Sunday, March 31, 2013

[Road Trippin'] Mixed CD + Easy Energy Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I love road trips. I know many people who dread them and would hands down rather fly anywhere than drive. Not me. If I can drive somewhere I'll do it. I'm not sure if it's the great music accompanied by loud out-of-tune singing or the gas station stops where everyone races to the bathroom because they've been holding it for the last three hours. Perhaps it's trying out new food in new places or the bonding that will enviably occur. Maybe it's that on a road trip the travel time is just as much a part of the vacation as the vacation itself is; you know,it's about the journey, not the destination sort of thing. No matter the reason, road trips are guaranteed to be an adventure!

Tomorrow I begin a thirty hour road trip to my new home in Colorado. The first four hours I will embark on alone, but once I get to PA the fun really begins! My friend/ old roommate/ new roommate, Molly is one of my favorite people to road trip and explore with so I know this will be a great trip!

Crucial to any road trip is great music. No question about it. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time I usually do to prepare multiple mix CDs, but I did have time to create one tonight.

Dive- Matt Costa
Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) -Arcade Fire
It's Not You It's Me -Coconut Records
Private Lawns -Angus and Julia Stone
Little Black Submarines -The Black Keys
Into The Open -Heartless Bastards
Vagabond -Wolfmother
Cross Your Fingers -Laura Marling
Song For You -Alexi Murdoch
Navigate -Band of Skulls
Honey Come Home -The Head and The Heart
The Dead Sea -The Lumineers
Working Poor -Horse Feathers
Lakehouse -Of Monsters and Men
Map of the World -Monsters of Folk

This mix starts off pretty upbeat and slowly moves to a more folksy sound, which I thought would be appropriate for the mountains of Colorado. As always, all the songs sound great driving down the highway with the windows down and the wind in your hair. 

And of course, as I mentioned above, snacks are a very important part of the road trip experience. In an attempt to help Molly and I save a little cash, I made some energy bars for us to snack on. These bars are simple to make, contain wholesome ingredients and taste great. They are vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and depending on the ingredients you use-raw. It's also really easy to switch out ingredients and customize them to your favorite flavors.

Easy Energy Bars
  • 1 Cup Raw Nuts 
  • 1 Cup Dates or Dried Apricots
  • 1/2-1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Pinch of Salt
Makes 4-5 Bars or 12-15 Bites
Throw all the ingredients in a food processor until it is finally chopped and starts to stick. At this point you can fold in any other ingredients you'd like that you didn't want chopped up such as chocolate chips, dried fruit or seeds. Then dump the "dough" out into a loaf pan lined with wax paper and firmly press it down to spread it out. Make sure it's spread out evenly and looks smooth on top. Place the bars in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes.Once the bars feel firm, pull the "dough" out with the wax paper and slice it to create the bars. I suggest storing the bars in the refrigerator, separated by wax paper so they don't stick together. For another option instead of creating bars, you can make energy bites and roll the "dough" into bite-sized balls for a quick snack. 

Some things to keep in mind when making the bars:
-Feel free to play around slightly with the ratios or to use a half a cup of two different type of nuts or seeds.
-When picking out dried fruit at the store, read the labels, make sure the only ingredient listed is the fruit you're buying, they like to sneak in other stuff like sugar and preservatives.

Some of my favorite combinations:
Apricots, Cashews, Dried Blueberries, Vanilla Extract
Dates, Sunflower Seeds, Vanilla Extract, Chocolate Chips
Dates, Almonds, Espresso, Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Extract
Dates, Pecans, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon
Apricots, Macadamia Nuts, Candied Ginger, Dried Mango and Pineapple

Okay, I've babbled on long enough. Now it's your turn.
What are your go-to road trip songs?
Where would your dream road trip be/ go?
What flavor combination would you create for the bars?

Hope you all had a Happy Easter!

Peace & Love,

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