Intolerants on The Go: Fueling-up With Homemade Energy Bars
Both you and I know there sometimes isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. This includes all manner of professional and personal tasks, the things we set out to do between the hours of, say, 08:00 and 21:00 and that wind up unfinished for all sorts of reasons. You know, life getting in the way. Very often this can include not sitting down for a proper meal or snack. One that’s homemade, wholesome and wholly delicious. Instead, when we need fuel, we find ourselves opting for whatever is easiest, quickest and most affordable, which often means: processed.
I go through phases when I fall victim to such habits as much as the next person. The weeks where I hand over $3.20 to the cashier for a LaraBar because it is light years easier than throwing together my own. Well, that was the case until I realized what I could purchase if I reinvested the money spent on several months worth of pre-packaged bars and stopped procrastinating to make my own. It was that day, as I bit into a slightly chilled energy bar bursting forth with flavour, that I came to appreciate how easy, delicious and fulfilling it was to enjoy an organic, health conscious, intolerant-friendly and raw alternative to the the brand name options that flood the aisles of supermarkets and kiosks across the city. The ultimate gratification being that every travel-friendly morsel I swallowed was made by my own hand.
The sheer pleasure of it all.
Not only are these bars portable (read: great for an ordinary day, and equally good for short and long-haul travel), but they’re convenient for those moments when there isn’t enough time to make something elaborate or you just can’t be bothered. An added bonus is you can make them as sweet or a savory as you’d like, and can experiment with textures and tastes by subtracting and adding ingredients.
Personalized food in perfect harmony with your palate.
Almond Chia Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars*
1 apple (cored and peeled – I prefer mine peeled, but its not necessary)
1 cup of soaked dates
1/2 cup of almonds (either blanched or with skin)
1/2 cup of cooked quinoa (which is optional and requires cooking time, but adds density if you want your bars to be more filling along with a killer protein kick)
1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/4 cup of ground flax
1/4 shredded coconut (optional)
1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled)
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
*Also needed: blender, two sheets of baking paper and rolling pin.
*Cooking time: none (unless you’re adding quinoa).
*Other ingredients I’ve experimented with include: banana, mango, quinoa (see above), hemp seed, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, carrot, blueberries and avocado.
1. Measure out all ingredients and place in a blender. If you’re adding quinoa to your mixture, cook the quinoa at least an hour in advance so it can stand and cool before being blended.
2. Mix the ingredients on your preferred setting (mine is “chop”) until desired consistency is reached. I like my bars to have bits of nuts and dates in them so I avoid mixing everything for too long.
3. Cut two equal sheets of baking paper (not wax paper or aluminum foil) and place one sheet on a clean, flat surface.
4. Once you’ve blended the ingredients to your desired consistency place the the mixture onto the sheet of baking paper and using a spoon, or your hands, flatten it out a little.
5. Place the second sheet of baking paper on top and with a rolling pin (or wine bottle, empty glass or any other practical receptacle) roll out the mixture to the desired thickness. Mine tend to be about 1/4 – 1/2 thick.
6. Using clean scissors or a knife cut into bars. Again, it’s up to you how big to make them. At a 1/4 inch thick I’ll make my bars about 3 inches long and 2 wide.
7. You now have options: you can leave them out to dry and eat them within a couple of days, however I find if you’ve soaked the dates drying can take a while and shortens the length of time that the bars keep. Instead, I’ll leave them out at room temperature for 2-3 hours (with the hope that as much moisture evaporates as possible) and then place the individual portions in the freezer and let them stand overnight. By morning I have bars that are ready to be devoured at a moment’s notice. (*Note: if you plan on taking a couple from the freezer for later in the day, it’s best to place them in a reusable container or bag because depending on their consistency/dryness they may or may not ooze out into the contents of your bag once they start to thaw. This is coming from experience).
Last step: enjoy!
*Note: recipe is a modified version from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Nutrition Guide.