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How many of you struggle to find a savory on-the-go snack that is actually healthy? I definitely do. I don't know how many times I've needed a snack to hold me over, and walked up and down the isles of my local health food store trying to find something savory. All of the quick snacks that are appropriate for my restricted diet are sweet- Larabars, dried fruit, etc. I often result to getting a package of sliced Applegate roast beef, and eating the whole thing. Seriously. When we're hungry, eating sweet stuff only makes us hungrier. And for me, it's nauseating. So, when our lovely health food store, Nature's Wonders, finally got Epic Bars- I was ecstatic. They contain grass-fed meat (lamb, turkey, pork, beef, or bison), dried fruits, nuts, and spices. As far as ingredients go- it doesn't get any cleaner than that! So, when I realized that I needed to up my game and try the Autoimmune Paleo protocol- I was devastated. Nuts are not legal on this protocol, so Epic Bars are no longer an option for me. However, they have such a short ingredient list, that I knew I could recreate them! With that being said- if you can eat nuts, you should definitely try an Epic Bar. They're heavenly.
To make these bars, you'll need a dehydrator. I'm sure that they could be made in your oven on it's lowest setting, but I don't know for sure; it would take some experimentation! I saved up to buy an Excalibur Dehydrator several months ago, and I'm still stoked about it. For this recipe, like in all of my other recipes, I encourage you to use what ya' have! That's what I did with these bars. If you don't have apples, but you have pears, carrots, berries, or already dried fruit- use them! I also want to note that I used coconut oil in this recipe, but I probably won't next time. I didn't have any tallow on hand, but that's what I recommend using. Lard would also be a suitable option. And feel free to use whatever meat you have; organ meats, bison, or venison will work fine!
So, let's get started:
- 1 lb of organic, grass-fed beef
- 4 cups of fresh organic spinach
- 4 organic apples- cored, peeled, and cut into 1/4" rings
- 3 tablespoons of dried organic basil
- 2 teaspoons of organic black pepper (omit for AIP)
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1/3 cup of organic tallow, softened
1. Using your non-stick Paraflexx dehydrator sheet (I use parchment paper), make 1/4" thick beef patties. This will help to shorten the drying time. I used beef that had been thawed overnight in the refrigerator, so it was still semi-frozen. I really recommend doing this, because it's easier to just cut beef into thin slices (see below).
2. Dehydrate beef at 155 degrees for 6 hours, or until it is almost completely dry. Add your apples to the dehydrator at the same time. You should flip the beef and apples halfway through the dehydration time.
3. When you have 1-2 hours of dehydration time life, add the spinach. You will need to use two trays for the spinach, so that it dries evenly.
4. Add dried spinach, apples, and spices to food processor. Process until the spinach is crushed, and the apples are in very small pieces. Add to large mixing bowl. Now, add your dried meat to the food processor. Process until the meat is finely ground. It's okay if there are some larger pieces- this will add a nice texture to your bar.
5. Add meat to dried fruit and vegetable mixture, and mix well. Now, add your softened/melted oil. You're aiming for a wet, cohesive dough- but not too wet. It just needs to be damp enough to stick together. If your texture isn't right, slowly add more oil until it is.
6. Press mixture into a 9 by 9 square pan, lined with parchment paper- or any small square or rectangular dish.
7. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours, until mixture is firm. Cut into desired size, and store in the refrigerator.
& Let me know if you tried this recipe, or what you did differently.