By The Spicy Stiletto

Make tonight, eat tomorrow morning.

The past week of unhealthy eating and traveling has worn me out. I fell off my workout routine for a week, and admittedly exhausted myself today trying to squeeze in more than my body could handle. As far as getting back on the right track with my diet, I've been integrating healthy homemade bites like these granola bars as a means to satisfy my cravings but still stay healthy.

This recipe is fairly simple but requires some patience. You have to wait for the granola to completely cool and set after it's baked, but once the wait is over, you'll love every bite!

Fruit and Nut Granola Bars
makes 8 bars | prep time: 10 minutes | bake time: 20-30 minutes

2 cups of organic old-fashioned whole grain rolled oats
1 1/2 cup of whole dried dates
1/2 cup of warm coconut water or warm almond milk
2 tablespoon of agave nectar or honey
1 cup of dried fruit, of choice*
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/4 of sliced almonds
1/2 cup of organic raw coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

*optional, make your own dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, soak dates in coconut water/ almond milk. Allow the dates to sit for about 5-7 minutes or until softened. In the meantime, combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, including oats, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, coconut flakes. Set aside.

Place dates along with water/ almond milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg, in a food processor and pulse into a paste. Transfer paste into the bowl of dry ingredients, and add agave/ honey. Combine oats with paste until oats are well coated. The mixture should be moist.

Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper. Transfer oats to the pan and firmly press into the baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until edges are browned. Let the granola cool before cutting, about 2.5-3 hours.