Tag Archives: Walnut

Fig and Walnut Bars

I’m watching The Reader as I write this.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet (or read the book), I strongly suggest that you do so, even though it is a bit, ahem–uncomfortable at times.

Yesterday I went to a rehab hospital with my class and met several patients with different life-altering diagnoses such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other neurological disorders.  What really struck me is that every patient that we were introduced to were working at their therapy with positive, if not downright upbeat, attitudes.

These are patients with fairly new injuries that had a significant effect on their physical and mental functioning.  Even though the hospital was a really great one, I’m sure they’d rather be home or in their jobs like they were a few months ago than struggling to do basic tasks that only recently were so easy they were automatic.  I just can’t imagine the immense willpower it must take every day to pick oneself out of the deep sea of “why mes” and “what ifs” and just start focusing on needs to be done.

So kudos to the people who can do that–you are amazing and inspiring,

I brought some leftover fig and walnut bars for my friends and I to snack on while we were driving to and from the hospital.  They were definitely a welcome bite, since we were starving.

Fig and Walnut Bars (adapted from this recipe)

for the filling:

  • 8 oz dried figs, stems removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 T Lyle’s golden syrup (or honey)
  • 2 T water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground ginger

for the crust:

  • 1 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 T apple butter (or applesauce)
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flaxseed in 3 T warm water)
  • 2 T Lyle’s golden syrup (or honey)
  • 1 C toasted walnuts, for the top

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients (figs, syrup, water, lemon juice, and spices) into a food processor and combine until roughly smooth.  If a dash more water is necessary for it to form a paste, add it.

Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a square 9″ pan with canola oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, leaving out the toasted walnuts (to toast them, simply place them in the hot oven on a metal pan for five-eight minutes until browned).  Stir until a thick dough is formed.  You may need to add a bit more applesauce or water if it is too thick–it should be like a drop cookie dough.

Spread about three-quarters of the dough into the bottom of the pan and press it even.  Layer the fig filling on top (it should be a thin but even layer), and drop spoonfuls of the remaining oatmeal dough on top of the fig layer.  Spread the dough thinly and press the toasted walnuts into the mixture.

Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes, until the dough is browned.  It’s a bit difficult to tell with all the walnuts and layers, but it should be relatively firm to the touch.  Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

These are amazing–the fig center is sweet enough to make it taste like a dessert, even though the ingredients say otherwise.  With whole walnuts on top and a soft oatmeal “crust”, there are enough textures and flavors to make this a seriously satisfying snack.

A fig newton on (healthy) steroids.

I cut them into bars first, and then in half again into bites–mini snacks are just that much more appealing, don’t you think?

I’ve got a lot of school work to do this weekend, but never fear: the spring break countdown has finally begun!  On Friday, Fritz and I are headed to my parents’ house for an entire week, and I can. not. wait!

Kinda weird that I have to bring my baby tomato plants on a 6 1/2 hour drive, but a you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies two days ago when I got that late night urge for a whole-wheat sweet (ooh! a rhyme!).  The next day we were back on the road headed to Long Island, and I packed all the leftover cookies–and they were perfect energizers for the second half of the trip.  I promised my sister Kristen that I would post the recipe for her, and since I had some browning bananas to use up, I doubled the recipe and froze half of them for next week.

It has been a gray, rainy day, and these cookies perfectly fit the mood.  I wasn’t sure what to call them, because there are so many delicious ingredients that I wanted to highlight–but I thought that “Banana Walnut Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Maple Whole Wheat Cookies” was a bit too much…so I settled on the most important players.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies  (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 T ground chia or flaxseed
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 C raisins or craisins
  • 1/2 C to 1 C walnuts (I was heavy-handed with the nuts)
  • 1 banana, roughly mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C maple syrup (I used 1/2 C Indian or maple sugar, and mixed in 1/8 C water)
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toast the walnuts for six to eight minutes, and cool. 

In your mixer, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, chia).  Add the wet ingredients (syrup, eggs, vanilla, lemon) and mix just until it forms a ball.  Add the banana, raisins, and walnuts, and blend in.  I mixed until everything was combined–I loved finding chunks of banana in the cookies, so don’t overmix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and space the dough close together–the cookies don’t spread out much, so you can cram ’em all in there.  Press down the dough a little, and place in the oven in the middle rack for about 10 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.

Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack.  Since I doubled the recipe, I froze half of them in freezer bags for later–but it wont be too much later, since Fritz just got home from class and ate four already.

These cookies are just too darn good.

I wanted to call them “energy bites” because they really are energizing little crunch bites, but I was afraid that would make me forget they are cookies and think that I could eat more than two at a time.  Don’t want that!

Fritz and I are headed off to the gym in a few minutes–I am taking a Total Body Conditioning class, and then either doing some cardio afterwards or going to my old Hatha yoga class–not sure which one I’m in the mood for, but I’m leaning towards cardio.  Might be all those cookies I ate today…

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