Nut Bars

I’ve made these nut bars twice in 3 days. I love love love them. They are perfect as a quick snack. They are filling and satisfying. They are exactly what I need when in between meals and craving a little something sweet. That said, they are not overly sweet. They are much more subtle. My kids love those Lara Bars but I can’t stand them because they are too sweet and pretty high in carbs. I got this recipe from Mark Sisson’s Cookbook, “Primal Blueprint Cookbook.” I’m not much into cookbooks because there is so much you can get online for free. However, this cookbook is actually worth the money. Everything I’ve tried has been really, really great. Everything is grain free, sugar free, free of processed foods and largely dairy free. It’s the only cookbook I have purchased in years. As always I have made a few changes to the original recipe. Here is what worked for us.

Nut Bars

1 cup raw almonds

1 1/2 cup pecans

2/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

2/3 cup whole flax seed

1/4 cup almond butter

1/2 tsp sea salt if your almond butter is not salted – less if it is

1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil

2 T raw honey (agave for vegan)

1/4 cup gluten and dairy free chocolate chips*

In a large bowl food processor add the first six ingredients. Process until the meal is as fine as it will get. Then add the coconut oil and honey and process until it is well combined. Hand mix in chocolate chips if using. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Press down to cover bottom of pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until firm. These bars are gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, vegan if you sub agave nectar for the honey, free of processed sugar, low carb and high in protein.

*I use Enjoy Life miniature chocolate chips. Not only do they taste great but I like them because they are tiny so the chocolate doesn’t over power. They are also soy free and only have 3 ingredients.

How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

Can anyone tell me what makes a man tick?  Because I am at a loss.  My husband whom I think is (usually) a genius leaves me scratching my  head.  Why?  Let me tell you how my day started.  We have 2 of iPod touches, the ones that have Face to Face which is video calling.  First just let me say that I hate the idea of video calling.  I don’t want to be bothered worrying about how I look just to make a phone call.  It’s great for the kids and Grandma and for the kids and my husband or I while at work.  However it’s not great when the iPod rings at 5:20 am because my husband, who was at work, thought I would be awake and he wanted to demonstrate to a male co-worker how the thing worked.  Seriously?!  I ignored the call and tried to go back to sleep.  Then he called back at 6:30.  I had just woke up and was barely upright or even thinking yet.  I answer the call and while waiting to connect see myself on the screen and ponder what has become of me.  Can you now imagine how mortified I am when the call connects and there is Ron’s co-worker staring back at me.  Seriously, what was my husband thinking?!  Now I know better than to show my face when I answer a call.      

One of my favorite blogs is Elana’s Pantry.  Nearly everything this woman posts looks great.  For me the problem is that she uses a lot of almond flour.  I love almond flour, just not the price.  She recommends one particular brand, Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.  While I’m sure it is a great product, I just can’t see myself spending that kind of money on flour.  As I have said before on this blog, we grind a lot of our own flours.  We grind amaranth, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, rice and corn.  We save a TON of  money doing it this way.  Since I am leaning toward a grain free diet lately it got me wondering if I could make my own almond flour.   Turns out that yes, I can.  It’s quick and easy.  I have used this almond flour for cookies, muffins and pancakes.  So far everything I have tried with it has worked out great.  I have never purchased almond flour so I guess I have nothing to compare mine too but I expect that mine is moister so I need to use a bit less oil in whatever recipe I am using if the recipe calls for commercial almond flour.  The only things you need to make this is a coffee grinder (preferably not one that you use coffee beans for) and a wire mesh sieve.   

Here’s how I do it.  

Larger Pieces Sifted Out

Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of whole raw almonds to the coffee grinder.  Grind until you have a fine meal.  When you hear the grinder make a different noise and the almond meal inside is not moving well anymore, stop.  If you continue you will be making chunky almond butter.  Pour the almond meal into a sieve which is sitting in a large bowl.  Shake out the almond flour into the bowl.  The larger meal and some bigger pieces will be left over.  Just leave them in the bowl for now and repeat the process until you have the amount you need.  Then add back into the grinder all those small pieces and the courser meal and grind again.   

Closer Look

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I must get at my day now.  The kids found the small head of a salamander in the living room this morning.  I have got to locate the rest of him.  Yup, that’s desert life!

Almond Coconut Cookies

Almond Coconut Cookies

 I have been trying to decrease my intake of sugar and simple carbs. I usually don’t really have a sweet tooth but because I am trying not to eat sugar I am therefore craving it. So this morning I wanted to make a cookie that would satisfy my craving for something sweet but would still be lower in carbs and even offer some nutrition. These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy and corn free and very low in sugar. They are sweetened with a bit of honey. What they are not is taste free. They are surprisingly good. Additionally they are high in fiber and are incredibly satisfying. And Yes! the kids and husband actually like them. Store them in the fridge and feel free to use these as a healthy snack in between meals.           

Almond Coconut Cookies         

2 cups raw almonds
1 cup fine shredded unsweetened dried coconut aka coconut powder
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 oz 60% -72% chocolate. (I used Ghirardelli)         

In a food processor add almonds and process until you have as fine a meal as your machine will make. Add remaining ingredients and process for another minute or two. When you see the “dough” coming into a ball it is done.  If it doesn’t come into a ball, keep adding more oil until it comes together.  The oil is what holds the cookies together.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take teaspoons full and roll into balls and press down into discs about 1/2 inch thick. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes until they are just starting to brown. While cookies are baking, slowly melt melt chocolate in a small nonstick pot. When cookies are done let them cool for a bit then drizzle chocolate over top. Store in the fridge.   

This post was posted at the following Blog Carnivals:    

Wholesome Whole Foods     

Food Revolution Fridays

Food Renegade