Homemade Larabars

Being back in classes has been a huge adjustment. I’m used to the usual three-month summer break between school years, but I just went nine months without being in school. While it’s really nice to have three hours in the middle of the day to do nothing, I’m also up way later than usual doing homework (so much homework…) and getting organized for the next day.

A few things that have been keeping me going and making my transition easier:

1. Candles. I have so many soy candles in my room and I am obsessed with them! I burn them all the time and they really help calm me down when I’m super stressed out. My current favorites? A coconut lime candle that I got from Mark, and a macadamia nut one from my mom!

2. TONS of water. I have been drinking about 12 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. I don’t drink coffee and I try to only drink tea when I really need it, so water is what wakes me up and keeps me energized! In the morning, I’ll usually squeeze half a lemon into my water bottle, and after lunch I’ll either put sliced cucumber or fresh mint in for a little extra flavor!

3. To-Do Lists. I am  the queen of making lists (in case you couldn’t tell from this post…). Especially to-do lists! I’ve been taking blank printing paper and writing out huge to-do lists with everything I need to get done during each week… so helpful!

4. Chocolate Strawberry Shakes. Technically, this is a smoothie (and how I start most of my mornings…) but it tastes so indulgent and decadent that I like to think of it as a shake! I’ve been including frozen banana slices, frozen strawberries, chocolate almond milk, and vegan protein powder in mine!

5. Homemade Larabars:

Since I’m back in classes at Drexel, I needed some really easy snacks (that I wouldn’t get bored with) to take with me to my classes. Last weekend, I made OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites without the chocolate chips, as well as her chia crackers. Once I realized just how easy Larabar-type breakfast bars are to make, I was on a huge bar-making kick!

These keep me full for hours and on top of that, are SO delicious! I have two varieties for you… I would suggest making both 😉

Coconut Cream Pie Breakfast Bars

inspired by OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites & Larabars

Ingredients:

  • 8 Pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1/2 C Unsweeted Shredded Coconut
  • 3/4 C Raw Almonds
  • 1/4 C Raw Cashews
  • 3 tsp (solid) Coconut Oil

In a food processor, process the almonds until completely chopped. You do not, however, want it to be an almond meal.

It is ok if a few larger chunks remain. Once chopped, add the cashews and the dates, and process until completely combined. Add the coconut oil and process until a dough starts to form, about 1 minute. Spoon the mixture between two pieces of wax paper and roll out until the top is smooth and the mixture is at your desired thickness- I usually let mine be about half an inch thick.

Cut to desired size (mine are about half the size of actual Larabars).

Gingersnap Breakfast Bars

Inspired by OhSheGlows’ Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites & Larabars

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C Raw Almonds
  • 1/4 C Raw Pecans
  • 8 Pitted Medjool Dates
  • 1 heaping tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • tiny pinch of ground cloves

In a food processor, process the almonds and pecans until mostly chopped (again– do not let it become a floury meal). Add the dates and process until a dough forms. Finally, add in the spices and process for an additional 30 seconds.

Once again, spoon the mixture between two pieces of wax paper, roll out, and cut to desired thickness.

These bars give me lasting energy– enough to get through seven hours at the library 😉 Both varieties are pretty rich, but they’re a perfect pop of flavor to help wake me up early in the morning!  They’re so unbelievably easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Vegan Irish Potatoes

I grew up in an area where everyone’s either Irish, Italian, or both. I am Norwegian and Jewish.  However, because of my surroundings, Irish Potato candies are one of my absolute favorite treats.  I can’t explain what it is about these little candies… the combination of sugar and cream cheese (two of my used-to-be favorite foods), the texture of the coconut, or the dryness of the cinnamon coating. Everything about these delectable treats appeals to me; except for the dairy.

So I decided that for my first Saint Patties Day as a vegan, I deserved to make myself vegan versions of the sweet I thought I may never have again.

Vegan Irish Potatoes

Makes about 20 large candies

Ingredients:

1/2 C Plain Vegan Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti)

1/4 C Vegan Margarine, like Earth Balance

4 C Confectioners Sugar

1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 C Shredded Coconut

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Cinnamon

In a large bowl, beat the Cream Cheese and Margarine together until the mixture is creamy and well combined. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla while mixing. Beat until the mixture looks like thick frosting. Add coconut and salt and continue to mix at a high speed for about a minute.

Once completely combined, you’ll want to get a small bowl and sprinkle a generous layer of cinnamon into it. With dry hands, scoop a ping-pong ball sized scoop of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball. The mixture will be sticky and will stick to your hands (Sorry…) Lightly roll the mixture in your palms to form a ball and then drop into the cinnamon.

Pick up the bowl and swirl it around, coating the candy in cinnamon. Once completely coated, place on a tray that is coated with wax or parchment paper (be sure to choose a tray or plate that will fit into your refrigerator.)

Continue this process until all of the mixture is used up– you may need to add more cinnamon to your bowl every couple of candies. Once you’ve used up all of the cream cheese mixture, place the tray of completed candies into the fridge for at least an hour to set.

These taste exactly how I remembered them. They’re firm but chewy, and have that distinct cinnamon-coated texture and coconut-filled center.

I couldn’t help but “sneak” a few bites…

… If you can call it sneaky. 😉

So whip up a batch of these Vegan Irish Potatoes, pour yourself a brew, and enjoy your St. Patty’s Day!