Don’t Let This Date Make You Nervous…….
I noticed that when I was pregnant with my first child my food tastes began to change. I started eating things that I would have NEVER eaten growing up. Onions, for one, hated them in the worst way as a kid, but during that pregnancy I developed an unnatural love for onions that has stuck with me to this day. So, since then I have tried to make it a point to try foods that I have never tried, or have just detested in the past. When I was little my mom made date bars for my grandma and sent them to her every Christmas, and in return my grandma would send my mom fruit cakes. I thought it was an equally disgusting exchange, but it was a tradition for them. I never got past the smell of the fruit cakes to try them, but as far as the date squares were concerned I didn’t like the smell, I didn’t like the look of the gooey dates, I just didn’t like them. And why would you put them with a massive amount of sugar, butter, and oatmeal? What was that all about?!
A couple of years ago I thought I would give dates a try again, just to see what all the fuss was about. I couldn’t find Medjool dates anywhere. So, I settled for Sunmaid dates, and I was sold. Hook, line, and sinker I was reeled in by nature’s luscious natural candy. The only problem was, they never made it into any recipes! This past Sunday I was at the grocery store doing my weekly shopping and I spotted a display by the produce that had nuts, candied fruit, syrups, chocolate coatings, and Medjool dates. I was super excited, and ready to make my version of date squares. I have to admit, these were a little intimidating being so much bigger, still having the pit, and looking more natural, but I threw them in my basket and stuck them in the pantry when I got home.
Over the next few days I did some serious date square research. I didn’t want mine to really be like anyone else’s. I wanted as few ingredients as possible, and of course, I wanted them to taste better than I thought my mom’s had tasted. Last night an idea came to me of how to put them together, and so this morning I decided to give them a shot. I only used 4 ingredients, they are refined sugar free, and the taste… well, and all I can say is yum. I layered them; they looked beautiful, but fell apart when I went to take them out of the pan. For a quick second I felt disappointed and defeated, and then I stopped… just because they wouldn’t hold together as squares didn’t mean that they wouldn’t hold together as balls! They made perfect date “bites”! They aren’t hard, and they don’t “set up”, they stay soft, but they taste amazing. Even my toughest critic, our 4 year old son, grabbed one off the counter and said they were delicious, and even came back for a second one! (This kid won’t even eat his sandwich if you use a new brand of peanut butter or slice it the wrong way.) He said, “These are good cookies mom. Did you make them just for me?” Of course I did. 😉 (And after he finished the last one he asked if I would make more!) Breakfast, dessert, snack, or gift these 4 ingredients jewels are simple and addictive, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Date Breakfast Bites
By Angie Gouchenour
10 Medjool dates – pitted
1 cup old fashioned oats – uncooked
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ c Stevia in the Raw
Pit dates and boil them for about 3 minutes in a sauce pan with just enough water to cover them
Remove from the heat and set aside
In a medium bowl combine oatmeal, peanut butter, and Stevia until crumbly
Remove the dates from the water and you can either smash them with a spoon until gooey, or pulse them in a blender (See NOTE below)
Stir dates in with oatmeal mixture
Here is where it gets messy, take a cookie scoop or 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon and measure out a scoop, place in your hands and gently roll, and make sure that all the ingredients are “packed” together (If you just try to scoop and drop the bites won’t be tight enough to stick together
Continue measuring and rolling until you have 24 bites
2 bites = 144 calories
NOTE: When I made the second batch I just mashed the dates in the water I had boiled them in and spooned out what I could (I saved the syrup to use in oatmeal. It thickens as it sits) and they were super sticky. So I added approximately ½ cup more of oats than is called for and was able to make 30 bites which came out to 122 calories per 2 bites.