I wish I could stop time in the grocery store and peer into other people's carts. Is the hot yoga lady buying fat-free yogurt, or frozen mac and cheese? Is the old man buying bran or Trix? Is the mom with the screaming toddler buying wine, and if so, will she suck it down before 5pm?
But then I worry that if time stopped, people would see what was in my cart. In fact, I often wonder what the checkout folks think when they scan my purchases. Do they get me? What do they make of the six pounds of butter, the tortilla chips, and the flax? Is it weird that I buy organic eggs but not organic bananas? Is it wrong for one person to buy so much cheese?
I look around to see if any of my friends are in the store. I could always say the Larabars were for someone else, because god knows, I've written enough about not buying convenience foods. How many articles have I penned about making fruits and vegetables more "grabbable" by prepping them in advance for on-the-go snackage? What the hell was I doing buying pricey, individually-wrapped bars? That I kept them in the car for "emergencies" (like boredom) didn't erase the fact that with some more advance planning I could probably do better. I could also walk everywhere, never swear, and stop drinking so much caffeine.
Happily, I finally did break the Larabar habit, and here's how: My friend Tracy devised her own homemade version, and they're super easy to make. I took her concept and ran with it, tossing in goji berries, cacao nibs, flax, and toasted oats, and making the portions bite-size so the recipe yields a ton. I refrigerated some and froze the rest. Now I can grab a nugget any time for a quick snack on the go.
I still cuss, drive, and drink too much caffeine, but if you berate me for it, I'll lob a frozen nibby nugget right at your head. And trust me: that would smart.
Recipe for Goji Nibby Nuggets
If you like to snack and need something quick and grabbable, you will absolutely love these. I readily admit that the raw ingredients aren't cheap -- goji berries and cacao nibs can cost $8-$9 per 4 to 8-ounce bag, and good dates are pricey, too. (Tip: I buy my dates at a Middle Eastern grocery, where they cost less than half the price of those at the natural foods store.) Keep in mind that although your upfront costs may seem high, individually wrapped bars will cost you much more. You can also swap out the bits for sunflower seeds, pepitas, or other crunchy tidbits of your choosing.
Inspired by the Lemon Date Energy Bars on Shutterbean
Makes 30 pieces
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
12 ounces pitted dates (I used the deglet noor variety), rough-chopped
1 cup dry roasted, unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons almond milk
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup cacao nibs
Toast the oats in a toasted oven or preheated 350 degree oven until slightly browned, shaking the baking pan once or twice to prevent burning, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool.
In a food processor, grind the dates, pistachios, cashews, flax, and oats for 30 seconds, or until all ingredients are reduced to a uniform texture. Add the extract and almond milk and pulse in 1 second bursts. Add the goji berries and nibs and pulse about 20 times more, or until tiny colorful bits are evenly distributed throughout the "dough" and no large chunks remain (unless you'd like them there).
Line a baking sheet with wax paper or silpat. Using a small scoop, portion out the dough into 30 mounds. With slightly wet hands (to prevent sticking), carefully press each mound into a nugget. Set on the prepared sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour, covered lightly with plastic wrap. The longer you chill them, the firmer they'll be, but they'll never become hard. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze until solid and then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag.