if there's one thing that is really important to me, it's breakfast. If there's one thing that I absolutely do not have time for during the week, it's breakfast. You see, when you have to get up around midnight and crawl into work, you tend to maximize the amount of time that you can stay in bed. I basically hit the alarm clock off, throw on some clothes, brush my teeth, and then head out. not leaving a whole lot of time to fill my body with nutrients. That's where my love affair with granola bars began. granola bars definitely fit the bill for a fast breakfast. however, most of them are fluff or far from anything resembling tastiness. I used to eat peanut butter cliff bars, but when you down five a week, they start to get expensive. A while back, I had made a batch of g-bars from a martha stewart recipe. In theory, they sounded great because there was no refined sugar or preservatives or anything of the sort, but in actuality, they sort of came up short for me. I think that I didn't like the whole tropical dried fruit nonsense or something, not my style. the one thing I did really like (and steal for this recipe) was the fact that instead of sugar, this recipe used simmered, pureed dates. they act as your binding agent and hold everything together, also adding another, earthily sweet dimension to this bar, something I can totally get into...
yeah, it seems like there are a lot of ingredients to this, but just hang in there and try it at least once. they are all something you can get at a grocery that sells bulk ingredients ( I picked all of my stuff up at super saver on 48th, with the exception of the local honey, found at open harvest). At first it may seem like a lot to buy, but if you make this once, it won't be a waste, because it will definitely get reruns...
you're going to need: a food processor/chopper, biggest sheet pan you have, big mixing bowl,
and your mitts...
turn oven to 350F
2 cups pitted dates--put these in a saucepan and cover with water. simmer without a lid for around five minutes, or however long it takes to assemble the rest of the stuff
3 cups old fashioned oats, finely ground in a food processor
2 cups walnuts, coarsely ground in a food processor
1 cup almonds, coarsely ground in a food processor
2-2.5 cups dried fruits of your choice (lately I have been doing dried cranberries and dried currants, but you can use whatever you like. Raisins are good in here, but so are cherries, blueberries, etc)
4 tbs oat bran
6 tbs ground flax seed
4 tbs wheat germ
1 tsp coarse salt
6 tbs local honey (make sure to get local if possible, it fights off allergies/asthma. etc, honey that is foreign to the region doesn't do this)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional, I stopped adding this, as i found it unnecessary, but you can decide for yourself.
ok, here's the do:
combine ground oats, ground nuts, the dried fruit(s), oat bran, ground flax seed, wheat germ, salt, and cinnamon (if using) in a big mixing bowl, give it a little mix. drain the dates, leaving a couple of tablespoons of water in the pot, and pour this into the food processor. add the honey and puree everything until smooth. go wash your hands. do it. they may seem clean, but just do it anyway. clean? ok, now pour the date mixture over the rest of the ingredients and use your hands to mix everything up uniformly. it's sticky, but that's ok, you have to do it this way or it just won't get fully mixed. the dry ingredients should look moist and it should be slightly tacky to the touch. spray your big sheet pan with cooking spray and transfer the mixture to the pan. don't worry if it doesn't extend to the end of the pan just try and get a uniform rectangle going with about a 1-inch thickness. pop into oven for around 30 minutes. bars will be done when edges start to darken and middle is set. now, if you happen to have a vacuum sealer, let these cool and make individual packages for your breakfast for the next two weeks. if not, I'm sure they will last quite a while in just plastic wrap.
non-foodstuffs: we recently adopted a 9 year old english setter. who has kennel cough. who has proceeded to give kennel cough to gus. I miss sleeping.
DISH recommends:Fagor 6 qt duo pressure cooker. I made a curry in 4 minutes the other day people. FOUR minutes!! I almost cried. I am loving this thing. get one. it will change your life...or at the very least, dinnertime.