No-Bake Adventure Bites
If you live in Colorado, you know what I'm about to say. It has to do with the weather this past weekend.
Could we have had a more perfect few days? It got a little blustery near the end there, but Saturday was one of the most ideal, picture-perfect bluebird days I may have ever seen this time of year. Of course, I am one of those weird people who loves the cold and a good blizzard during the winter... but this winter has been so mild, it's almost been like an extended tease of spring since November. That said, I'm ready for spring if winter isn't going to show up.
Anyway, we had to get outside. We planned this hike in Rocky Mountain National Park a few weeks ago, totally unaware of what the weather would decide to do and fully prepared to change our plans if it was as unpredictable as it usually is. We planned to leave at 5:45 AM on Saturday morning to beat the crowds and get an early start on the trail, but a few factors made us fashionably late and, long story short, we arrived with plenty of other hikers swarming the parking lot. It was a balmy 41 degrees, so we shed the multiple layers of clothing that we packed, strapped on our gaiters and snowshoes and started the day. It is the most satisfying feeling to watch nearly every other hiker take one trail -- toward the Emerald, Nymph and Dream lakes, of course -- while we veered off and took another. SEE YA.
Naturally, in the days leading up to the hike, I was focused on snacks. Snacks are really important. I'm always thinking about snacks, but when there's a 10-mile snowshoe hike on the horizon, snacks are pretty much all I think about. And usually I'll just bring along some fruit snacks or Clif bars or some sandwiches, and they do just fine... but I remembered this hike from when I trekked it alone last year, and I remembered a lot of things about it like forgetting to bring along sunglasses and having bloodshot eyes for a week afterward, or having my water bottle fall out of my pack 3 consecutive times on the same hill, or climbing up a steep slope that's a waterfall in the summer and wondering the whole way up how I'd make it back down with both legs intact... but aside from those memories, I remembered how starving I was. I didn't bring enough snacks. And it has haunted me to this day.
So we brought lots of snacks this time, and among them were these no-bake ADVENTURE bites. I know it's a cheesy name, but it has a nice ring to it so I'm keeping it.
If you look very closely, you'll see one of them suspended mid-air in one of those toss attempts you used to do in the middle school cafeteria. (That's Carson, by the way. (This photo was not his idea.)) You might be distracted by the gorgeous mountain behind him, and I totally understand that, so here they are.
The recipe is insanely versatile, and they're ready for anything in 30 minutes. We brought a bunch of these with us and they hit the spot multiple times along the way, and I'm pretty sure they're Carson's new favorite snack. PLUS, they're good for you, which is always a win-win. They're also without-a-doubt the healthiest things on this blog.
Make them for a snack to keep in your desk. Or for a quick on-the-go breakfast. Honestly you really should JUST MAKE THEM. I adapted the recipe a bit from King Arthur Flour, and the only maybe-strange ingredient you'll see on the list is dry milk - you should be able to find this in the baking section of your grocery store. The greatest thing about this recipe is this: Don't like hazelnuts? Swap in almonds. Or whatever. Don't like chia seeds? Throw in some hemp hearts. Don't like peanut butter? Use almond or sunflower butter. Seriously, when I say versatile, I mean versatile. So whip these up and get out there!
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk (optional - remove to make recipe vegan)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 cup mini semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup diced dried fruit (I used Whole Foods' tropical mix)
1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, for rolling
In a large bowl, combine nut butter, oats, honey, dry milk and vanilla. Add all remaining ingredients except the coconut, and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a cohesive mixture. If it's too dry, add more honey -- if it's too sticky, add more ground hazelnuts or oats.
Pour coconut in a small bowl. Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out tablespoon-sized portions of dough and roll into a ball. Roll dough balls in the coconut, making sure to coat all sides. Place balls on a lined 9x13 baking sheet, and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
Pack them up and you're ready to go!