IT’S A NEW DAY – A NEW YEAR – A NEW BEGINNING!  THE SLATE IS CLEAN!  YAY!

I am so ready to start eating clean again after all the refined sugar I’ve consumed over the last month.  And, what better way to start eating healthy than with three different recipes that contain the naturally sweet Medjool Date.

One of the best gifts I’ve ever received was last September when visiting Yuma, Arizona.  I got a giant box of Medjool Dates that had just been harvested.  These were the largest, most beautiful dates that I’ve ever experienced.  And, I ate my body weight in them until I had to finally give up – bagged up the remainder and stored them in the freezer.

Well, lucky me (and you), I just came across those in the freezer yesterday.  These are the perfect beginning for 2016 and the path back to healthy eating – right up until Superbowl snacks and appetizers, anyway.

And, what a bonus – the Medjool Date has so many health benefits.  This naturally sweet drupe (called that because it has a single pit), is loaded with Vitamins B5 and B6, which maintains the health of your skin and hair as well as producing chemicals in your brain that regulates your mood (I’m in).  Dates also contain Vitamins A and K and a boatload of minerals.  There are 4.8 grams of dietary fiber per serving that helps regulate your blood cholesterol level and move food through your digestive tract.  They are a bit high in calories – 199 calories for 3 –  but you truly only need a small amount to satisfy your sweet tooth.

One new thing I learned is that Hearts of Palm, which I love in salad, is the bud of the tree – The Date Palm – where the Medjool date comes from.  Interesting…

So, what about the recipes you mentioned quite a while ago?  Oh yeah!  Let’s get started.

Way Number One – I remembered that my mom had sent me a recipe about a year ago for a Carrot Cake Power Bite.  Amazingly, I found it and here is the link to the recipe that was posted last January on TheKitchn.  Carrots combine with Medjool dates, almond meal and almond butter (which I make myself – this way there’s no sugar and I get twice as much for the $$$s) and spices.  The original recipe calls for an icing, but I couldn’t bring myself to add refined sugar to these poppable, delicious bites that have a nice balance of good fat, protein and dietary fiber.  But, check out the link above for the icing recipe if you need that little bit of sweetness.  Update:  My hubby wouldn’t eat them unless they were sweeter, so I compromised and melted white chocolate to drizzle on top of ‘some’ of them.

Way Number Two – Love this combination of Dark Chocolate, orange zest and Medjool dates.  This yummy goodness is then coated with Toasted Coconut.

And, Way Number Three – who doesn’t think that everything is better with bacon.  Well, to be healthy, you could choose to use a Turkey bacon, but even a little bit of bacon in your diet can’t hurt.  Choose the one’s without nitrates and you’ll feel better about it.  Take a nice, whole, toasted almond and place that in the middle of a pitted date.  I usually render the fat from the bacon by putting it in the oven on a sheet tray lined with parchment or foil for about 10 minutes.  That partially cooks the bacon so that your bacon will be nice and crisp once it’s baked around the date without petrifying the date.

TheKitchnDeb Farina

Yields 32

1. Carrot Cake Power Bite 2. Medjool Dates, Walnuts, and Dark Chocolate coated with Toasted Coconut 3. Medjool Dates stuffed with Almonds wrapped in Bacon

These Carrot Cake Power Bites are filled with healthy fats and vitamin and mineral loaded Medjool Dates.

15 minPrep Time

1 hr, 12 Cook Time

1 hr, 15 Total Time

 

 

Ingredients

    • 4 medium carrots (8 ounces), peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
    • Water
    • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) Medjool dates, pitted
    • 1/2 cup (4.5 ounces) Almond Butter, Creamy
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 and 1/2 cups (6.3 ounces) almond meal, divided
For the Medjool Dates, Walnuts and Dark Chocolate coated with Toasted Coconut
    • 2 ounces (about 3) Medjool dates, pitted
    • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) Raisins
    • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) Walnuts, toasted
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • pinch salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1.5 ounces (1/4 cup) Dark Chocolate
    • 2 teaspoons orange zest
    • 1 ounce (1/2 cup) flaked coconut, unsweetened (toasted)
For the Medjool Dates stuffed with Almonds and wrapped in bacon
  • 12 Medjool Dates, pitted
  • 6 slices of your favorite Bacon
  • 12 to 24 Toasted Almonds or your nut of choice

Instructions

    1. Original recipe from Thekitchn.com here.
    2. Put the carrots in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes or until carrots are soft – not mushy. Cool to room temperature.
    3. Place the Medjool dates in a food processor and pulse several times until they start to form a paste.
    4. Add Almond Butter, spices and 3/4 cup of almond meal to food processor.
    5. Pulse until mixture comes together completely and forms a paste.
    6. Move mixture to a metal bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.
    7. Place remaining almond meal into a shallow bowl.
    8. Using a spring-loaded cookie scoop that holds about 1 Tablespoon, scoop into the almond meal.
    9. Lightly roll into the almond meal and shape into a ball by hand.
    10. Store in the refrigerator in a single layer covered with plastic wrap for several days or in a hard-sided container in the freezer for up to one month.
    11. If you choose to carry these with you, be sure to put them in a hard-sided container as they tend to get squishy when they warm up.
Walnuts, and Dark Chocolate coated with Toasted Coconut
    1. Place all ingredients, EXCEPT Toasted Coconut in bowl of food processor. Pulse until ingredients are ground and mixture comes together to form a paste,.
    2. Move to a metal bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for, at least, 1 hour or overnight.
    3. Place toasted coconut in the bottom of a shallow dish.
    4. Using a spring-loaded cookie scoop that holds about 1 Tablespoon, scoop into dish with coconut.
    5. Roll around in the coconut and form into a ball by hand.
    6. Store covered refrigerated for several days or freeze for up to 6 months.
    7. Can easily double recipe.
Medjool Dates with Stuffed with Almonds and Wrapped with Bacon
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Place bacon on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake for about 5 to 10 minutes until bacon has rendered some of the fat. Do NOT bake until crispy.
  3. Cut bacon in half and let cool.
  4. In the meantime, place one or two almonds into the date and lightly squish them together to close over the almonds.
  5. Take a half slice of rendered bacon and wrap around the filled date. Secure with a toothpick. Continue with the remaining dates.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F.
  7. Place on foil-lined pan, seam side down and place in preheated oven. Bake about 5 minutes.
  8. Turn dates over and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes until bacon is crisp. Watch these closely so they don’t burn.
  9. Optional: serve with Braswell’s Red Jalapeno Jelly that’s been melted in the microwave for 10 to 30 seconds until flowable.
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http://glutenfreefarina.com/2016/01/01/gluten-free-power-bites/

And I want to wish all of you all the best in the New Year!

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