It has been a busy start to the year, and despite the supposed ‘rest and recovery’ that happens at the start of a new year, mine has been the opposite. Busy time with family and friends over Christmas, and then back into fantastic but hectic work with a busy fitness calendar thrown in. Before I knew it we are staring down the beginning of March!
Much has been happening, and while my ideas and inspiration for Mother Nurture are everywhere, I haven’t taken the time to write about it. But I can promise you that I think about content ALL the time.
As you know, everyday I eat a healthy breakfast. It starts me off right for the day. (I’ve talked about my muesli obsession in previous posts!) and dinners will always include green vegies or a salad to get my ‘green’ content up. But it’s often the meal some where between breakfast and dinner that, if like me you are often on the run, is hard to find. Nourishing and delicious lunch time choices are often not as readily available as we would like. Sushi is a perceived ‘healthy’ lunch snacks, but it is mostly made with highly processed and starched white rice, and often the protein content within the roll is very small and the green content of a sushi meal is extremely low. White bread sandwiches are horrible and everywhere! It makes it hard for those of us with food intolerances! A ‘good’ salad is a rare find. And by good I mean one that contains protein and greens and no dairy and is tasty and easy to buy on the fly. So, I often am out with a bag of nuts and a bottle of water, that gets me through until I can find something that will really nourish me and I’ll feel good. My nut mix is a ziplock bag of almonds/ pecans/ macadamias/walnuts and has saved the day many a time.
In my travels over the years, it continues to surprise me about the lack of healthy ‘snacks’ for when you are on the go. Most are processed and even those deemed as ‘healthy’ are often very high in sugar and full of preservatives. But recently I came across a delicious recipe for a healthy nutty snack. It is something I have been lacking in my food/ meal mix…I know what to eat for my at each meal time- but sometimes a snack for on the go, or a healthy after lunch snack is required! Below is my (slightly modified) recipe for “My Nutty bars”. I have been making a batch every couple of weeks, and keeping it in the fridge and it lasts and lasts. And everyone who tries it falls in love!
This is a gluten free, dairy free and low sugar solution to your everyday munchy. It can be used as a 3pm snack with a cup of herbal tea, it could be a treat after dinner, or can be a morning tea snack that will get you through until you find something you can confidently eat after the lunch time rush. Sugar is in the form of honey or agave- which is still fructose…in the quantities used and the amount you eat per portion, it will be very small indeed.
Depending on the size you cut it, it can make up to about 60 slices:
3 cups almonds/walnuts/macadamias
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/3 cups sunflower seeds
2/3 cup raw cacao nibs
¾ cup sesame seeds
1 cup and 2 tablespoons coconut flakes
2/3 cup goji berries
¾ cup hempseeds
½ cup flax seeds
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 vanilla bean (scraped insides only)
½ cup agave syrup/ honey
¾ cup cacao butter (I used coconut oil here once and it worked fine, but bars had to be kept in fridge).
¾ cup almond butter
Lightly process the almonds until about a quarter of them are still mostly whole. Using a coffee grinder (or similar), finely powder the flax seeds and half the amount of sesame seeds. Blend the scraped vanilla with melted cacao butter. Combine with all other dry ingredients in a bowl and toss well until well mixed.
Add the blended cacao-vanilla butter, agave syrup and almond butter and mix by hand until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Remove 3 cups of mixture and process until it is mostly broken down. It should resemble a moist pie crust. Add back to rest of mixture and thoroughly re-incorporate.
Using a teflex sheet or heavy waxed paper, line a baking pan (8x8x2 inch) and spread mixture evenly into the pan. Keep thickness as consistent as possible, firmly pack, then smooth over the top with a spatula. Place in fridge or freezer until mixture is solid and hard to the touch (about 30 minutes).
Remove from pan and set block on cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the block into whatever size pieces you wish. Once bars are cut, set in fridge or freezer to chill for 20-30 minutes. I prefer to leave them in the fridge the entire time to keep it firm. You can substitute any other dry nut (hazelnuts) instead of almonds.
Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!