For months now we’ve been talking about making the trip to Ottawa to skate the length of the Rideau Canal.
It’s the world’s largest rink, if you didn’t know, with views of our parliament in the distance, and hot chocolate stations scattered along the winding canal. One can skate for hours without stopping, although you may be tempted to slow down for a poutine or beavertail break. It’s a Canadian thing.
Back in early January we settled on a weekend to go, booking accommodations with family and clearing our schedules. As a family, we tend to cultivate contentment in the little things, giving ourselves over to an occasion be it a mere afternoon skate or sled, so there was much anticipation around the event.
All three kids have been putting in hours of ice time on our own little homemade rink and getting very good on their blades, as per our agreement. You’ve got to be able to skate the entire 7.8 kilometers, we told them, half-jesting, half serious.
Finally it was the weekend to revel in our favourite winter sport in the Capital. I may have consumed half of these power bars in my efforts to round up skates and winter gear for five people, but we eventually got our van loaded and hit the road.
Here’s the sad part. The weather had been iffy all week, as in, unseasonably warm for January, and we soon learned that the ice conditions were too poor to accommodate skaters. The entire canal was closed to skaters for the whole weekend.
It was a letdown for my little crew, but thankfully, they took the disappointment very well. We found another (refrigerated) rink that was open, discovered a great taco place, and spent an entire Sunday roaming the impressive Canadian Museum of Nature.
It turned out to be a delightful weekend, even without the Rideau Canal. We’ll just have to try again another time.
I almost didn’t post this recipe because of my lacklustre photographs, which were hurriedly snapped just before packing these hazelnut-apple power bars for the road trip. Every crumb of the bars were consumed on our Ottawa adventures, and since then, there’s been no time to reshoot.
Compelling photos or not, this is a great recipe that you simply have to try for yourself. I’m not really a homemade power bar kind of person; this was actually my first attempt, inspired by a drawer full of leftovers from my holiday baking. Seriously, I looked at half a dozen nearly empty jars of dried fruit, hazelnuts and coconut and thought ‘how can I make a nourishing snack for our road trip?’
That afternoon, Clara measured the ingredients and I operated the food processor and we added a little bit of this and that. Both of our favourite Larabar flavour is “Apple Pie” so I aimed for a similar taste. We loved the result: a soft and chewy snack bar with a satisfying sweetness to it, very portable and totally delicious!
I’m going to have to restock my pantry again very soon with dried fruit and nuts, because I can see how having a stash of apple-hazelnut power bars in the freezer could prove to be very useful. In case you are wondering, these power bars are naturally gluten-free, refined-sugar free, vegan, paleo and Whole 30 compliant. And kid compliant, too.
|Hazelnut-Apple Power Bars|| |
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts (100 g)
- 10 sticky soft Medjool dates, pitted
- 3 prunes, pitted
- 1/2 cup Thompson raisins
- 1/2 cup diced dried apple
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend or cinnamon
- Line a 8 x 4 x 2 1/2 in loaf pan with plastic wrap.
- In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse hazelnuts until finely chopped.Add the dates and prunes and purée until a paste forms.
- Add the raisins, dried apple, coconut and pumpkin spice blend. Purée until well combined and everything is in small bits.
- Remove blade and scrape everything into the prepared loaf pan. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan and then press firmly in place. Use the bottom of a water glass or a cocktail muddler to evenly press the purée into the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (or freeze) for about 4 hours.
- Turn the slab of hazelnut-apple power bars onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 6 even bars. Enjoy right away or wrap each bar individually in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Alternately, freeze for up to 6 months.