Anytime Bars

anytime bars_0613_03This recipe is from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. I picked it up when I found out my cousin’s then-fiance had leukemia. You can read her story and journey here. These bars are suggested for when someone is receiving chemo to help give them more energy. My husband and I make them when we are on the go, traveling or just want a tasty (healthy) snack.

These bars take a little time to make, but they are worth it!

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1 c raw pecan halves
1 c whole raw almonds
2 Tbsp spelt flour
2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp finely ground flaxseeds
¼ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
¼ c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c pitted dates, quartered (preferably Medjool)
1 c unsulfured dried apricots, cut in half
1 organic egg
5 Tbsp maple syrup (I use grade A)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan.

Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat this process for the almonds. Turn down the oven to 325°.

Combine the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates and apricots and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don’t over bake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool 5 minutes and cut into 25 squares. Leave bar in pan to cool all the way so they’ll hold together when you remove them.

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Variations

Use walnuts instead of pecans.
Add ¼ cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins or currants when mixing together at the end.
Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
Add ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.
For gluten-free substitute gluten free muffin mix for the flours. Make sure oats were not processed alongside wheat.

Concrete Stones

rhubarb concrete_0813_11-headerAnother Pinterest project is underway. This time working with concrete, which I know nothing about. I do however know where to find rhubarb leaves. Not only in my backyard, but I found some wild rhubarb (and strawberries) growing along the path to the park from my house.

Using rhubarb leaves as a base and toilet paper rolls and pie tins to hold in the cement I went to work creating some stones. I bought a bag of quick set concrete to use for making the stones. They are fairly crumbly and I never researched what type of concrete would work best for this project. Sometime when I get back to this project I will try different ratios of water to concrete to see if that helps at all. I think there might also be too many air bubbles causing them to break apart easily. I also had some trouble getting the veins of the leaf out once the concrete hardened around it. I figure eventually it will dry out and wash away.