This recipe was inspired by one of my closest friends in the city – a self-described addict of the homemade $3 breakfast bar at Oatmeals. In the grand scheme of things, paying $3 a day for breakfast is nothing. NYC is an island of frivolous spending – walk the city around lunchtime and you will see hoards of twenty-somethings paying $10 for a sandwich everyday, all the while struggling to afford the city’s rising rent. Even worse, many of my peers pay $3 or more for a fancy coffee drink, despite having a free coffee machine at the office.
As much as I enjoy a frothy cappuccino every once in a while, I do my best to save funds during the day so I can splurge on the Manhattan food scene at night. But I understand my friend’s love of the artisan granola bar. Filled with dried fruit and seeds and just the right amount of chew…they always taste better than the packaged bars you find at the grocery store. When I found myself in front of the Whole Foods bulk section the other day, I couldn’t resist grabbing a sampling of fruits and nuts to throw together for breakfast bars. I call these my “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” energy bites – and I bet I could peddle them for $3…they are THAT good! I know this recipe isn’t exactly minimalist, but you shouldn’t have to spend money on pricey ingredients – just supplement your pantry staples with some bulk dried fruits and nuts.
1 1/4 cups of dried fruits (I used Turkish apricots, dates, and cranberries)
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of toasted flax seeds (or flax meal)
1/4 cup of shelled and roasted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
1/4 cup of coconut shreds, unsweetened
1 cup of quick oats (use gluten-free quick oats for gluten-free balls)
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of agave nectar
2 tbsp of melted coconut oil
Dice up all of your dried fruit and combine in a large bowl with coconut, oats, seeds, and any other mix-ins you’d like.
The key is refrigerating or partially freezing the ingredients – this will make them easier to work with and will cause them to stick together when it comes time to roll them into balls. I chose a shortcut and put my bowl in the freezer for 25 minutes, but you could refrigerate for 45 minutes if you’d prefer.
Place a tray or some wax paper on a flat surface and use your hands to scoop out enough to form medium-sized balls, about 1-2 inches big.