Dates + Chocolate Oat Bars
We live in a world where time is money, we take our coffee to go and half-heartedly eat that bowl of fried snack while scrolling through our emails.
We rush through making dinner, simply because we don’t really care and therefore use packaged products, or order something greasy, MSG laden from the neighbourhood joint. I am myself guilty of doing such things, so I’m not here to preach, but rather, write my heart out.
As I write this, I have come through a time of a few health scares of not just one, but a few, loved ones – hence the magnitude effect has multiplied. This tells me we need to stop somewhere, take a breather, and re-evaluate what it is we are doing with our lives.
I was once one of those that believed time is money and hence, root of much happiness. But recently, the harsh reality has grounded me as well. Happiness is in fact, good health. What is money if you are bed-ridden? What is money if you are not allowed to indulge in a piece of chocolate? What is money if you can’t travel far away to see the lions in the jungle, or the northern lights?
Money comes and goes – money may get you a treatment at a swankier hospital, but the pain you suffer is the same in an air-conditioned clinic or one with a broken fan. The fact remains, in sickness, we are all equal.
There are no tricks to keeping fit and healthy; there are no shortcuts. We just have to do it, whether we like it or not. Wake up an hour earlier and go to the gym, take an extra hour to cook something from fresh and healthy ingredients and avoid the pre-packaged food aisle at the supermarket. Cheat only once or twice a week. This isn’t about a specific diet, but rather a lifestyle that you can hold on to forever.
In the long run, you will be thankful.
Ok, now back to Kitchen Therapy.
These granola bar-cum-flapjacks are incredibly tasty, easy to make and you avoid the packaged crap (excuse my French) found in stores.
They aren’t as well tightly bound as a packaged one, and you may need a spoon to get all the crumbs in, but they taste so darn good! The first time I made them, I polished off half the tray myself!
These stay well for a week in an airtight container.
The dates filling is amazing, providing a wonderful source of iron and sweetness. The dark chocolate is for obvious reasons. And oats are coated in a mixture of almond butter, sugar, honey, cinnamon and vanilla, with a good speckle of sea salt.
They are slightly chewy and soft, and you can replace the dates with any kind of thickened fruit coulis you want.
You can substitute almond butter with regular butter (unsalted), and omit the coconut oil. If you do not like honey, you can replace with maple syrup or golden syrup.
Yields: 9” by 9” square pan | Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins
2 cups oats
½ cup almond butter
½ cup raw sugar
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ cup sunflower seeds and chia seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup dates
2 tbsp water
½ cup dark chocolate (chips, or chopped into smaller pieces)
Melt the dates with the water together in a saucepan, and gently mash with a fork to create a thick mixture. Set aside.
Melt the almond butter, sugar and honey together in a saucepan.
Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
Then stir in the oats and ensure the mixture coats the oat flakes well.
Remove from pan and stir in the coconut oil, sea salt and seeds.
Line the baking tin with wax paper, greasing on both sides.
Spread half the oats mixture and press down.
Pour the dates mixture on top and then the chocolate.
Spread the remaining oats mixture on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into square pieces.