Nature’s Candy- Easy, Homemade Fruit & Nut Energy Bars

Yesterday I found myself in a waiting room, in an oral surgeons office… with my two boys. (and no Daddy) Someone turned to me and said “Wow your kids are so well behaved. I had the urge to look around to make sure she was talking to me. I can’t say I have any secrets because lets be honest, my kids are about as calm as an active volcano. I will say that crayons and snacks go a very, very long way. Just a few months back snacking was not a concern for me. I always stash kid food in my bag for the weebles, but me? I gladly munched on whatever my kids left on their plates, or often I didn’t eat much at all. This always led to a lot of banana eating, over eating, under eating, and an overall energy deficit. On the go I found myself reading box, after box of “meal replacement bars.” Fairly grossed out I figured I was just good to wait. I’m not going to starve to death, but damn I get cranky when I’m hungry. (Which is pretty much always.)

The first snack I often come across on numerous health and diet lifestyle blogs is Lara Bars. Their limited 3 to 9 ingredient, fruit and nut bars are wicked popular. Prized as high energy food they really do pack a punch, they are GREAT for kids with sweet teeth. Honestly, I’ve never had a real Lara bar … but I’ve considered it. High in natural sugars and calories I’ve stepped away from them up until now. Partly because they are expensive, part because Riley is allergic to a lot of nuts and merely the mention of “walnuts” and he runs away screaming. (literally) So yesterday I found myself whipping these up before I had to run my errands. They are perfect for stashing in my bag, they are great to feed to the kids. Naturally sweet and nutritious, fruit and nuts are a great source of natural sugars, protein and fiber. Absolutely nature’s candy these sweet treats are wicked tasty and best yet, they are natural. There are no ingredients you can’t read, no mystery preservatives just salt, fruit, nuts. I can see why they are so popular and I have to say they are Momma approved, kid approved treats.

Caution: Toddlers do not need more energy, handle with care. (Kimchi: He likes to sit n’ spin.)
Easy, Homemade Fruit & Nut Energy Bars

I mostly make cashew cookie, and Peanut Butter and Jam “LaraBars.” Riley is allergic to cashews, (among most other nuts) so the Peanut butter and Jam was right up his alley. Next I want to try out key lime pie and banana bread. These are super simple, as long as you have a food processor, you’re all set.

Cashew & Date “Not-Cookie” Bars-
  • 1/2 cup cashews, I used salted/roasted
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped (4-6 whole)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt, Splash of Vanilla (optional)
For Peanut Butter “not-cookies” use peanuts instead of Cashews.
Peanut Buttah Jelly Time! 
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, I used roasted/salted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries/cherries
  • 2-3 dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter (Homemade or Smooth & Natural)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

In the bowl of a food processor- Combine nuts and fruit with pitted dates. Pulse until the mixture combines and starts to ball together. Place into plastic wrap, or in between two sheets of parchment and form into rectangular logs. Refrigerate at least a few hours. (They DO taste better after resting.) Cut into slices and wrap individually if desired.

Shuffle! – Basically you just want a mixture of 1/2 cup -nuts, 1/2 cup -dates, plus 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fruit and other mix-ins. Whatever combo you like. Pistachio’s, apricots and cardamom might be nice, -or- cherries, almonds, almond extract. Really it’s whatever. If it doesn’t ball up just add another date.