I have a slight obsession with dates. What some say that they are too sweet for them, but for me they make for a perfect ingredient that transforms anything into tasting more like dessert without added sugar! Roomie requested more homemade granola bars this week so I decided to try combining my favorite recipe with one I’d been eying on Pinterest, date bars.
Roomie declared these were the best bars yet and I’m excited to try a few variations on them. I admit I’m not a recipe expert and if you have a suggestion that will make these even better, please let me know.
Fruit and Nut Granola Bars with Dates
- Makes: 12 servings
- Time: Prep 15 minutes, Total 40 minutes
- 3/4 cup of Dried Fruit, chopped (I used dates and raisins)
- 1/2 cup of Water
- 2 cups of Old Fashioned or Quick Cooking Oats
- 2 servings Vanilla Whey or Vega Protein Powder (May omit, but add an extra 1/4 cup of almond meal)
- 1/2 cup of Almond Meal (or flour, gluten-free four, oat flour, etc.)
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Blue Diamond Almonds, whole or chopped (or other nut like walnuts or cashews)
- 1 Egg (can use a vegan egg replacement or flaxseed egg)
- 1/2 cup of Almond or Coconut Milk
- 2 TBSP Honey
- 2 TBSP Coconut Oil (melted)
Pre-heat over to 350F. Chop up dates or other fruit and add into a small sauce pan. Add water and heat on the stove top on high and heat until boiling. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine oats, Protein Powder, almond meal, almond meal, baking soda, Blue Diamond Almonds and salt. In a separate bowl mix egg, milk, honey and oil. Combine ingredients and blend well. In a greased 9×9 pan, pat down 1/2 of oatmeal mixture. Top with fruit mixture. Add the rest of the oatmeal mixture on top. Place in the over for 20-25 minutes or until desired crispiness. The top will get crispier the long you leave it in, so if you want crunch, leave it in longer. Let cool, cut and enjoy!
My favorite part is obviously the center of the bars. The dates and raisins are juicy and flavorful thanks to the boiling water trick. I’m excited to try a few variations on the bars. The are great for pre and post workout snacks since they have carbs and protein to energize and help repair your muscles. They also make for a great mid-day snack.
When making any granola bar, I use what I have on hand. Sometimes it’s coconut and cashews, other occasions I use cranberries and walnuts. What I need is crunch! I love using almonds, and Roomie prefers when I use them whole but I like the slivered ones. Since I’m addicted to the heart healthy nut, we always have them on hand for recipes like this one. There have been studies that show people who eat an extra 100 calories a day from Almonds don’t gain extra weight than their counterparts who ate 100 calories less!
American Heart Association Says Blue Diamond Almonds are Heart Healthy
I started buying Blue Diamond Almond Milk after reading about it in a Hungry Girl newsletter. I never loved milk, so a milk alternative that was 1/2 the calories was an obvious swap. I picked up a jar of their whole nuts the other day at the store and realized they are now recognized by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food! Although we already all knew this, it’s nice to see the government is officially recognizing it.
Heart disease is our nations number one killer. Yes, NUMBER ONE and it’s preventable with a healthy diet and exercise. Frustrating, right? When food is labeled as heart healthy, that means it helps prevent heart disease and must follow specific guidelines to ensure its nutritional value like less than 6.5 g of fat and sodium levels below 480 mg per serving. When I had my blood taken this Spring, I had sky-high HDL levels which are the good kind of cholesterol. This, I’m convinced, was a direct result of having almonds daily as a snack. If you’re not a fan of plain almonds, Blue Diamond Almond varieties Whole Natural, Roasted Salted, Low Sodium, Sea Salt, No Salt, and Honey Dijon were also given the seal of approval from the AHA. Almonds are always a part of any diet plan I recommend to any of my clients but remember each one has 7 calories. Aim for a snack consisting of 10-28 nuts. As a lunch you can eat on the go, I pack 16 almonds, a Laughing Cow Mini Babybel and a Fuji apple.
If you have any questions about the new seal approval on Blue Diamond Almonds, I’ll be participating in a Twitter chat on Monday, May 21st at 9 PM EST. You can follow along using the hash tag #BlueDiamond.
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