Easy ‘No Bake’ Breakfast Bars (Sugar free, Vegan)

Healthy snacks are a big thing for me. I am constantly trying to make snacks that are nutritious and wholesome and that will satisfy two growing kids. One of whom is a teenager!  The hunger pangs start as soon as they get home from school although I make it a point to pack a healthy lunch and a snack for them. So the pantry is constantly being raided. I make them a healthy fruit smoothie and then try to stock up on lots of fruits so that they can eat those first before loading up on the crackers, bread etc.  I bake most weekends so that I can create goodies with less sugar or even make them sugar free (by using honey or maple syrup). That way there is always a stock of something homemade and healthy for that huge mid-day hunger attack!

Last week I decided to make something with oats since I had a huge bag of them leftover in my pantry.  Before I started on a Paleo diet 3 months ago, I used to eat oats regularly for my breakfast. And after I stopped eating them it was lying there unused since my husband is sensitive to oats and the kids just didn’t want to change from their regular cereal. So I was determined to use them up – I was thinking of making just some granola  like I posted before. But then suddenly I remembered seeing some recipes of oats bars on  pinterest. So I looked for those recipes and I ended up making a version of my own based on what I had on hand – I added pecans for nuts since that was the only nut I had in my pantry that day and used peanut butter for the base. I also used the food processor to puree the dates and to coarsely chop the nuts and the oats since I knew that would give them a better texture. I have been making a version of these bars – My healthy breakfast bars for quite sometime now and I always felt like chopping the nuts in a food processor gives the bars a better texture.

My experiment was very successful – thanks to all the other bloggers out there with their different recipes which makes it easier to innovate and come up with your own version. The kids as well as the hubby love these bars and considering these are much easier to make than my old version, I know these are going to be a ‘regular’ in my house going forward 🙂

Easy 'No Bake' Breakfast Bars (Oat and nut bars)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 bars
 
Healthy 'breakfast bars' or 'anytime snack' with oats and nuts; No Baking needed!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts (or any other nuts)
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (NOT quick cooking)
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup unsalted organic peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
  2. In a large baking tray lined with parchment paper, spread the oats and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes. Transfer the oats to a plate.
  3. To the same tray add the pecans or walnuts (or other nuts if raw) and toast for about 5 minutes.
  4. In a food processor or chopper, pulse the oats and the nuts together for about 20-30 seconds until the nuts get crushed (big chunks) and oats also get chopped a bit. Keep aside.
  5. In a food processor, add the dates along with the hot water and blend until you get a thick pasty consistency.
  6. In a cooking pot, add this date mixture, the maple syrup(or honey), salt and the peanut butter (or almond butter) and heat for about 2-3 minutes until everything blends together. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and the oats and the nuts mixture. Mix well using a large wooden spoon/spatula.
  8. Dump this mixture into a square brownie pan lined with parchment paper with an overhang. Pat the mixture using the back of a small bowl (or use another sheet of parchment to press on the top).
  9. Place pan in the freezer for an hour (or refrigerator for about 2 hours)
  10. Take out the pan from the freezer/refrigerator and slide the parchment with the bar onto a cutting board and cut the block into bars of desired size using a large knife.
Notes
You can toast the oats and nuts in a pan on the stove too instead of toasting them in the oven.
Once set, bars can be stored at room temperature (65-75 deg F) for about 5 days or in the refrigerator for unto 2 weeks.

 

Easy and 'Oh so Delicious!' Mango Pie

Mango Pie Mango Pie was one of the first desserts I learnt to make after moving to the US (almost 15 years ago now!). I got the recipe from a dear friend, Deepa when we both ‘newly  weds’ (at that time) and ‘newly arrived’ in the US with our respective husbands, used to hang out together a lot – looking up recipes,cooking, lazing around,watching movies and in general just ‘laughing’ a lot! 🙂 Love you Deeps! Hence ‘Mango pie’ still brings back those pleasant memories every single time I make it.! This recipe is a ‘no bake’ pie and uses gelatin and can be whipped up in under 15 minutes and then left to set in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.  You can use a ready-made pie crust or make one on your own (I have shown the recipe below).  This is one dessert that I am sure I have made the most number of times in the past 15 years and this recipe is also the most ‘sought after’ recipe by my friends.  Hence I did a video recording too this time (so there you go folks…no more pestering me for either the pie or the recipe – Make your own please! 🙂 ) LOL!

The only change I have made to the original recipe is to use real ‘whipping cream’ instead of ‘Cool Whip’ since I try to stay away from ‘processed/synthetic foods’. And of late I have also been making my own crust too which is quite easy as well and more tasty than the ready made ones! Believe me this pie will be a huge hit with both kids and adults alike… after all who doesn’t like mangoes, right?  Enjoy! 🙂

This recipe will make two 9 inch pies
Time to prepare - 15 minutes; Time to set: 6-8 hours
Ingredients:
2 packs of unflavored gelatin (0.5 ounce total)
 2 tbsp of cold water
 1 cup whole milk (hot)
 2 and 1/2 cups of sweetened canned mango pulp (Swad brand)
 1/2 cup (generous or heaped) of powdered/granulated sugar
 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Two 9 inch ready made or home made Graham cracker pie crusts
 (see recipe for homemade crust below)

Method:

Take a large mixing bowl and add two tablespoons of cold water to it. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water to make the gelatin wet.

Then pour hot milk to the gelatin and mix to dissolve the gelatin completely. Make sure there are no lumps.

Then add the mango pulp and the sugar and mix well.Set aside.

Next take the whipping cream in a separate bowl and whip it using a hand blender to make it fluffy (till soft peaks form). This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Finally fold in this whipped cream with the mango mixture slowly and once mixed in thoroughly pour it into the pie crusts and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Mango Pie

Mango Pie

Recipe for homemade pie crust
2 cups graham crackers coarsely ground
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Method: In a mixing bowl, mix the ground graham crackers with the melted butter.  Press this mixture onto a 9 inch pie pan to cover base and sides. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 deg F for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before using.

 Notes:

  1. This recipe comes out best with canned mango pulp since the fresh mangoes besides being seasonal also have fibers in them which does not give  a good texture to the pie.
  2. The amount of sugar you need will depend upon how sweet your mango pulp is. So if the mango pulp you use is not that sweet, you should add more sugar than the 1/2 cup I recommend above.

Link to video: