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Years ago, Rob and I discovered these amazing raw food bars.  They were chocolate and coconut flavored.  Gosh they were tasty.  We bought out the whole lot when they went on clearance.  We mourned with every bite, knowing these would be the last we’d ever eat.  I thought about making my own but even these bars had an ingredient list that overwhelmed me.

Recently, I found two raw food recipes that I knew I had to try.  One is this recipe for Holiday Lara Bars and this recipe for No-Bake Oreo Cookies. They were so simple that I was sure it was a dream.  Each recipe took minutes to assemble.  They are sure to be a family favorite and go with our coconut oil theme (didn’t mean for it to become a theme but I just can’t stop).

For the Lara Bars – I didn’t have almonds but I had a ton of walnuts that were getting a little on the old side.  They had been overlooked at my dad’s and he knew I’d use them up pretty quickly.

This was easy – 1 1/2 cups dates dumped into my Ninja blender with 2/3 cups of walnuts.  Mash those up good and dump in a bowl.  I might have been willing to use the blender to mix the remaining ingredients in but I didn’t want to wash it before making the oreos and I wanted the flavors to be as true as possible.

I mashed the remaining ingredients into the puree with my hands.  Now I will say I have dates that sailed on Noah’s Ark and are a little dry.  (They’ve been passed around my family so much that we’re unsure of their actual age.)  I read a recipe today that mentioned soaking the dates before pureeing so I might do that next time but I’m lazy so probably not.  The end result was still tasty – just not as sticky as we expected.

I placed a sheet of wax paper into an 8×8 metal pan and then pressed the dough onto the paper.  I may have made it too thin so the bar was crumbly.  I think this would be better doubled so it would fit better in the pan.

On to the oreos.  The filling in the “cookies” is coconut butter – a thick coconut oil sort of product.  I didn’t have any and really thought a little coconut oil in the mix would solve the whole dry issue.  The lara bars did have some coconut oil but I opted to add more (and while it was blending).

So into the Ninja went walnuts, dates and coconut oil.  I ended up dumping the rest in the blender as well.  The smell was amazing.  I understand that we all associate cooking smells with wonderful food but this raw recipe had an aroma that was blissful.

I pressed the dough into a round cake pan (see pic above).  I did refrigerate both to make sure they got firm enough.  With the current heat wave, they are staying in the fridge.  They are not so firm that they don’t cut nicely.

These two recipes are so good, you may want to give up all other sweets.  Okay maybe that won’t happen but I do think these will become something I keep around all the time.  There’s plenty of ways to play with the flavor and I am so looking forward to it.

Now onto the best part of this post (recipes are at the bottom so no worries) – the coconut oil giveaway!!! Tropical Traditions has given me the honor of letting one of my readers get a free 32 oz jar of coconut oil.  This is the same coconut oil they sent me to review.  I can’t say enough good things about this product – it’s smooth, creamy and full of coconutty goodness.

To enter is simple, sign up for the Tropical Traditions Newsletter.  This is a great newsletter to get – they share all their sales and specials.  Just this week I ordered my coconut oil and got free shipping.  I would have missed the offer if I hadn’t gotten the newsletter.

Once you have done that – share here and tell me what you plan on doing with your coconut oil.  I’ll be drawing names on July 20th so get your entry in soon.  I’ll only be offering one entry per person but if you want more Tropical Traditions you can:

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Holiday Lara Bars

1 1/2 cups packed dates

2/3 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Blend dates and walnuts in blender or food processor until somewhat smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse to blend.  Press into wax or parchment paper lined pan (dough will not cover entire surface).  Chill until firm.

Raw Oreos ala Sara

1 cup walnuts

1 1/3 cup packed dates

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Pulse/puree until somewhat smooth and the dough starts to come together.  Dump into a 8-9 inch cake pan and press smooth.  Chill until firm.

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Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.