Thursday, July 18, 2013

Homemade Larabars

I made four types of homemade Larabars today.   Our family LOVES them, but its so expensive to support their Larabar habit.  No really!   It is!  Those are not cheap, but to make them at home is affordable and more delicious.

I basically did a search on the internet to find recipes and picked the ones that I thought our family would enjoy the most.  I did make the Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars again.  Still my personal favorite.

I also made the following:
-Caramel Pecan Energy Larabars and Coconut Cream Energy Larabars from Running on Real Food.
(The Caramel bars are not pictured because I am  giving them an overnight in the fridge.  They seemed a little fragile so before I sliced them I wanted to be sure they are going to hold up.)

-Better than Larabars from Bonzai Aphrodite
-Hot Fudge Brownie Larabars from  Chocolate CoKatie  (these were my son Nicholas' request)

You can click on any of the above links for the recipes.  You basically put all of the ingredients into the food processor, and mix until it all comes together.  I like to fold parchment paper and leave an overhang on both sides. Then I dump the mixed ingredients into the pan and can fold the excess over the top and use another loaf pan to press them down.  This keeps it clean and makes it easy to lift out when it's firm. 

Since I made so many today, I pressed them and then removed them from the loaf pan and put each one on a large sheet pan with press and seal to keep them fresh.  Then I put them into the fridge.  The bars from the Bonzai Aphrodite made double so I put that in an 8x8 pan and pressed it down.

If you chill them overnight it's best, but I can rarely wait so I keep them in the fridge as long as I can.  When you are ready to cut them, you can flip the parchment under one side (keeps your cutting board clean).  I like to use a cutting board with measurements so that I can cut my bars evenly.

Once I have them cut I bagged them.  Last time I used parchment to wrap them.  First it uses a lot of parchment paper, and second they are fragile so the less you flip them around the better.  I used snack bag sized baggies and it worked great.  I put them in a couple of lock containers and labeled the outside so the kids can see what kinds are in each container.  I store them in the fridge.

Give it a try.  Easy and delicious!  I've got lots more I want to try too! 

Zoku Ice Pops

Do you have a Zoku ice pop maker?  You can make at least 9 ice pops with just one freeze.  Each 3 pack only needs about 10-12 minutes to get completely frozen.  Then you just pop them out with the little orange tool.  I did learn the hard way that you need to use liquid.  I tried to do a thick smoothie consistency and that was a disaster.  It got stuck and then we had to wait for it to thaw which took forever.  Then another overnight freeze.  BUT today we were successful. 

So when we finally got our ice pops...

...they were all smiles and had to try both types!

There are all kinds of recipes on the website and there is also a book you can buy.  We have the book and the boys are eager to try some of the fancier kinds like s'mores and pumpkin pie.  I can't wait to try the mojito pops.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars

When our family went gluten free, one of the hardest things to find was a bar that the kids could eat that tasted good.  We stumbled upon Larabars and they were hooked.  The problem is, they are not cheap!  They can run $1.00-$1.50 per bar.  If you have boys in the house, you know that you have to have a "go to snack" for the times you don't have time to prepare something.  We always have apples, bananas, carrot sticks, yogurt, string cheese...but sometimes they want something more substantial... and sweet.  Me too, who am I kidding.  

You may not be gluten free.  You may think your granola bar or protein bar is healthy.  Take a look at the ingredient list.  Do you recognize every ingredient on there?  Is there a LOT of sugar?  I personally am extremely aware of ingredient  lists...I don't buy a lot of packaged food, so when I do I want to know what's in it.  If it's going into my kids or my body, it needs to have substance and be nutritious.  

Okay, off my soap box.  These are EXTREMELY EASY TO MAKE!  I promise you.  There are only 4 ingredients!  Yes,  you read that correctly.  :)  And yes, you can totally make these!  Get out your food processor and these ingredients, and go for it!

I got the recipe from The Wanna Be Chef.  Just click the link to see her version.  I made mine without the salt.  Here is what I did:

makes about 6 bars


1 cup pitted dates (I used Sun Dates)
1/2 cup peanuts (I used Planters dry roasted peanuts)
2 T creamy peanut butter (I used Natural Jif Creamy)
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips (I used Ghiardelli)

  1. Place dates and peanuts into a food processor and process until it starts to form a paste.
  2. Add peanut butter and process until a "dough" starts to form.
  3. Add miniature chips and pulse (just enough to combine). 
  4. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, with overhang on each side.  Add ingredients and spread out into loaf pan.  Fold parchment side over mixture and place another loaf pan on top to press into bars.  
  5. Refrigerate until bars hold together (1-2 hours per other recipes).  I put mine into the freezer for 30 minutes and they held together.  
  6. Remove from pan with overhang from the parchment and slice into bars.  
  7. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  

 I stored mine like this with a lid and put them in the fridge.  You can store them in an airtight container in the pantry too, but if you've had a Larabar you know they can get sticky if too warm.  Give it a try.  You won't be disappointed.  And you save a TON of money doing it yourself!