Lisa Leake is the North Carolina-based blogger whose quest to forgo any kind of processed food for 100 days turned into a cookbook writing career.
After the success of her bestselling debut in 2014, Leake is now on her second book, “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food,” which focuses on quicker versions of the family-friendly meals her fans love. She uses whole ingredients that are relatively easy to find and combines them in interesting ways that appeal to both parents and kids, including recipes for crispy pork with a cracker crust, Parmesan-crusted chicken, homemade ranch dressing and sloppy joe spice mix.
These homemade Lärabars are easy enough for young cooks to help you make, and you can add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices, if you’d like. The bars store well in the freezer, too.
Store-bought Lärabars are such a simple snack, using only a few whole ingredients, which means they’re easy to make at home as well. And, as with most things, it’s hard to beat the taste of homemade! My daughters seriously love these things.
— Lisa Leake
1 cup dried Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup peanut butter
In a food processor, combine the dates, cashews, peanut butter and 1 tablespoon water and puree until the mixture starts to stick together. Add a little more water if necessary to help the mixture come together.
Use your hands to squeeze the date mixture into one big clump. Mash it down on a cutting board or sheet of wax paper to form an even rectangle about 1/2-inch thick, using the sides of your hands (or a knife) to make the edges straight. Cut it into 12 even squares. (As an alternative, you could roll the mixture into balls.) For best results, store in the fridge, although the bars can be kept at room temperature. Makes 12 bars.
— From “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous” by Lisa Leake (William Morrow, $29.99)