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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

MoFo, day 5: Trailmix Bars

For those of you stumbling on Food Feud via MoFo, I volunteer as a Veggie Educator at a food pantry on Thursday mornings, talking to clients about the organic vegetables we get from a local farm in upstate New York. I talk a little bit about the health benefits of the week's vegetables and offer ideas on how to prepare them since unfamiliar foods will often go unused if the client doesn't know what it is, or how to eat it. Unfortunately, urban and underprivileged populations are far too often unfamiliar with many varieties of vegetables. The pantry is a really good experience and I learn a lot from the other volunteers and the clients (and I hope they learn something from me!)
I go to work after the food pantry and don't take a lunch break to make up the hours. Because of this, I need to pack a lunch and snacks that are easily eaten at my desk. Usually this is a salad, some fruit, and a snack bar. I'm trying not to buy snack bars anymore, so tonight I made one instead, using Jess's recipe for Trailmix Bars that she posts on her blog, Cupcakes and Kale (guess what her MoFo theme is!).

These bars are sure to hold me over tomorrow, as they are packed with all kinds of chunky goodness. The vanilla flavor is really delicate and nice with the cranberries and dates, and sunflower seeds are almost always a win with me. They're inexpensive and packed with protein. The chia seeds provide fiber and omega-3s, and well as a crunch that I love.

I did have a hard time getting the "dough" sticky enough to hold together. Keeping them in the freezer makes it easier, but I would still suggest cutting them straight from the freezer and then wrapping them individually since they will warm up and crumble a bit when in transit.
Notably, this was my first time using spelt flour! I usually don't want to buy it for one specific thing, so I'll pass on a recipe. This would probably work with any other kind of flour but I feel like it's never a bad idea to cut back on gluten. I got the flour from the farmers market. It was grown and ground at a local farm, something I think my program at the food pantry would approve of!
More on cutting back on gluten and farmers market goods tomorrow....


  1. Wow, those bars look pretty amazing. Yum :)

  2. Quite the toothsome-looking bars you've got there. They look like a substantial snack for sure. (I'm sure you know this but some of your readers might not. Spelt is a form of wheat and has gluten. It's tolerated by some people who can't eat wheat but is not OK for people with celiac.)

  3. Wow those look DELICIOUS! I really have to try this. I bet you can substitute oat flour to make them gluten free and still super trail mixy?

  4. I didn't know you didn't take a lunch break. You're so nice to volunteer. Those look really good, for sure.

  5. That is really, really cool that you volunteer as a veggie educator. I've never even heard of groups where you can learn about different vegetables, but I can see how it would be very useful, as a lot of people really don't know about certain foods (me included!).

    I have also been making my own bars for the past couple of weeks. I tried making my own Larabar today but somehow they just don't taste the same. And the only ingredients are cashews and dates! That's okay though. Now I have this trail-mix bar to try. :)

  6. I love that you're a Veggie Educator! I've never heard of that before and think it's amazing - and so cool that you're giving up your time to do it!

    Also, I'd really like to try making my own healthy trail mix bars. I always bookmark recipes and then never end up doing it, but your post has me convinced that I need to go for it :)

  7. these look great! so glad they're going to help get you through a busy day. i'd love to hear more about this veggie educator work too - sounds like some of the work i did at our local food co-op last year :)

  8. What an awesome volunteer experience. I think I'm the veggie educator at my job these days, and I've concluded that even folks with decent jobs don't know what to do with fresh, seasonal vegetables. I wish I could be full-time veggie educator, adding it to my list of dream jobs :)

    The bars sound good! Speaking of Jess, I'm definitely making the French toast cupcake she posted today.

  9. I knew you volunteered at the pantry, but didn't know the veggie educator part! That's cool. I'm sure they learn a lot, so many people, urban/underpriveleged or no, don't know enough about veggies and their benefits.

    Those trail bars are packed with goodies...they look satisfying.

  10. Those bars sound great! I was thinking the same thing that VaVa said about oat flour. A must try for sure!

  11. Those look great. That's awesome that you volunteer your time :)

  12. Thanks, Bobbie. They were very good.

    Thanks, Andrea! The woman at the market said they had less gluten than wheat but I don't really know what that means.

    VAVA, the bars already contain ground oats (mixed with cashews and the spelt) but yeah, you probably could just sub out the rest as well.

    Jenny, the day goes pretty quickly even without a break since I get there late. The only hard part is missing the natural light since I work in a basement!

    Isobelle, the Veggie Educator work is partially through the food pantry and partially through a food justice organization I'm affiliated with. And you're right, homemade Larabars are oddly hard to recreate!

    Thanks, JD - what part of Brooklyn are you in? The pantry is in Crown Heights.

    Jess, that co-op job sounds great. I've written a few posts about the pantry but I'm going to do a roundup after it ends. It's a great experience with a varied crowd. And the bars are so great! I may have been sitting in a chair and not hiking up a hill, but they did the job. Thanks for the recipe!

    Nikki, definitely plenty of people need veggie education! Mega grocery stores have us cut back on so many varieties of produce. I SAW that cupcake and am drooling!

    Rose, you're right - I didn't mean to make it sound like it's only urban and underpriveleged folks - maybe I should have said, "disproportionately." In Brooklyn especially, we have food deserts and a dependence on public transportation so we can really only get food that's close to us, and that gets so limiting that no one knows otherwise. It's sad and angering.

    Michelle, one of you must try it with all oats!

    Leslie, thank you annndddd thank you.

  13. So when the bars crumble, do they then become just 'Trail Mix'?

  14. Trail mix is ​​a combination of dried fruits, grains, seeds and nuts. Known as trail mix, which considered it the perfect food to go out because it is light, healthy and give you a quick boost of carbohydrate. Recently, trail mix has become very popular because of this healthy mix of food and the fact it is so widely available.


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