Date Bars and Industry News

First, for the fun part. I was checking out a few blogs yesterday, namely, Naturally Ella, and I came across her post about making her own Lara Bars. I’ve never bought Lara Bars, but now that I’m on the go so frequently, between school and internship and jobs, those bars at the store have started to look appealing, despite their hefty price tag. My frugality always prevails, and I never buy them, but then I am often left with a growling stomach and no healthy choice to satiate. Hence, the very attractive possibility of making my own Lara Bars! Ella directs her readers to this site, use real butter, for a good template recipe. I decided to keep my bars incredibly simple, and just make a small, test batch this time around. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

1 cup dates, roughly chopped (I don’t buy the Mejool Dates anymore, they are too pricey. The humbler dates work just fine)

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup unsalted raw almonds

tiny bit of water

Method

Process the dates in your food processor until they form a gooey, still slightly chunky, paste. You may need too add a trickle of water, like I did. I probably added a 1/2 tsp or so– definitely take it slow while adding water.

Remove the dates from the processor and put the date paste in a medium sized mixing bowl

Add the oats and almonds to the processor (I didn’t even wash the processor in between and it was fine) and process until you have a fairly chunky mix. You want to see some larger pieces of almonds, but mostly small bits.

Scrape the oat/nut mixture into the bowl the date paste and mix with your hands until all the oat/nut is incorporated.

Spread the mixture into a small dish, smoothing it out to make any shape you want, with any thickness.

Place dish in fridge and in half and hour to an hour, you’ll have yourself some delicious date bars, a la Lara.

IMG_1332
New picks from second batch
IMG_1334
A little chunkier this time

IMG_1329
It’s so easy, and the product is better than any store-bought bar I’ve ever had.
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You can see I sampled it generously…

Enough about date bars for the moment– there’s some serious business to discuss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– if you are at all interested in food, you should subscribe to Food Politics, Marion Nestle’s website, and get her daily email. It’s always interesting and informative. You might be thinking, I’m interested in food, as in recipes, not politics. Well, food and politics are in bed together– it’s the unavoidable truth.

That being said, today’s post brought some disappointing news on the Industrial Ag front. Nestle, who sits on the Pew Charitable Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, reported that the Commission’s suggestions, published five years ago in a groundbreaking report, have been largely ignored by the federal government. My other favorite environment/agriculture/sustainability group, The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, weighed in too. It seems as though we, the people who care about the harm that our industrial farm system is doing to our environment and our health (which are inseparable), as well as the ethical implications of how we treat animals, need to escalate our efforts to change the status-quo. One of the first steps in doing so is educating yourself on the issues, and spreading the word. I think once you know what’s happening and how it affects you, your family, your neighbor, your world, you might feel compelled to take a stand.

If you’re loving the idea of going down this kind of rabbit hole, make sure to stop here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ for Frontline’s new piece on antibiotic resistant bacteria. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I heard the lead journalist interviewed the other day and it sounds like a fascinating report.

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