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a simple real food recipe :: brownie fruit and nut bar

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We have had approximately 2 good park days this spring so far – not even close to cool.

But the 2 times we did get to go, I was able to make a morning of it and pack up a snack or pack up lunch and stay for most of the morning. I quickly realized that now that my oldest (almost 4) is more aware of her peers, she asks more questions about what she sees them playing and doing – and what they are eating for their snacks and lunches 🙂

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She is usually pretty satisfied with just a banana as a treat or for snack time, she is curious what the other kids are having too though!

It is a great opportunity for me to do some toddler sized food education with her – how food affects our bodies and what is good “grow food” – this is the term we use to talk about nutrient dense foods that help us to grow up big and strong and ones that make our bodies FEEL GOOD – not crash after a sugar or toxin rush. She totally gets it – don’t underestimate those little one’s understanding!

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Anyway! Larabars are pretty popular, and although most of the flavors have pretty decent in ingredients, they can be just plain pricey. I also prefer to use nuts that have been blanched so the phytic acid is reduced – this makes them easier on the belly to digest. I’m also a little finicky on how sweet they need to be, and like adding in extra nourishment like coconut as well.

I have been trying a few different flavors over the last couple months and will be sharing them in the coming weeks! This one came about trying to duplicate the chocolate Larabar and I just had to name it brownie because that is exactly what it tastes like!

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You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups Medjool dates (I get mine cheapest at our grocery store but this is what they look like)
  • 3-4 TB water
  • 2 ½ cups blanched almonds (I get mine cheapest at our local grocery store but this is what they look like – no skins) (if you are nut free you could do sunflower seeds)
  • 2/3 cup carob powder or raw cocoa powder (I get both of these cheapest in the bulk refrigerated section at our health food store)
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I get this cheapest in the bulk refrigerated section at our health food store)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TB vanilla extract
  1. Soak the dates fully in some water for a few minutes while you do the next 2 steps.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the almonds until they are bits and pieces and pour into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the cocoa, coconut, salt, and vanilla to the bowl.
  4. Blend your dates and 3-4 TB of the soaking water in your blender or food processor and add the paste to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Combine ingredients with a spatula, and press into a small, parchment paper lined baking dish.
  6. Refrigerate an hour until solid and cut into portions. Wrap in paper and store in the fridge or long term in a freezer bag in the freezer.

Kitchen Tips:

  1. You very well could process this whole thing in a larger food processor or in a high powered blender – I don’t have either so I have to do batches in my Magic Bullet. It works just as well – just takes a few minutes longer 😉 No biggie!
  2. You can also make the almond pieces smaller – this is as good as it would get in mine.
  3. I have found I actually like to keep them frozen and then pull them out before we leave for an outing – they thaw fast and when this particular one is too warm the chocolate gets messy.
  4. This makes about 10-12 bars depending on the size you want. Double up if you want some for the freezer. I plan to triple batch some of the fruit and nut bars right before I have baby #3 to have easy snacks stored away for my baby moon 😉

a simple real food recipe :: brownie fruit and nut bar

Seriously! Has anyone had any good park days yet?! What are your favorite snacks and park lunches to bring along?

This post was shared at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday and The Polikva Family’s Family Table Tuesday!

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