Fruit and Nuts and Flax Seed, oh my!

20 Nov

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have just started working at my dream company, Destination DC, about a month ago. Actually, today is my one-month anniversary! Wooooo –  pop them bottles! Or, better yet,  just make me some hot chocolate. And give me a blanket, my Happy Feet slippers and a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. That’s MY kinda party these days!

I was so happy to start work, not only because I was itching to re-join the real world and excited to get my career going in the DC world, but also just to get in a normal, daily routine again. Don’t get me wrong, being unemployed had its serious perks. I never counted my hours of sleep, always got to watch the entire Today Show, including Hoda & Kathie Lee (ahhh, how I miss those two!) and obviously cooked, ate and cooked and ate when I pleased. However, this also meant that I was a bit out-of-whack. I’d wake up, hang out (watch Hoda & Kathie Lee…) drink some coffee and decided if I was going to go for a walk, go to the gym or go to the grocery store. Guess which choice was my favorite! I figured if I went to the grocery store, I would be walking, which in turn would turn into a workout. And it was a workout, for my legs AND for my credit card! Which, again, did not support my unemployment. But it did make for some full, versatile cupboards!

Needless to say, work has not only satisfied my professional mojo, but got my meal & snack schedule back on-track. Oh, and wait – did I mention I’ve become a bit of a runner?

(Insert all three of my brothers saying, “Yea, riiiiight Anne Marie. Running to the mall?”)

After seeing Matt run the Army 10-Miler, and seeing all the glory and personal gratification that comes from such an accomplishment, I decided that I, too, wanted to run. Even if it was just a mile or two, I wanted – I needed – to experience that feeling.

And about one month later, I’m up to four miles! And I absolutely (wait for it….) LOVE it! Instead of dreading my workout, I actually am excited to get up, get outside and run my little legs out.

So, mix working and running and you get a very hungry little chick! I eat a big breakfast in the morning (compliments of Matthew) and by the time I get to work, I’m already starving. So, when I saw these fruit & nut bars on one of my very favorite blogs, Oh She Glows, I knew that they would be the perfect power snack for before lunch, before dinner or before a long run!

I was so pleasantly surprised with the “flax egg,” as I had ye tot try this concoction. It really did thicken up after ten minutes, and worked magically in the recipe, just as an egg would. Now I’m obsessed with turning every egg in my baking recipes into a flax egg! Even my own “healthy = tasteless” Mama Ro would never know the difference 🙂

Fruit & Nut Squares

(adapted from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup  light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted, pecans chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped dates (or figs…I actually didn’t have either so I had to omit this!)
  • 1 cup dried apricots, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (I used the unsweetened vanilla kind)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper across both sides for easy lifting.

In a small bowl, mix together the flax egg and set aside. In about 10 minutes, it will thicken up!

Chop walnuts, almonds and pecans and spread onto a baking sheet. Toast for for 8-9 minutes, then remove and let cool for a bit. I have always skipped this step in the past, but Angela recommended to not skip this step, so I listened. And she was right – much better flavor!

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the toasted nuts and chopped dried fruit. Stir well, making sure that every bit is coated in the flour mixture.

Mix the vanilla into the flax egg, after it has thickened up (about 10 minutes).

Add the flax egg mixture and the 1 tbsp almond milk to the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well, making sure that everything is coated. Spread into the pan, pressing down to make sure it is even. ( I put another sheet wax paper over the pan and pressed down with the palms of my hands to insure an even terrain!)

Bake for about 33-35 minutes at 325 or until golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. then, transfer back into the pan and place in freezer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from freezer, remove from pan once again and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Slice with a sharp knife and get your power snacking on! This gave me about 16 squares, but you can cut as big or small as you’d like.

Ok, time to run! (Literally :))

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2 Responses to “Fruit and Nuts and Flax Seed, oh my!”

  1. Kristi Rimkus November 21, 2010 at 12:14 am #

    Your recipe looks like the perfect power bar to me! So many nutritious ingredients. Who wouldn’t love it!

    • aminnuto November 21, 2010 at 9:51 am #

      I know! Thank goodness they’re good for you…because they are SERIOUSLY addicting! Thanks for reading 🙂

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