I am a bit klutzy. No, I am klutzy. It’s something I have come to accept about myself. It’s OK. 🙂 When I got married in 2010, I bought my dress from this little place in St. Paul, Minnesota. All of their dressing rooms were up a flight of stairs from the main floor. My parents came in from Illinois to help me pick out my dress and be part of that special moment when their daughter emerges from the dressing room beaming from ear-to-ear. When I put on the “the one” I knew it immediately. I was so excited to reveal it to my parents that any ounce of grace and elegance that I had painstakingly acquired over my adult years had flown out the window. On my way down those stairs from the dressing room the heel of my borrowed shoe that was a half size too small caught. I instantaneously lost all control of my legs and feet and couldn’t recover. In full view of my parents and others in the lobby, I came down those stairs in a off-white flurry with the occasional spotting of my terror-stricken face. In my tumble I remember catching glimpses of my parent’s faces – eyes wide and mouths wide open. I honestly don’t remember how I landed after that tumble (face first?), but, amazingly, the dress survived and I actually purchased the sample (to the relief of the salon owner I’m sure).
I don’t have reoccurring nightmares of this hilarious event, but I thought of it today during my trip up to my bedroom to take photos for this recipe. See, in the food blogging world we need a little 3 ft by 3 ft square (maybe more if we’re going nuts!) to set up our scenes. My little reliable square of light was previously on my kitchen table. I would clear crumbs, kids cups, etc. and set up the scene. But now that it’s winter in Minnesota, the light has changed and I haul all my props up to my bedroom which is the only room with light I can count on for the majority of the day. I nervously walk up those stairs balancing boards, plated food, utensils, napkins, etc. I would by lying if I didn’t admit that I am afraid of tripping and having broccoli soup projectile across my stairs, walls, and railing. And why wouldn’t I just take two trips? Because that would just take tooooo long. Right? Thankfully, photographing these delish bars was a calm and cool endeavor. The worst part of falling would be having to make this recipe again, and currently my family is eating about two batches a week. (We may need to slow down a bit.)
In my world, I believe that even food considered a treat can and should be nourishing. Sun butter (sun flower seeds ground up into a smooth texture similar to peanut butter) does just that. It has recently been making the rounds more at my home. At first my kids were a little turned off by the taste. So, I experimented with a no-bake bar that would win them over. And now I’m sharing it with you! Here’s what I love about these bars – no added sugar beyond the dates, healthy fats in the sun butter, coconut, and hemp seeds, a little crunch from the pecans, and raw veggies (of course I’d find a way, right?). They make for an easy addition to breakfast or a little snack in the afternoon.
Hope you enjoy!
- Carrots – When you’re purchasing carrots, try to find ones with the greens still attached. You’ll know that you’re purchasing fresher carrots and you can also use the tops in other ways. You can chop them up and add them to a salad, on top of a soup, or even use them in a pesto! Also, if you buy organic carrots, give them a good washing, but resist the urge to peel them. Many nutrients reside in skins.
- Sun Butter – Try to find a product that only has one ingredient – sun flower seeds. Sun flower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, selenium, manganese, magnesium amount other vitamins and minerals.
Special Diet Recipe Modifications:
- GAPS and SCD – Remove arrowroot. I have made these bars without it and they still hold together fine. Make sure nuts are soaked and toasted.
- AIP – Remove arrowroot and pecans. I would suggest adding in an additional 1/4 cup of shredded coconut when removing both of these things.
- 3 medium carrots (about 1¼ to 1½ cups), chopped
- 5 tablespoons coconut flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot powder (optional) *
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup hemp seeds (flax meal can be substituted)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons dried ginger
- ½ teaspoon sea or himalayan salt
- 10 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped, plus more for topping
- 1 cup sun butter
- dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips for topping (optional) **
- Add all ingredients except the dates, pecans and sun butter into a food processor. Blend until carrots are broken up into tiny pieces, about 10-15 seconds.
- Add in dates and blend until the dates are broken up and well combined, another 10 seconds.
- Add in the pecans and sun butter and blend until well combined. You may need to stop the food processor and scrap the sides or break up the batter a few times.
- Taste for sweetness and add maple syrup if desired.
- Cover an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper hangs off the edges so the squares are easy to lift out. You can definitely use a larger pan, the squares will just be thinner.
- Spread the batter into the pan and smooth it down as best as possible. I find that my hands are the best tool for this.
- Add pecan and chocolate toppings to the squares and gently press them in.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour and cut into small (2" x 2") squares to serve.
- Covered and stored in the refrigerator, these bars will last about 3-4 days.
** If following a dairy-free diet, make sure the chocolate chips you choose are appropriate. Extra pecans or walnuts also work as a replacement for the chocolate.