Nut and seed bars are what I depend on while traveling or living abroad. Last year when I was living in Europe for work it was hard to know if I was going to have time for a sit down meal or if my day was going to be filled with meeting clients or shooting. Usually it was the latter, which was not so bad because there is an endless supply of awesome nut and seed energy bars. My favorite bar is from Greece and just 2 ingredients, Honey and Sesame seeds. Its so simple yet fulfilling when you are on the go. I am a big stickler when it comes to the ingredients in energy bars. I am not a fan of anything artificial or refined and wish there was a better selection in our stores like the variety I find while abroad. Below is a picture of the bar from Greece, I had to fight my dog Lucy for it.
Ever since learning cayenne pepper helps boosts your metabolism I have been trying to incorporate more of it into my daily life (bad example because the health benefits may be lost in this case, but I love to spice up my favorite Moscow mule cocktail with a dash of cayenne). The active ingredient in cayenne is called capsaicin, which is responsible for the spiciness and possible health benefits. While eating spicy food containing capsaicin our bodies tend to produce heat and intern need to be cooled down, this forced cooling process causes us to burn more calories. There have also been studies that show cayenne pepper may help regulate blood sugar by helping to breakdown carbohydrates after a meal. So then I thought “Why not create a medicinal food bar?” Well I tried it, and I must say I am happy with the results….
Mmmm Sesame seeds another favorite ingredient. I think I could add them to pretty much anything. My favorite kind of frozen yogurt is homemade Black Sesame froyo from Sunny Blue on Main street Santa Monica. Lately I have been adding them to marinades, granola, smoothies, and even topping my homemade banana ice-cream with it. Besides the taste, Sesame seeds happen to be brimming with health benefits such has being a great source for high calcium, magnesium and they are considered a medicinal food. While doing a little research this week I stumbled upon a great article about Sesame seeds and loved this bit…
“In fact, its history as a medicine goes back 3600 years to Egyptian times where it was listed in the scrolls of the Ebers as a favored medicine. Also, women in ancient Babylon were believed to use a mixture of honey and sesame seeds (havla) to prolong youth and beauty, and Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy.”
-Article Written by Sayer Ji
Another ingredient that I am excited about using is a protein powder I found at my local Co-op called Epic. This a plant based protein powder with out any additional sweetener using real cocoa and additional Maca for an extra energy boost. I have been making some pretty mean smoothies with it and decided to add it to these truffles for a nice healthy kick. However you can add your own favorite choice of protein or healthy green powder you choose, this is just the one I used this time around. I do recommend looking out for it in your own local co-ops or health markets!
I have been using the food processor quite a bit lately, and I can tell you that my energy bar loving self is pretty happy about it. For a long time I was afraid of the machine with so many parts, I knew that meant so much cleaning, but fixing up some bars in 5 minutes changed the game. I had no idea how powerful those suckers are and now fid myself pulling it out daily. These “truffles” were made in the food processor and took about 10 minutes! I decided to roll them into balls and then roll them again in coconut flakes but you could also form them into bars and wrap in plastic wrap! I store mine in a tin I keep in the fridge (or freezer on the scorching hot days).
- 1 cup dates
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup almonds
- 2 scoops Epic Protein (or your choice protein)
- ¾ cup coconut flakes plus ¼ cup for rolling
- 2 tbs chia seeds (I used milled chia seeds-- you can also put yours in the coffee grinder)
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbs Black Sesame seeds
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbs cacao nibs
- Using a food processor add and blend the dates and vanilla until they are fairly smooth.
- While the dates are processing, add the chia seeds to the coconut milk to activate the chia seeds.
- Set Chia mixture aside
- Add almonds, coconut flakes, and black sesame seeds and pulse or process until dough like.
- Add Protein and coconut milk chia mixture.
- Blend until all is combined.
- Add cayenne, cinnamon, and cacao nibs and pulse until well mixed.
- The consistency should be dough like and you should be able to roll it into balls.
- If you would like a sweeter truffle, add honey, or coconut nectar and mix again.
- If the dough is too wet add more coconut flakes or seeds and blend.
- You can choose to roll the dough into balls or make into bars by placing parchment in 9 by 13
- Add dough and press into form, refrigerate for 30 minutes and then cut into bars.
- Refrigerate after forming and enjoy!
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes in a 9 by 13... cut into bars and serve!