November 24, 2013

Date and Nut Snack Bars

I love THM, but life isn't always about weight loss.  My kids didn't need to lose, and I was able to use THM principles to help them to actually put on a few pounds.
The thing is, even if you have someone who needs to gain, you don't want to just throw sugar or empty carbs at them.  You want to fill those little tummies with nutritious and wholesome foods that they think are tasty.

Baby Chase has gotten to the picky toddler stage, but there are some things that he will always eat.
 I learned about these bars and got my initial recipe from my friend Abbi many years ago.  She developed them because she liked other bars you could get in stores, but didn't want to pay the high prices. These bars are a favorite for my entire family.  They are quick and easy to make and you can customize them to fit your likes and pantry stock.

Like a casserole has a 'formula', these bars also do as well.

  • The base is pitted dates.  I usually buy a 10-12oz bag of dried, pitted dates and use the whole bag.
  • Then you think of nuts, about 1 cup total.  I generally do almonds, either raw, presoaked, or roasted, along with some walnuts, peanuts or pecans.  Any combination works, but I like to use almonds primarily.  
  • Then consider what other dried fruits you have on hand. (about 1 cup worth) The key is to find ones with no sugar, you won't need the sugar.  These can usually be found at natural food stores.  I like using dried, shredded coconut in most all of mine.  Dried cherries, mangos, raisins, papaya, apples.... anything will work. 
  • Then you add any spices or flavors.  Cocoa powder (1/4cup) is always a hit here, but cinnamon, ginger or flavored extract can give you a tasty bar.  You can also add some coconut oil, but I find that it really isn't necessary.

You can use a food processor or high-powered blender for this.  After using the Blendtec a few times, I realized how painfully slow the food processor is, but I think I like the end product of the food processor better?  You are almost shooting for a thick peanut or almond butter consistency.
And while I started with the Twister jar, I ended up moving to the large jar with this batch as it wasn't large enough.
It will take a few minutes for you to get a fully integrated 'dough'.
After blending, I put it in a 9x9 pan and cool it in the fridge for an hour or 2.
After cooling, remove from the pan and cut into squares.
My kids love these for an afternoon snack or sweet bite after a meal.
Me, I don't eat them as they have too much natural sugar and carbs along with fat.  Granted they are all healthy carbs and fat, but I save them for treats for the kids as a healthy, nutritious that helps them get in daily fruits and good fats.

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