Saturday, September 22, 2012

raw date nut bars: my answer to 5 a.m.

There was finally a total and complete lack of sunshine in the sky today, friends.  A few drizzly drops of rain even fell from the greyness up above, scaring all the recent California transplants that have started at work since summer began.  People actually fear the weather here, especially those that haven't lived it yet.  What if eight months of damp pant legs and overcast skies is too much?

It can get tedious around these parts come February, but I've found after nearly a decade of living that I actually crave the gloomier months.  My knitting needles make their way into my hands more often, I bake more, eat more pho, read more books, and cuddle more with my sweetheart under warm, fluffy blankets.

We'll soon be adding another layer to our bedding and cranking up the radiator.  Perfect timing, I suppose, what with today being the first official day of fall.  My favorite season.

Despite my love for colored leaves and pumpkin patches, I do find that the shorter days add another layer of difficulty to my daily grind.  Waking up to an alarm at 4 am (no that wasn't a typo), trudging through the wet streets of the sleeping city, and doing what I must to pay the bills and put food on the table does become more arduous.  Add to that the horrors joys of the holiday retail environment and the constant threats of cold and flu, and the challenges continue to pile up.

I take a lot of vitamin-C, and wash my hands (poor things) like a madwoman at my workplace.  Ample sleep and water drinking help, as well.  One of my major weaknesses, though, in the Keep Myself Healthy for Winter Campaign, is consistently eating a decent breakfast.

It's not an easy task, when the alarm is screeching at such an early hour.  It's not like I'm eager to jump out of bed fifteen minutes early (or even 5, let's be real) to munch on some granola.  Mornings are like a symphony of snoozes from about 4:00 to 4:15, when I pretend like I'm getting needed rest but really just don't want to leave the cozy cocoon of my bed.  Then it's a race to the bathroom for face washing, teeth brushing, hair taming, and contact lens poking.  By the time my pants are zipped and I've found my left shoe, the clock is telling me that I better get my butt to the bus stop, unless I want to be run-walking uphill for the twenty minutes it would take me to get to my job five minutes late.

You'll notice that breakfast wasn't even mentioned in that little drama.

So, I've been thinking of ways to create a grab and go themed breakfast for work days.  I realize that I could just buy some sort of bar thing or yogurt in a straw or toast a piece of commercially produced GF bread, or whatever, but the goal here is to maintain health, people, not chow on a bunch of processed sugary junk.

So I came up with my own homemade bar thing.  One that's barely sweet with dates and full of nuts and superfoods, like cacao and chia seeds.  I'd like to tell you more about cacao and chia seeds very soon, because I think they're foods we should all be eating, but it'll have to wait for another day.  I've been up since 4 am.

But at least I ate an awesome breakfast.  Happy autumn, friends.

Raw Date Nut Bars
makes 8 bars
gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, raw

12 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 C. raw almonds
1/2 C. raw hazelnuts
2 T. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 C. raw cacao powder

  • Place dates in food processor, and pulse until well chopped and beginning to form a ball.  Add almonds and hazelnuts and pulse until finely chopped with some larger pieces remaining.  Add chia seeds, salt and cacao powder and process until well combined.

  • Scrape mixture into medium bowl and, with damp hands, press into a ball, kneading to incorporate any stray crumbs.  Turn ball out onto a piece of parchment paper, cover with a second piece of parchment, and press into a rough rectangle shape, about 1" thick.

  • Remove top piece of parchment and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces.  Mold each bar into uniform shape, wrap with a rectangle of parchment and tape or tie to seal.


  1. Hi I just made these and they turned out great! I didn't have cacoa powder so I subsitituted it for dessicated coconut. Really yummy!

    1. Awesome, Georgie! I'm glad you liked them! And it sounds like your substitution worked great. Thanks for the feedback :)


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