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Monday, January 19, 2015

Sticky Fruit & Nut Bars #TheFeelGoodFruit #CG

We are now about three weeks into the New Year and either people are still gung-ho into their healthy resolutions or they've already fallen by the wayside.
Which side are you on?
I have to say I'm still on {the good side that is}.  I am trying to keep a better eye on what goes in my mouth, but at the same time still eating really, yummy food.  New Year's resolutions are hard to maintain, we all know that, but there are some fun, unique ways to keep your in-between-a-meal snacks fun and tasty.
I also have a confession to make.
I love prunes.  I always have.  Growing up, my hometown had a lot of Czech influence, and if you know Czech food at all their claim to fame dessert is the kolache.  It is a delicious yeast type pastry filled with fruit.  I would say most kids gravitated towards the cherry or peach filling, but I always, always grabbed the prune ones.  They are just so sweet and flavorful! 

Having recently been sent a variety of Sunsweet products with the intent of creating a healthy snack, I got to quick work.
PlumSmart® Light: This juice is made from a special variety of fresh, juicy plums and has only 60 calories and 15g of carbs, and helps you stay fit on the inside by providing a good source of fiber. PlumSmart Light is a great addition to a smoothie.

Amaz!n Prunes: These little gems are a good source of fiber for only 100 calories per serving. Amaz!n Prunes are nature's perfect way to feel good with nutrition and delicious taste. Prunes also have a low glycemic index, which means they keep you feeling fuller longer. They add a powerful boost of nutrition and fiber to snack time or your favorite recipe.

Amaz!n Diced Prunes: Grab a handful of these delicious diced prunes for nutritious snacking. Toss them in cereal, oatmeal, salad or your favorite recipes for added flavor and fiber. One serving of Amaz!n Diced Prunes is a good source of fiber for only 100 calories. Add to your favorite snacking recipe for extra fiber and a fruit flavor boost.
Prunes have a low glycemic index, which means they keep you feeling fuller longer. They also add a powerful boost of nutrition and fiber to any snack.  I knew that I wanted to sandwich these beauties into a bar, chock full of healthy whole wheat flour, almonds and just a bit of sugar to sweeten.
And it worked splendidly!
I knew if I pureed the prunes into a smooth paste it would make a perfect chewy center to this hearty, healthy snack bar.  And really it is just 8 easy steps {minus baking them in the oven} and these bars come together very easy.

Not only do Sunsweet prunes make an ideal grab-n-go snack, studies have also suggested the health benefits.
Bone Health: Prunes may promote healthy bones. Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi of Florida State University says, "Dried plums (prunes) are the most bone-friendly fruit that I have seen in decades. They are nature's solution to maintaining good bone health." Dr. Arjmandi hypothesizes that the many compounds and nutrients contained in prunes, such as vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron, likely work synergistically to have this positive effect. Additional research is currently being conducted to learn more about prunes and bone health.

Potassium: Potassium may help prevent hypertension and stroke and play a role in helping support cell energy by regulating fluid balance, nerve impulses and muscle contraction to increase energy.

Fiber: A diet containing foods with fiber can replace fats and sweets, and contributes to heart health.

Regularity: A fiber rich diet may contribute to maintaining a consistent digestive tract which helps lead to improved digestive health.

Once these bars cooled, I cut them into small squares and laid them on a baking sheet.  I then froze them for an hour and placed them individually in a plastic freezer storage bag.  This way they will stay fresh and are easy to grab for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
In fact, I think I may secretly be turning British {I'm probably watching too much Downton Abbey} as these are really good with an afternoon mug of hot tea.
If you are still on track in 2015 with your healthy eating or you need to get BACK on track, give these bars a try!
Sticky Fruit & Nut Bars
9 oz. bag Sunsweet Pitted Prunes
2 T. water
2 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 t. salt
1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
2.  In a food processor combine the prunes and water.  Puree until smooth.  Set aside.
3.  In a saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar and honey over low heat, stirring until completely melted.
4.  In a bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, almonds and salt.  Add the melted butter mixture to this and combine.
5.  Spread half of this mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.  Carefully spread prune puree over the bottom layer.  Then press the rest of the flour mixture on top of the prune layer.
6.  Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the top is golden.
7.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut into bars and serve immediately or freeze for later.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Would you like to comment?

  1. These look fabulous and a great way to sneak in some "good stuff!"

  2. Those look amazing and it is a great thing to accompany that hot tea! Thanks for the tips and the recipe---definitely one to try!

  3. These look delicious!!

  4. What? They're not called dried plums anymore? Whatever you call them, they look great, especially in your bars. Thanks for this recipe.

  5. Yummy! Prunes may have to make a comeback in my pantry!

  6. Kristen @A Mind Full MomJanuary 19, 2015 at 7:29 AM

    YUM!!! I love prunes believe it or not and I love granola bars--this is surely a winner!

  7. Kelli @ The Sustainable CoupleJanuary 19, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    I love that this uses simple, whole ingredients. Nothing processed! This fits in perfectly with my challenge right now!

  8. Mmm, I love prunes too. These look awesome!

  9. I have been buying those prune pieces a lot lately. My kids love them. Thanks for another amazing dessert recipe Ally! This is a must try!

  10. These look delicious! My kids would love them.

  11. Could raisins be used how many cups would 9 ounces if dried fruit be?

  12. 9 oz would be just a little over a cup. I think raisins would also work but I might use a bit more, maybe 2 cups? Just because they are a tad drier than prunes.