Tag Archives: homemade larabars

“Lara”balls Meet Cookie Cutters and the Only Paleo “Cookie”

16 Aug


The other day my little buddy was begging for a “bar” as a mid-morning snack.  In our house, “bar” means Larabar and I still haven’t found a grocery store in our new town that carries them. It was rainy and there was already a bit too much whining before noon, so I decided that we would make “Lara”balls with a new twist. We broke out the cookie cutters! My plan worked. It was a fun activity to do together and the leftovers made perfect lunchbox treats for my girls.

It’s really this simple:

  1. Use one of our “Lara”ball recipes found here or here.
  2. Flatten out the mixture on a piece of parchment paper to desired thickness.
  3. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make shapes.
  4. Re-smoosh the mixture and flatten again until it’s all used up.
  5. Sneak scraps from cookie cutter edges along the way!
  6. See your kiddos face light up as if you just thought of the most amazing idea ever!

These little cuties led me to try the same thing with last week’s easy homemade beef jerky. The result was equally adorable pieces of beef jerky that are best described as the ONLY TRULY paleo cookie there ever will be. Sorry. I’m as guilty as anyone whipping up health-ier versions of treats from a past life, but in the end they are still treats. Treat them that way, don’t make them a staple, and in the mean time enjoy some meat in the shape of a heart. Who can resist? Watch out Christmas sugar cookie cutouts!

  1. Follow our beef jerky recipe or your own version to make meat mixture.
  2. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness.
  3. Use your favorite cookie cutters to make shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. It works best if you lift the cookie cutter up with the meat mixture inside, push in any meat mixture hanging around, and then take it out to put on the baking sheet.
  4. Re-smoosh the mixture and flatten again until it’s mostly used up (I cooked up the final scraps in a quick sauté as a snack!)
  5. Bake at 200 with wooden spoon cracked in oven door for 4-6 hours, turning once halfway through.
  6. Eat within 1-2 days or refrigerate for the week.
  7. Surprise your kids with a one of kind lunchbox treat.




More “Lara” balls please!

22 May

“Lara” balls are a hot commodity in our little corner of the world. Everyone we introduce to them instantly falls for their deliciousness, ease to make, and simple clean ingredient list. They are also perfect for kids and babies…bite sized, not too crunchy balls of high protein/high fat/naturally sweet yummy goodness.

I have the distinct pleasure of hosting an amazing group of cadet women most Friday evenings to unwind from the week. They are often my test group for recipes and they too have fallen for “Lara” balls. Here are a few new concoctions we tested recently to keep your “Lara” ball stock interesting:

No Bake Fig Newtons
If you used to love Fig Newtons, you will love these!

  • 2 cups nuts of your choice (I like a mix of almonds, walnuts and pecans)
  • 1 cup figs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
Cherry Pistachio
Fun, different and colorful! 

  • 2 cups pistachios, shelled
  • 1 cup dried cherries or craisins
  • 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp warm water (add at the end if the mixture is not sticky enough)

Macadamia Medley
Irresistibly buttery 

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Kona Coconut
Inspiration came from a cup of Green Mountain Island Coconut coffee I had the other day that was sinfully delicious! 

  • 2 cups nuts of your choice (I like almonds and walnuts for this one)
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt (to taste)

For all “Lara” balls: Pulse nuts in food processor, add rest of ingredients and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together enough to form balls. A lot of times I end up adding “a little more of this, a little more of that” depending on the day. Get creative! If your mixture isn’t sticking together, try adding a tsp at a time of warm water and pulse again.



Primal friendly bake sale treats

29 Mar

I love any opportunity to cook or bake for others. When a bake sale comes up I usually jump at the chance. This one was a bit challenging for me since I gave up honey for Lent, but a great exercise in willpower nonetheless!

Here are two easy options sure to please both kiddos and adults, while not compromising your inner desire to free the world from processed sugar and grains. It’s a shame my own kids picked out cake pops instead, but hey—remember it’s all about balance!

1. Almond Flour Honey Sweetened Trail Mix Cookies

  • 2.5 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter, or ghee) melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first three ingredients in large bowl. Mix together vanilla, melted oil, and honey and combine with the dry ingredients. Fold in remaining ingredients. Roll into small balls, flatten slightly and place on parchment lined baking pans. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen small cookies.

For some versatility:

  • Forego the honey to make a savory scone type treat (did this on accident once and was pleasantly surprised with the results!)
  • Use any “trail mix” ingredients: dark chocolate chips, almond slivers, raisins, chopped apricots…..

2. Homemade Larabar balls

Original Cookie Dough Flavor recipe here. Try adding 1 Tbsp of coconut oil instead of the water for added richness, and to make the mixture stick better.

Mocha Cocoa Flavor

  • 2 cups nuts of your choice
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp coffee grounds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Pulse nuts in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until finely ground, and mixture starts to clump together. Form into balls OR flatten in parchment lined 8×8 pan, refrigerate 1-2 hours, and cut into bar shapes.

Happy Thursday,


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