I've been on a mission to feed my family way less flour, sugar and processed foods and eat more whole grains, nuts and seeds. It's almost impossible to find all natural goodies at the market and when you do, ouch, it costs a small fortune. Why is it that most healthy foods are so much more expensive? It's no wonder so many people grab pre-made, pre-packaged, over processed junk. Well I'll let you in on a little secret I've discovered..... being healthy is in fact NOT more expensive but it does require a bit of effort, just a bit! In fact, if you do the math, it's cheaper to make your own goodies, after school snacks etc from scratch. Just keep your pantry stocked with whole grains (not whole wheat), a variety of nuts and seeds and a bit of dried fruit for adding natural sweetness.
So these chewy, tropical whole grain "cookies" are a perfect snack, morning or afternoon. Great to pack in your kids lunches or take with you for an mid-hike energy boost. By using orange juice,dried fruit and coconut, you don't have to add processed sugar. Of course fruit contains fructose, which is a natural sugar that is good for you in moderation. If you want these a bit sweeter you can add a little Agave nectar.
You Will Need:
1 1/2 cups 5 grain cereal or whole grain oats
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 tablespoons toasted flax seeds
1/4 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup each; dried date pieces and dried apricot, chopped
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup coconut or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
TIME 30 MINUTES YIELDS 15-20 squares
Putting it all together:
Preheat oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil, bananas, juice and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high spread till mashed. Add flax seeds, salt, spices and oats, mix till combined. Add nuts and fruit, mix till combined.
Spread the batter evenly onto the baking sheet, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch high. Sprinkle coconut on top, press down gently .
Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Place baking sheet on cooling rack. Let cool slightly, cut into bars or fun shapes with cookie cutters. Store in airtight container and keep in the fridge.