Friday, July 1, 2011

Foodie Friday: Very Cherry Bars

The very delicious and very easy-to-make Very Cherry Bar
If you've ready my blog before, then you may know how much I value planning in achieving and maintaining nutrition, health, and fitness goals.  If you've taken a look at our environment lately, you'll see that we have a multitude of less nutritious food options available to us.  So when we're caught in a bind and we haven't planned ahead, we can be left in some very challenging spots.  This is why I try to set up my own personal environment for success.  This includes taking along nutritious snacks with me everywhere I go.  I also keep emergency foods, like energy bars, on hand for those times that I really need it.  One of my fave go-to bars is the Larabar. What I love about them is that they contain very simple, whole food ingredients, usually 5 or less.  These bars usually run anywhere between $1.50-2.00, and I recently thought, "Can't I make these myself?".  Thank to Google I found several different "recipes" for homemade Larabars. I couldn't be more excited.  So today I'm sharing with you my first version, the Very Cherry Bar, which I modified from Enlightened Cooking.  They literally taste just like the Cherry Pie Larabar for about half the price!  In fact, my husband tried them, and he thinks they taste better than the real thing.  What you'll love about them is that they are super easy to make.  There are only 4 ingredients and NO cooking!  It usually takes me less than 15 minutes to make these. I cannot wait to play with this recipe more and see what other combinations I can come up with.  Let me know if you try them out.  Enjoy!

Very Cherry Bar
Adapted from:  Enlightened Cooking, 2008     

Ingredients:
1/2 c whole dates, roughly chopped
1/2 c unsweetened dried cherries
1/2 c whole walnuts
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:
1.  Set out four pieces of plastic wrap that will be used later for wrapping the bars.  It's easier to do this before your hands get sticky.
2.  Combine the dates and dried cherries in a food processor.  Process until it turns into a paste. It will eventually take the shape of a ball as you process it.  Remove the date-cherry mixture to a medium bowl.     

The date and dried cherry paste
3.  Place the walnuts into the food processor and process until finely chopped (not into a flour).  

The chopped walnuts
4.  When finished, add the walnuts and cinnamon to the date-cherry mixture.  Using your fingers/hands, combine the nuts with the date-cherry mixture.  Divide the mixture into four equal parts.  Form each part into a small brick or bar.  If you want to make them smaller for mini-bars, then divide the mixture into eight equal parts and go for it!
5.  Place each bar onto the plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Then place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or so before enjoying.

The finished product!
Serves:  4
Nutritional Information:  
Calories:  208   Carbohydrate:  31 g   Protein:  3 g   Fat:  10 g   Cholesterol:  0 mg   Fiber:  4 g   Sugar:  25 g Sodium:  0.75 mg
Excellent source of:  omega-3 fatty acids
Good source of:  vitamin B6 and magnesium

6 comments:

Tiffany The Dietitian said...[Reply to comment]

Yum! I've tried making so many types of energy bars and I feel like they've just fallen flat. But these ones look super good and very easy. Thanks for the healthy recipe!

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...[Reply to comment]

@Tiffany The Dietitian Thank you for visiting again! I know what you mean, Tiffany. This is one that definitely doesn't miss the mark. It tastes so much like a Larabar, and if someone likes that, they'll definitely like this. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

elleshort said...[Reply to comment]

just saw a coupon for "LaraBars" and remembered you said you had an easy recipe. going to be trying this recipe!!

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...[Reply to comment]

@elleshort Great! Even with a coupon, I'm pretty sure the homemade ones will still be cheaper. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Let me know how they work out for you and what variations you use, if any. Thanks for the comment!

elleshort said...[Reply to comment]

i used pecans as a substitute the second time i made them and that tasted good too.

Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, RD said...[Reply to comment]

@elleshort I'm glad it worked out. I'll have to try that, too! Thanks for letting me know.

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