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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oat-Date Granola Bars


Showered?  Check.  Outfit?  Check?  Old faux-Ugg boots on my feet, with heels stashed in my purse?  Check.  Travel mug ready with steaming hot high octane coffee?  Big check.  Keys? Check.  Now, mad dash for the car!

This harried summary of my morning routine is missing just one other check... Breakfast!  In my continuing effort to eat smarter, I've committed myself to eating a decent breakfast each and every morning - no matter how hectic.  For now, I'll gloss over the fact that this breakfast is typically eaten while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the parkway; I'm still working on a morning schedule that will leave enough time to eat at an actual table.  One step at a time.

So to get a jump on my weekday breakfasts, I baked a pan of these Whole Foods date granola bars over the weekend.  I just downloaded their (totally free!) recipes app (iPhone friendly only) and find myself turning to it frequently. You can search for recipes based on meal type, dietary preference or cooking situation (i.e. cooking with kids, entertaining, make ahead, etc.).  You can also use the "On Hand" capability to magically find one recipe combining that last chunk of cheese, handful of eggs and bunch of kale in your fridge.  I particularly like the "Favorite" tool; I can easily save a recipe I like for quick reference later. 


My new-found app love aside, this bar recipe yields a final product similar to one of my store-bought favorites, the Lara Bar, with a slightly denser, more floury texture.  Plus, the recipe produces 10 generously sized yet low-calorie bars for a fraction of the cost.  Allotting myself two bars (well, wedges - more on that below) per morning, this quick, easy and inexpensive recipe supplied me with a ready-to-go breakfast for almost an entire work week.

What these bars boast in convenience, however, they lack ever so slightly in flavor.  They weren't bad by any means, they just were not terribly exciting.  I'll definitely make them again, but I might add a little p'nash.. like dried cranberries, apricots or mangoes, and some type of nut.

Give them a try for yourself, and check one more thing off your crazy morning to-do list!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup chopped pitted dates, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. In a blender, combine 1/3 cup of the dates and water; blend until very smooth. Add egg and blend just until combined. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined. Add date-and-water mixture and remaining 1/3 cup chopped dates; stir until moistened.

Scrape into prepared pan, level the top with a spatula, and bake until firm and lightly browned around the edges, about 17 minutes. Cool in the pan and cut into 10 bars. Bars keep in an airtight container for about a week. They can also be individually wrapped and frozen until ready to eat; allow about 2 hours for them to thaw. 

My little tip:  I don't have an 8x8-inch baking pan, so I just used a round 8-inch pie pan.  The same cooking time worked well, plus I got to cut them into fun wedges!

Featured at JamHands.net

3 comments:

  1. This is awesome, Jackie! I can't wait to try it! I'll definitely be checking out that app, too. Thanks! :)

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  2. Thank you so much for linking this recipe up at Recipe Sharing Monday! The new link party is up and I'd love to see you back. Have a great week. :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ali! I missed this week, but I plan to be back next Monday!

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