Is It Possible?

Is it still possible to find our passion later in life?  I am always inspired by the fact that Julia Child found her passion in her 40’s – it means there is still hope for me!  But I often get discouraged that I don’t have a ready answer to “What do you do?”  My training makes me a pastry chef, but my lifestyle and desires do not.  I do not want the daily grind of being in a restaurant.  I do want to do something useful, something that I enjoy.  So my latest notions have me, once again, looking at teaching intimate cooking classes…  Each day brings new ideas and new support from great friends, so I think, with time and patience, something beautiful will reveal itself.  

So, on that note, I have been doing some fun things in the kitchen.  I just finished a much needed cleanse and am determined to still enjoy wonderful food and wine, but keep losing weight and make better decisions about my food choices.  So when I saw some friends had shared these nut bars, I thought that it was a perfect opportunity to make a healthy snack that I can have on hand.  They are a bit high in calories, but they cannot be beat for the good fats and protein they contain.  They also are very reminiscent in taste to those 7 layer dream bars (the ones with coconut, butterscotch and chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, nuts, graham cracker crust, and butter) but so much better for you!  Don’t get me wrong, I will rarely turn down a 7 layer bar, but for something to constantly have in my freezer, these bars are probably a better choice…  And, as usual, I have done some tweaking to the recipes.  This time it was not so much ingredients or amounts, but more technique changes that should make them a bit easier to contend with.  They are modeled after KIND bars, but much less expensive and you have the ability to mix and match your nuts and fruits.  Thank you to thenourishinghome.com for the original recipes.

 

CHEWY CHERRY CHOCOLATE BARS (grain free)

Yield: 8 bars

1/3 cup (4 oz.) honey

2 T. (.6 oz.) coconut flour

1 T. (.8 oz.) almond butter

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1 cup (2.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut flakes, roughly chopped

1 cup (5 oz.) chopped raw cashews

1/3 cup (1.2 oz.) chopped macadamia nuts

¼ cup (2 oz.) mini chocolate chips

¼ cup (1.3 oz.) chopped dried cranberries or cherries

APPROXIMATE nutritional info (per bar):

356 calories, 23 g fat, 35 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5.4 g protein

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FRUIT & NUT BARS (grain free)

Yield: 8 bars

1/3 cup (4 oz.) honey

2 T. (.6 oz.) coconut flour

1 T. (.8 oz.) almond butter*

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1 cup (2.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut flakes, roughly chopped

1 cup (5 oz.) pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)

1/3 cup chopped walnuts*

½ cup chopped dried fruit

            I used ¼ cup (1.5 oz) apricots and ¼ cup (1 oz.) goji berries

 *To make these bars nut free, substitute sunflower seed butter for the almond butter and sunflower seeds for the walnuts.

APPROXIMATE nutritional info (per bar):

255 calories, 16 g fat, 25 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6.1 g protein

Directions to assemble bars:  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line an 8×8 baking dish with a strip of parchment paper, leaving 6-8″ hanging over each side (this will help pull bars out after they have cooled).  In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients, making sure coconut, nuts, and fruit are chopped first!  

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One tip – give them a good medium coarse chop.  You don’t want it too fine or powdery, the bars will be really gooey.  And you don’t want them chopped too coarsely, they won’t stick together.  Mix together well (your hands work REALLY well for this, I do wear gloves, though).  

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Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Fold parchment strips over mixture and, using a measuring cup, press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan.  

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Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.  Once cool, pull out with parchment paper strips, cut into 8 bars, wrap each individually, and store in the freezer. 

 

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Enjoy!  Until next time – 

 

 

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Author:

Small Batch Canner, Part Time Crafter, Chef, and Artist

2 thoughts on “Is It Possible?

    1. Funny you should mention that! I was using the “when in Rome” theory when I used the mac nuts, since I have a lot. Almonds would be a fabulous substitute. The real beauty of these recipes is that you can really use any kinds of fruits and nuts you want. Hope you enjoy! =)

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