Homemade Larabars!

lara bar 2

Hi Courtney,

Yesterday I saw an interesting interview with the makers of the new documentary Fed Up.  It’s a movie about the influence of  SUGAR in the American diet and food chain.  I haven’t seen the movie, but three things from the interview really struck me.

1.  Not all calories are created equal.  Healthy weight is not as simple as calories in, calories out.  Your body is programmed to store sugar as fat, so even if you work out and eat a reasonable amount of calories, you are more likely to store fat from sugar calories (or refined carbs) than from other foods.

2.  There are over 200! words for sugar used on food packages.  So even if you read labels…sheesh…

3.  When a person eats sugar their brain lights up in the same way as when they take cocaine!  I knew I was addicted to chocolate; I just didn’t realize I was ADDICTED to chocolate!

In my opinion, those are three good reasons to avoid added sugar and processed foods as much as possible!

In the spirit of helping our kids (and ourselves) eat better, I’d like to share with you a recipe for my homemade Larabars.

My kids love Larabars, and I always have a couple stashed in my purse. They are fast, easy, whole food, and healthy,  but they’re also super expensive– like $1.20-1.50 a bar.  Every time one of my kids drops a piece on the ground, or eats two bites and is suddenly “full”, I feel a little robbed.

I knew they couldn’t be too hard to make, and I love to experiment in the kitchen, so I decided I try and make my own.  I am told the interwebs are full of recipes for Larabars (Shock! I’m not the first to think of this???), but for those who are interested, these are the measurements and techniques I used.  In the end I made 4 varieties.  From start to finish– set up to clean up– it took  me 45 minutes.  I have enough bars for a month, and they cost about .33 a bar!

***Disclaimer:  I don’t usually measure (though I did to create this post).   I also add as I go, so these measurements are approximate and to my taste; you may need to adjust.

Basic Larabar Recipe
12 oz or about 2.5 cups Dates (or raisins or figs)
3/4 cups nuts
 
1.  Add dried fruit to food processor, and blend until in makes a sticky ball.
lara bar 4
 
2.  Add nuts or other add-ins.  Break-up the ball a bit, or it won’t blend evenly.
lara bar 5
 
3.  Blend until it is well mixed and all ingredients are clumped. 
lara bar 6
 
4.  Remove from food processor and press into sheet pan. (One recipe will fill about 1/4 of a cookie sheet).
lara bar 7 Yes, my cookie sheet is all kinds of nasty.  No judgement, please :). 
 
5.  Chill in fridge to firm up, and then cut into 1.5 oz chunks.  (Depending on your add-ins, this will make 10-13 bars)
laura bar 1
 
6.  Store in fridge or freezer.  Eat and ENJOY!

On this day I made four varieties:  Fig Newton, Apple Pie, Apple Peanut Butter, and Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip

lara bar 8

Fig Newton
2.5 Cups Figs (about 12oz)
3/4 cups walnuts
 
Apple Pie
2 Cups Dates
1 cup dried apple slices
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup almond slices (though you could probably use whole almonds too)
 
Apple Peanut Butter
1 cup dates
2 cups raisins
3/4 cup peanuts
(In one batch I also used 4 TBS natural peanut butter.  The flavor was more peanuty, but the texture was sticky.)
 
Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie (more of a treat bar than an everyday snack…)
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tsp of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
 

I hope your family enjoys these as much as my family does!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Natalie

 
 
 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Homemade Larabars!

  1. kjhoward2014 says:

    Your chocolate addiction defined made me laugh out LOUD! I’ve often wonder what’s in my brain that makes ME so…”addictable?” I get on “binges” that are hard to give up…like eating a jar of Nutella on saltine crackers within three days (repeat and repeat again)…Oreos in milk until I’m out of milk (then just buy more milk!)…even convinced myself at one point that a can of Coke first thing in the morning was as harmless as coffee…for like six months! Ha! But, maybe you’ve unveiled the secret…which is why lately when my students bring me treats, I smile, say thank you and toss them right in the old trash can. I don’t even allow myself down the chip isle! I simply cannot be trusted.

  2. Sasha says:

    Wow, I had never heard those sugar statistics before either! I think I may really be a chocolate addict as well. I have noticed after I meal my mouth immediately craves something sweet. These look really good, and I love the natural sugar idea!

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