Thursday, January 13, 2011

Old-Fashioned Fig Bars: A Gift for Your Favorite Teacher!



It's pretty easy to eat healthy and feed your children healthy foods while in your own home, but what about when they walk out the door to school? While I realize that I can not control everything my children do and eat while I'm not watching (don't tell them that, I told them mom's see everything! ;) I can at least arm them with the knowledge and life skills to make better choices for themselves.  *crossing fingers, deep breath in.....
Also, it is not only within my power, but my responsibility as a mother to make sure I do my part in keeping their little bodies healthy and strong. I believe that a very big part of that means making home made foods and snacks as often as possible.

Fruit and veggies make up a big part of our snacks around here. Luckily my kids are used to this and so they are not tossing them out and holding out for crackers, goldfish, bagged cookies, gummy yummies or whatever. I make simple (key word being simple here guys, I promise), healthy snacks to send with my little ones to school and for my toddler and preschooler at home. I love that they think of these healthy snacks as special treats, in part because helping mommy in the kitchen is just plain old fun to a 4 and 5 year old. Also, home made just tastes better!


 My Kindergartners friends try to trade their packaged cheese sandwich crackers for his healthy, home made snacks that he brings. In fact, I took my two little ones to have lunch with Jack at the school cafeteria yesterday (what a treat that was ;) and I thought I would surprise Jack and let him go through the line with us, it was hamburger and hot dog day after all. Jack was very excited to show us around and get his little brother and sister a juice but he was actually disappointed that he couldn't eat the lunch I sent with him that morning (it was a last minute surprise to go have lunch at the school.). 

Not only that, but the other Kindergartner's remembered me from a field trip a couple of months ago when I shared some home made pumpkin-oat bars with them and asked what I had today! Sorry guys, we only brought enough for the teacher. It is my hope still, that these kids will tell their parents about these healthy snacks and that they prefer them over the 'snack packs'.  A girl can hope can't she? Maybe I'll sneak one of my cards into their backpacks. ;)

So, like I mentioned, I wrapped up a few of these delicious Old-Fashioned Fig Bars and brought them with me so Jack could give them to his teacher whom he adores. She loved them of course and shared with another teacher standing by who couldn't believe they were sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan!
(It's all the rage right now :)




Did You Know?

The Fig Newton was named after the city of Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Kennedy Biscuit Company, which merged into the National Biscuit Company (now shortened to Nabisco) in 1898, was based in Massachusetts, and named several of its cookies after surrounding towns. The Newton, first produced in 1891, was the most successful, and is the only one that survives today.


This is What's In the Packaged (Fig Newtons) Variety:

Ingredients: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), FIGS PRESERVED WITH SULFUR DIOXIDE, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, SOYBEAN OIL, WHEY (FROM MILK), PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, SALT, BAKING SODA, CALCIUM LACTATE, MALIC ACID, SOY LECITHIN (EMULSIFIER), POTASSIUM SORBATE ADDED TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.







INGREDIENTS:  Organic Figs. PERIOD, End of Story.



















**Did you know that dried apricots get their pretty orange color from
Sulfar Dioxide and Potassium Sorbate?
Organic, Natural dried apricots will look more like these dried figs in colour.
They still taste sweet and delicious without the additives.
*I made two different batches. One with figs + apricots and orange juice and the second with figs + cherries and lemon juice. All other ingredients were the same




This next part isn't for the weak of heart.....
My Cuisinart food processor died a painful death a few months ago so........
I had to make a choice, chop up itty bitty by hand which wouldn't give me the texture I wanted or.....
put a bunch of dried fruit into my new Ninja Blender and close my eyes and hope for the best.
I warned you, scary right?! I've heard horror stories that will keep you up at night about people who have tried to blend dried fruit in their blenders and they broke insantaly. A crime I tell you.

So did my Ninja hold up?

YESSSSS! I only had a few tablespoons of liquid to add along with the dried fruit and nuts so I started getting nervous, cold sweats even after I pushed my luck and added the apricots to the pureed figs. Alas, there were tiny bits of apricots in my perfectly pureed fig mixture. I've got to get me another food processor!

Good Boy!
This is what your filling should look like. Pretty thick.


My Recipe:
TIME  15 MINUTES PREP, 30 MINUTES BAKE     YIELDS  12-15 BARS
Old-Fashioned Fig Bars

Filling:


8 ounces dried Figs (preferably Organic)

4 ounces dried Apricots OR dried Cherries (preferably Organic)

2 tbsp. chopped almonds

2 drops anise extract (optional)

1 tbsp. agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener such as pure maple syrup or honey)

2 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. orange juice OR lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger


Snip off the figs' stems, and put them, the apricots, and the almonds into the food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and process until mixed. Set aside.


Crust:

*1 cup regular or quick oats, ground in blender until fine

*1 cup regular or quick oats, uncooked (not instant oatmeal)

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce

3 tbsp. agave nectar (or other liquid sweetener)

1/4 cup water

* I use Coaches Oats Brand which is a Whole Grain and tastes toasted and yummy!


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in the wet ingredients, mixing well to a thick consistency. Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of an oiled, eight-inch square cake pan (use a wooden spoon or your hands). Spread the fig mixture evenly over the crust. Smooth the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.



Makes 16 bars. Each bar (with almonds) contains: 117 Calories (kcal); 1 g Total Fat; (10% calories from fat); 2 g Protein; 26 g Carbohydrate; 0 mg Cholesterol; 67 mg Sodium; 4 g Fiber


PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE

29 comments:

  1. This are really nifty looking updated Fig Newtons! I can't wait to give them a try. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. High school teachers love getting gifts, too, so don't let your kiddos forget that as they get older ;)
    Of course, I don't know, if I were a child, that I would be willing to part with such a yummy treat, even to bribe the teacher!
    http://decadentphilistines.blogspot.com :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I soooo love fig newtons. But you're right. That ingredient list is nasty. And these look delicious. Can I have some? I teach high school. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh man! I have a bunch of figs to use up! I know what I will be making!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love figs and these bars look incredible. Thank you for posting this recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  6. These looks so delicious and healthy - thanks so much for sharing them!
    Check out my homemade energy bars on http://www.snack-girl.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved learning more about your family...they sound so precious! I can't wait until I have kids just so I can make them delicious and healthy lunches and snacks. Your family is so blessed to have you! I love fig newtons...but I don't love that ingredient list. Your recipe is going to be utilized in the very near future! Thanks for sharing, sweet friend.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderfully healthy snack for your kids to take to school. I love these fig bars. And you wrapped them so beautifully. This recipe is a keeper.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's great that they are sugar free! I love baked goods like these. I'm sure his teacher will be so pleased.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gwen, I loved your story about going to lunch at your son's school! that is so sweet. I was cracking up when the kids were expecting a treat! Just like little baby birds, aren't they?

    One of my mom's favorite cookies are fig newtons. I've never been to big on them, but I love figs and cookies...so your's look SO much better. I have to make these. I know she (and me) would love to have them with some tea!- hey that rhymes!

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  11. great technique! I've never thought of making a paste with dried fruits. I love this idea; no need to add sugar. I might try with dried plums because they're nice and moist without seeds. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh, my daughter is just 4 months old and I'm already worrying about finding the healthiest, organic foods for her:D right now it's mainly about what *I* eat, since I exclusively breastfeed, but I'm starting to explore those berry and fruit purees - i hope those made in Sweden are natural enough... I can't wait for her to grow up so that I could cook for her! ^_^ Your fig bars look so delicious and healthy! You're such a caring Mom! hey, I didn't know dried apricots were so orange in colour thanks to sulfur dioxide!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gwen, this looks amazing....complicated but amazing! Thanks for sharing and I bet that teacher was pretty happy!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Gwen! These are my Mom's favorites! The last ones I made for her were so fat laden it was SCARY! Thanks for this recipe. I also made the quinoa bars today with slightly altered ingredients (well, at least some different things)..I added some squeezed orange juice...Ella won't eat them yet but I am thinking as I phase out sugar with her eventually her tastes will change (hoping)...I am sugar free for 6 weeks:):)

    ReplyDelete
  15. @ Jessica, they rant complicated at all! Super simple, prob just my long story, sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Gwen, I Thanks for following me on FB! I love your site, your photography is great!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Yum! I am your newest follower! I cant wait to see more!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh man...These look amazing! I have never tried making my own fig bars...thanks for sharing. I am making this! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love love love these. They're about to send me into a midnight baking spin. I'm hooked. Oh, and your photos are absolutely stunning

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't let any processed foods in my house now and I plan on being just as strict when I have kids. My motto is that if I can't make it myself, then I probably shouldn't be eating it.

    These fig bars sound wonderful! I think I might need to take them for a school snack one of these days...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great story! These fig bars look out of this world delicious! Even a bit good for you at the same time. Perfect!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I found them! I know I've read this post before, I must not have commented. Sheesh. Sometimes I get so excited over the recipes I forget to comment. I am loving this recipe, it has such a small amount of sugar!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great story! These fig bars look out of this world delicious! Even a bit good for you at the same time. Perfect!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Gwen, I Thanks for following me on FB! I love your site, your photography is great!

    ReplyDelete
  25. That's great that they are sugar free! I love baked goods like these. I'm sure his teacher will be so pleased.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I soooo love fig newtons. But you're right. That ingredient list is nasty. And these look delicious. Can I have some? I teach high school. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. This are really nifty looking updated Fig Newtons! I can't wait to give them a try. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Followed the recipe exactly, but does not yield 16 bars. My 8 inch square pan was half empty so I transferred the crust to a smaller pan. 2 cups of oatmeal won't go that far, but there are only 2 of us so 16 bars would have been too much any way. I would suggest doubling the recipe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your feedback. I'm not sure what went wrong but I've been meaning to make these again soon so I will check it out. I suppose how many bars you get depends on how big you cut thm as well..

      Delete

If you really like a post please share, like on FB, Google +, Stumble and give it a THUMBS UP or Pin It on Pinterest!

I appreciate all positive and helpful comments! Thanks for stopping by.