No-Bake Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bar Recipe

One of my goals this year is experimenting in the kitchen with the idea of food as fuel. I’m asking my body to do things it’s never done (hill repeats, intervals, moving faster than a snail’s pace) and I’d like to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help it succeed. I’m not a picky eater, I like to stuff my face with all the food, but unfortunately not all the food makes my body happy.

I thought I’d start my experimenting with something that sounded simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than no-baking. After researching online and finding endless possibilities, I decided to throw something together with what we already had on hand: dried cherries, dates, shredded coconut, flaxseed and almonds.

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1. Spread the almonds out in a single layer, and toast at 350F for 12-15 minutes. When they’re done, the almonds will get darker in color, and smell toasty and delicious. (Sidenote: that’s my expensive pizza stone I bought right before the Mr. and I got off our our homemade pizza kick #failsauce)

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2. While the almonds are toasting, combine the dried cherries, dates, coconut flakes and flaxseed in a food processor.

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3. When the almonds are toasted, remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Add them to the food processor.

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4. Start processing!

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5. Realize that you crammed the food processor just a little too full, and remove half of the mixture. Continue food processing in batches, a few minutes for each batch. Keep an eye on the dried fruit as it tends to clump together. The consistency of the mixture will become slightly sticky with small bits of nuts. It’s okay if some of the bits are larger than others, because all the bits are delicious.

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6. Line a pyrex dish or baking tray with parchment paper, and empty the mixture into the tray. Press the mixture down flat, creating a level layer.

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7. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. I left them in for 2 hours and they came out firm and easy to cut. I portioned them into 16 small squares, and promptly popped one  in my mouth. I was not disappointed…tasty!

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8. I portioned out half for the freezer, and half for the refrigerator. I put parchment paper between bars to more easily separate them and grab individual bars as needed. The longer they’re out of the fridge before you eat them, the gooier they’ll get.

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What I’d do differently: Find a way to work more protein into the bars. Add more flaxseed, probably a 1/2 cup total. For a stronger coconut flavor, I’d up the amount of shredded coconut to a 1/2 cup.

When I’d eat these: During a hike, before or after a long run, as a snack when I’m craving a large cookie, on a random Tuesday afternoon. The dried fruit puts them on the sweet side so they also work as a healthier dessert option.

Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bars

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup dates, pitted
  2. 1 cup dried cherries
  3. 1 cup almonds, toasted or raw
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened per taste
  5. 1/4 cup flaxseed

Toast almonds. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process for 2-5 minutes, until consistency is sticky and well mixed. Press mixture into a parchment-lined tray, creating a level layer. Chill for 1-2 hours, cut into desired portions and enjoy!

Nutrition Info for 1 bar, 16 servings total (using online calculator): Calories 130, Fat (g) 5.9, Carbohydrates (g) 18.25, Protein (g) 2.8

Always, Sierra

What’s your favorite brand of energy bar?

Do you ever make homemade ones?

Quick Dinner Recipe: Build Your Own Wraps

I love to dance around my kitchen with a glass of wine cook. Sometimes I spend hours in the kitchen, dirtying all the pots and pans, creating a masterpiece of a meal with an interesting and complex favor profile, worthy of judgment by any Chopped chef. 

And sometimes I’m so hangry I just want food in my stomach as quickly as possible.

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{source – my bearded pigeon etsy shop}

When I’m focused on making a speedy meal, I worry less about putting together a “composed” dish, and more about making sure I’m getting a good balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats. (I’ve been told I over think things once or twice.) Build your own wraps are a great way to do this and a fun way to be creative in the kitchen.

1. Take stock of whatever veggies you have, and chop ’em up.

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I had zucchini, carrots, onion and red bell pepper. Turns out a red bell pepper is just a green bell pepper that has had time to fully ripen. Being ripe makes red bell peppers sweeter and a thousand times more delicious, and explains why the green ones cry at night when no one’s looking.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high, and saute veggies, five to ten minutes. Season with salt.

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I went with two pans to saute in because I had so many veggies and I didn’t want to overcrowd my pan. Overcrowding can mean steamed mushy vegetables instead of lovely sautéed vegetables with a bit of color on them.

This is a great place to add variety. I kept it simple by seasoning with a little salt, but feel free to get jiggy with it. Other ideas: sriracha, red pepper flakes, cumin + nutmeg, herbs de Provence, fresh herbs, etc.

3. While the veggies are sauteing, gather your sides and start building!

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Two wraps for me because I like to eat all the things. I used blue corn and flax seed tortillas, and spread one with Sabra Hummus, and one with a quarter of an avocado.

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Next, lay down a bed of spinach, or any greens, and top with a protein of your choice. I added half a leftover chicken thigh and half a hard-boiled egg on each. You could also use tofu or tempeh.

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4. Check on the veggies, which should be done by now. Combine them in one pan to let the flavors mingle for a minute, especially if you got fancy with the seasoning.

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5. Pile on the veggies and you’re done! I like to stuff my wraps so full they can’t actually be wrapped. The tastiness will not be contained!

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Don’t want tortillas? Try using quinoa, brown rice, or a baked sweet potato as a substitute.

And that’s a wrap! (Come on…you knew it was coming.)

Always, Sierra

Blogging is hard work

My goal was to have five posts up a week, Monday through Friday. And not filler posts, these posts were going to be all about how wonderful I am full of witty, conversational, informative, funny, real content!

But a woman has to eat.

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And then she has to have fun and work off what she ate.

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And sometimes she has to put her Chihuahua to work to earn an actual paycheck.

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But I promise I’ll find my flow and before long you’ll be leaving comments telling me enough is enough! Stay tuned :).

Always, Sierra