Periphery Shopping Produces Great Treats

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by Jordan Danz & Claire Jacky

One of our favorite topics to discuss over food, is, well… food. Food can be quite a loaded topic of conversation. We wax poetic for hours on the merits of locally procured food vs. America’s industrial food system. We debate the pros and cons of the Paleo diet, the vegan diet and the no carb diet. We discuss refined sugars, gluten and fat and when they are and are not good to eat. One common thread in our discussions is awareness — knowing what you’re eating, knowing where it came from and knowing what benefits (or lack thereof) it has on your body. Making a conscious decision to eat or not eat something.

In America today, it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of eating processed and fast food that is loaded with preservatives which most people can barely even pronounce. Now we are, by no means, expert dieticians and may not have the degrees that qualify us to tell you how to eat, but all of us should take the extra time to know what we are eating. Read the label, check the origin and educate yourself.

We propose two challenges:

  1. Shop the periphery. Most grocery stores put the produce, meats, bulk and deli foods around the edges of the store. It is in the center aisles that you find mostly processed, frozen and pre packaged foods.

  2. Read the label. If you cannot pronounce the first ingredient, try another item. Or, if there are three or more ingredients you cannot pronounce…well you know the drill. Try the fresh option or the non-frozen option. This challenge follows the first because rather than buying the canned vegetable, buy the fresh one. Rather than buying the frozen meat, buy it from the meat counter.

We want to give you a recipe that embraces these ideals and meets the challenges we posed for you. We can honestly say that all of the items in this recipe were purchased from the periphery of the grocery store and we can pronounce each ingredient in the recipe.

These absolutely delicious Raw Date and Prune Bars are made with no refined sugar or gluten, and are full of nuts, seeds and other energizing ingredients.

Raw Date and Prune Bars

2 1/2 cups pitted dates roughly chopped

1 cup prunes roughly chopped

1 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnuts (coarsely chopped)

1/3 cup chia Seeds

1/3 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line a 9 x 13 pan with waxed paper or parchment paper.

Place the dates and prunes in a food processor and blend until it is a sticky ball (you might want to do this in 2 or 3 batches). Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the Almonds, walnuts, chia Seeds, flax seeds, coconut and cranberries and mix it all together with your hands. It will be difficult at first to mix (TIP: Wet your hands a bit so the mixture doesn’t stick.) Once mixed together, spread evenly into the lined 9 x 13 pan. Place the pan in the freezer for an hour to set. After an hour cut the mixture into bars of any size you prefer. Once cut, it is best to wrap them in foil or parchment paper and keep them in the refrigerator.

Jordan Danz and Clare Jacky are the co-editors of the food blog OurQueerDinner.wordpress.com, a collection of recipes and stories centered on their chosen family of friends in Minneapolis. They share a common love for food, family dinners and Saturday morning PBS cooking shows.