this recipe this weekend.

Rianna said...

Also found these via pinterest, they loook great, definately on my 'to bake' list :)

lidia said...

I am definitely making these.
so simple and easy to adjust to ones liking, thanks for sharing (:

Melaina said...

Your blog is amazing! I love stumbling upon fellow food bloggers -- your photography is inspirational!

sarah@mysleepykitchen said...

I found this recipe on Pinterest - beautiful photos, and great recipes! I love the idea to use dates to bind and sweeten the bars (most recipes for "bars" use lots of butter and refined sugar).
I've posted a link to your recipe on my blog and it's gotten a great response so far!