Coconut, Date, and Walnut Lunchbox Treats

It's nearly time for another semester to start. I just got my back-to-school haircut today and a few new clothes the other day. I'm kind of looking forward to classes starting because I am taking a wine tasting lab, which should help me out with perceiving odors in wine. My field season will be ending within the next month, I think, so I will be spending a lot of time in lab processing my samples. I'm kind of ready for a change in routine. Regardless of what time of year it is...whether I'm in classes or not...I seems to be always working like crazy!

I did let myself have a little fun this weekend. Friday night was "First Friday" where the art galleries downtown open up for free and give free beer and wine. I had never gone to one before despite having lived in this town for 8 months now, and I was so happy to see such a huge turn out. The City Bus trolley line went around to all the art galleries, so it was accessible for a lot of people. I like artwork, but I'm not an expert. I did find some pieces I liked, but of course they were expensive. I didn't try any new wines that night, so nothing to report there.

I also did a lot of cooking this weekend. I have been getting bored with a lot of my usual foods, especially snacks and lunches, so I tried a couple of new recipes. The first one was on a blog called Mark's Daily Apple by Mark Sisson. The recipe was for sesame-sunflower seed crackers, and they are really good (especially if you like tahini because they have a strong sesame seed flavor-more so than the sunflower seed flavor). I like his blog because there are thorough explanations to a lot of my nutrition questions. It focuses on primal eating, which is what I have been trying for the past month. I haven't gone cold turkey because I still include some fermented dairy like cheese and yogurt. I have almost completely cut out grains; in the last month I have had only 3 servings of grain, mainly by accident (whole wheat bread, rice, and corn, respectively) and I don't miss them at all. I also don't miss sweets so much because fruit has satisfied those cravings for me for a long time. I do eat a square of Ghiradelli's Twilight Delight 72% cocoa chocolate on occasion, but that's all the treats I have had. I don't feel deprived at all, mainly because I have a "savory tooth" instead of a sweet tooth. I get to eat a variety of proteins and fats, which completely satisfies me.

The next recipe I worked on was my version of a Larabar, which is one of my favorite snacks. I can get them on sale at my health food store for 5/$5 sometimes, but most of the time they are about $1.39, which is a little too much in my opinion. They are made up of dried fruit and nuts, so it was easy to come up with a recipe. I made a paste with unsweetened dried coconut, walnuts (for the omega-3 fats) and dried pitted dates (all organic) that I pressed into a pan and chilled to make bars to go in my lunch box. They taste sort of like sugar cookie dough! Plus they're easier to make than rice crispy treats and a heck of a lot better for you.

The rest of the stuff I prepared will each be their own blog post, including one breakfast/brunch recipe and one Foodbuzz review and recipe with KC Masterpiece's new Southern-Style BBQ sauce.

Coconut, Date, and Walnut Lunchbox Treats
Printable Recipe

1/4 cup unsweetened dried flaked coconut
1/4 cup walnuts
25 pitted dates

1. Add add the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse. When the mixture breaks down a little bit, turn on the machine to run until the mixture sticks together when you press it with your fingers.

2. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Add the nut mixture to the pan, using the overhanging wrap to help you press the mixture into a smooth layer. Cover completely with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

3. Lift the bars out of the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut into 6 bars and wrap individually. Store in the refrigerator to keep firm, but they are also fine at room temperature (ideal for a lunchbox).

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