Many people might not know that I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. It’s basically where you can bet to find me if I’m not outside or sleeping. Preparing food is like a meditation for me that puts me right in my element. It is a place I feel confident and nourished. Not only by the food itself, but in the preparation of it. I have always loved food, but the way I love it has changed over the last 6-7 years as my diet has evolved. I grew up ailed with many issues ranging from extreme allergies to anxiety and depression. With a lot of research I cured myself without the help of western medicine. My passion for food turned into using it as something that nourishes, heals, and prevents sickness and disease.
My family and I follow a plant-based diet. I love juicing, cooking, preparing, baking, and whipping up smoothies. I get so much satisfaction out of attempting to recreate plant-based versions of my favorite foods. Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty good at it. I think that is why I enjoy it so much. As a minimalist and someone who finds eating healthy really important, I like my recipes to be clean and simple. Not to mention quick and efficient. I do have a 14 month old at my feet, after all.
These food bars are a perfect mom and toddler food for a couple of reasons:
One, they are a dense energy food. Good for on-the-go moms, breastfeeding moms, and moms who wanna be healthy but crave sweet treats. I could eat a whole batch and not feel guilty. They are good for toddlers because they are easy to chew, hearty and healthy for a growing child.
The other reason these are so great is that you can make them in 20 minutes and they last for days. With kids it’s not always easy to prepare healthy food. Well, I could argue that, but that’s the idea, right? As far as food, nothing sounds better to a mom than quick, easy AND healthy.
Lastly, these food bars are versatile. You can make them many different ways and customize them to fit your taste preferences. More on that in a bit.
But who am I kidding? These are good for anyone, kids or no kids.
So let’s get started!
What you will need:
- A food processor or Vitamix (or any good quality high speed blender)
- A mixing bowl
- oven or dehydrator
- 9″ pan or oven safe dish (if you use the oven option)
- Spatula or smooth wooden spoon
In this recipe there are only 3 main ingredients. Everything else is optional. The three must have *ingredients are:
- 2 medium-sized ripe bananas
- 1 3/4-2 cups gluten free quick rolled oats
- 1 cup soaked dates or soaked dried figs
*organic if possible
Optional ad-ins include things like:
- nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- dried fruit such as apricots, blueberries, raisins, etc.
- shredded coconut
- chocolate chips
- sprouted buckwheat
The possibilities are pretty endless. It’s whatever your heart desires, or simply what you have on hand. For this recipe I sprinkled in pecans, organic shredded coconut, and organic raisins.
-The first things you’ll want to do is soak the dates or figs in warm water, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will want the dates (or figs) to soak for at least 20 minutes.
-Next, blend the two bananas in the blender until creamy smooth. You might need just a tiny bit of water to get the blades going.
-Then pour the oats and the blended bananas into the mixing bowl. Sprinkle in your favorite ad-ins, like the nuts and dried fruit, and stir it all together.
-Now clean out the empty banana blender and throw in the dates (or figs). Again, add just enough water to get the blender going. You want it to turn out like a paste, not watery. Also, I added a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg to my dates (yummy). Turn the blender or food processor on high until it becomes a thick, pasty consistency. Keep it in the blender.
-Take your pan and give it a little coat of oil so your bars won’t stick to the pan. I use coconut oil. Take your oat/banana mixture and half it. I just put half on one side of the bowl and the other half on the other side.
-Take the first half and smooth it out into the pan with your hands until it covers the bottom surface.
-Then take a spatula or smooth wooden spoon and add a generous layer of date (fig) paste to the top of the oats until it covers the surface of them.
-Finally, add the second half of oat/banana mixture to the top of the date (fig) layer, and smooth it out just like you did with the first half until it covers the top surface. So now it’s like a sandwich with oats on bottom, dates in the middle, and oats on top. Capeesh?
Now throw that bad boy in the oven for 12-14 minutes.
*If you’re doing the dehydrating option I am not sure how long they need to be in there, but until they are a more solid, chewy consistency.
When you take them out, give them a minute to cool and then you can cut them into squares. Here’s the chewy gooey goodness:
There ya go! Enjoy ’em, peeps!
*If you make them, let me know how they turned out in the comments below!*