Last week, I decided to take the Eating Rules October Unprocessed challenge and pledge to eat only unprocessed foods for the whole month. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal because I eat unprocessed food most of the time, anyway. But not all the time. I had to purge my refrigerator of Earth Balance, almond milk, and store-bought guacamole and purchase purer alternatives to my soy sauce, hummus, peanut butter, and soy milk.
One of my biggest hurdles would be CLIF bars, since they’ve been my go-to starvation-prevention snack for the past six months. I don’t actually end up eating too many of them – maybe one or two per week – but I like just knowing they’re in my purse in case I need them.
An anonymous commenter on the post in which I announced my pledge suggested I make my own CLIF bars and attached a recipe. Using that recipe and some similar ones (and enlisting the help of my Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego, who manages all the trickier tasks in the kitchen), I concocted the following recipe:
Unprocessed Maple Almond Oat Bars
2 cups uncooked oats
3 tbsp ground flax seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup maple syrup (100% pure, obviously)
2 tbsp unprocessed brown sugar
1/3 cup unprocessed almond butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
First, I mixed the oats, flax, and almonds together in a big bowl:
Then it was time to enlist the help of my Reasonably Skilled Alter-Ego. She brought the maple syrup and brown sugar to a boil in a pan, stirring them constantly. Obviously, they didn’t burn to the bottom of the pan because unlike me, my alter-ego is a Person of Reasonable Skill. Then she removed them from the heat and mixed in the almond butter and vanilla extract:
I poured the melted stuff over the dry stuff and stirred it all up. I packed it into an 8-inch pan and wondered how it would ever turn into solid bars. It just didn’t look like it would hold together. So I stuck it in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. When I took it out, it was holding together just fine and I was able to slice it into bar-sized snacks.
They’re tasty! Unfortunately, when you try to pick them up to bite into them on a hot day (like today), they kind of fall apart. Oh, well. I still mark this as a successful foray into unprocessed cooking and it gives me hope for the coming month.
Photo credit: Meghan