Dates can be fun

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A few months ago, I discovered dates. I didn’t realize how easy these can replace refined sugar (usually 1:1) in some recipes. So now I have been using these wrinkly gems as much as possible. I meant to post this in the summer but forgot. With the upcoming holidays (can you believe we’re in December already?), I, at least, hope these recipes inspire you to think easy and healthy.

Did you know that dates can keep you regular (if you know what I mean – wink wink!)? They are highly nutritious, packed with vitamins like A, B complex, K, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and copper. The Mejdool dates are known to have a low glycemic index which means they don’t spike blood sugar levels like refined sugar either.

I have been inspired by the Minimalist Baker as she uses only a few ingredients. How nice. The Granola Bites make a great mid-afternoon snack as it is packed with protein rich ingredients. I have made it a few times and swapped out different ingredients to see what our favorites are. I do favor the addition of pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. I think with the right packaging, these would make great homemade holiday gifts too. Think individual bons-bons with cute ribbon.

Granola Bars

Granola Bites

1 cup packed Mejdools dates, pitted, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup unsalted peanuts or almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter

Optional ingredients:  unsweetened coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chocolate chips, cranberries, dried blueberries, etc.

Directions

Combine oats and nuts in a large bowl.

In a food processor, pulse the dates until chopped fine. They will look mashed. Add to oat-nut mixture.

In a small pot, over medium heat, warm the maple syrup (or honey, if using) and nut butter. Drizzle over mixture.

IMG_2217Spread dates throughout and combine thoroughly. (Note:  I added a tablespoon or two of unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Adding an extra bit of peanut or almond butter helps bind the additional ingredients together too.)

IMG_2220Press evenly into 8 x 8 pan (or shape into individual balls, if you prefer) and refrigerate 15 – 20 minutes at least to set. See, no bake! The pumpkin seed sure does look lonely in the sea of beige.

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Cut into bite size squares. Keep refrigerated 1 week (if they make it that long). We love these! Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

No-Bake Fruit Tart

fruit tart

If you’re feeling guilty about the upcoming holiday sugar overload, try this no-bake Fruit Tart for a pot-luck brunch or afternoon tea. It’s sugar-free, gluten-free and easy to assemble. If you’re aiming for a holiday look, simply change out the fruit to include festive colors. Easy peasy.

Base

about 12 dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained

2 cups raw unsalted cashews or almonds, ground

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Filling

1 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon honey or to taste (optional)

zest from 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Topping

Assorted seasonal fruits like blueberries, mandarin oranges, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, mango, etc.

Directions

In a food processor, process dates. Place in bowl. Mix in ground nuts and salt.

Line three 5″ small tart pans or one large 9” tart pan with the base mixture.

In a bowl, mix filling ingredients – yogurt, honey, lemon zest and juice. Pour over base.

Wash and dry fruit. Cut fruit, if necessary. Arrange over tartlets.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist making them portable in my lil’ Weck jars too. So fun! Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Thanks for stopping by!

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2 thoughts on “Dates can be fun

  1. Hi Archie. So lovely to hear you have Oshi to keep you company especially in such fine weather. I can’t wait to hear about Lauren and Curt’s adventures. So exciting!! I’m making your dahl or is it daal (?) for dinner tonight. I couldn’t find chick pea flour for the roti (I didn’t look hard enough) so I’m baking Amish bread in the oven now. I know not related but oh well. Thanks for reading and sharing your inspiration 🙂 xo V

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  2. thanks Vern for the recipes. You can also use dates as sweetener for your smoothies or juices. I love granola bites and the fruit tarts. You must be feeling better.
    we’re enjoying nice Fall weather here in Toronto quite unusual for the month of Nov. No snow yet and let me tell you I can get use to this weather.

    I am currently dog sitting my grand pup Oshi(short form for Ocean). Lauren and Curt are off to Costa Rica for volunteering trip for 3mos and will be back in March. So enjoying this weather with my long walks with Oshi.
    she’s meeting all kinds of doggy friends from dog parks and getting more confident each day.

    Keep on writing your blog and sharing your recipes.
    A.

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