Thursday, July 27, 2006

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies without wheat, sugar, oil, or salt? You betcha! You'll need a good, strong blender like a Vita-Mix to blend the oats into a fine flour; otherwise, purchase oat flour at the health food store.

makes about 24 cookies

2 cups oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 medium overripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped dates

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.

Use a good blender to blend the oats into fine flour. Pour the oat flour into a mixing bowl and add the baking soda and cinnamon.

Put the peeled, overripe bananas into the blender and blend until completely smooth. Add to the oat mixture along with the sunflower seeds and dates, and mix until well combined.

Use a 1-ounce cookie scoop to place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fruit & Nut Bars

These bars contain no oil and no sugar; they get their sweetness from dried fruit. They are also chock full of walnuts, which contain lots of those fabulous omega-3 fatty acids. These bars are wheat and soy-free -- great for those with allergy concerns.

makes 16 bars

1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup prune purée or one 2.5 oz container baby prunes
½ cup currants or finely chopped raisins
½ cup dried apricots, chopped fine
1 cup walnuts, chopped
⅓ cup water

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Lightly coat an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead with your hands until a good, stiff dough forms. Add a tablespoon of water if the mixture is too dry. Press dough firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Cut into squares with a sharp knife before placing in the oven.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until baked through but still soft (don’t overbake them or the bars will be tough). Store leftover bars in the refrigerator.