Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Strawberry Season! - Part 2 (Sugar-Free Strawberry Oat Bars)

Last week we talked about strawberry season in Louisiana, why those little berries are so good to eat, and suggested some recipe ideas. This week we're showing you how to create one of those recipes.

These easy to make delicious bars are sugar-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and soy-free, sure to please almost anyone with allergies or any picky eater. Although they taste like dessert, because they're healthy you can eat them as a guilt-free snack throughout the day or even for breakfast. No sugar is needed with the dates providing sweetness. Healthy fat and protein comes from the almonds, and strawberries contribute Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. We've provided a detailed recipe below with pictures to aid you along the way. Try them out; we promise you won't be disappointed!

Sugar-free Strawberry Oat Bars

Recipe adapted from: www.wholeliving.com

  • 1 and 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 tbs rolled oats*
  • 1 handful of flour*
  • 1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
*Note - You can use certified gluten-free oats and a gluten-free flour to make this recipe gluten-free as well.

  • In a food processor blend the dates, almonds, and oats together until combined. 
Make sure to use rolled oats (not quick oats) and raw almonds (not salted or roasted)
Dates, almonds, and oats coming together in the food processor
The final product consistency. The mixture should stick together when squeezed.

  • Spread a small handful of flour in a bread pan so the bars are easier to get out later. 

  • Spread the date mixture out in a bread pan. Press it down so it's flat in the pan and evenly distributed.


  • Remove the stems from your strawberries. 

  • Mash up 1/2 cup strawberries in a bowl. 

  •  Spread this over the date/nut mix in the pan.

  • Slice the remaining 1/2 cup of strawberries. 

  •  Place the slices on top of the mashed strawberries in the pan.

The entire pan should be covered with slices. 
  • Put the whole pan in the refrigerator and allow to chill. After about an hour take out the pan and slice into rectangular bars. Before placing the sliced bars on a plate, you may want to sprinkle some flour on it to make pick up easier. The dates make the bars a little sticky!
You can leave the bars this size or...

...cut them smaller.

For more healthy snack ideas check out Whole Living's Snacks

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's Strawberry Season! - Part 1

Get 'em while they're hot folks! As many of you may know strawberry season is in full swing here in Louisiana. The season peaked in March/April and will continue throughout the month of May. Be sure to stock up while they're still fresh and local.

These berries are packed full of good for you nutrients, making the sweet juicy fruit that much more rewarding to eat. One cup has only 55 calories, lots of vitamin C, and loads of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Sweet Louisiana Strawberries

Want some strawberry fun facts? Here are five!

  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds 
  • 94% of US households consume strawberries
  • The strawberry is the most popular berry in the world
  • It's a member of the rose family
  • Belgium has a museum dedicated to strawberries

  • Information gathered from: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/strawberries/facts.cfm

    Strawberries are only in season for a few months of the year. Here at Sankofa we have several tips to make those local strawberries last all year round. There's no need to buy frozen strawberries flown in from another country in December, when you can use local strawberries from your freezer.

    To make the most of berries in season...

    1. Buy in bulk - Stock up while the berries are in season
    2. Wash your berries in a water/vinegar solution - The vinegar acts a disinfectant which cleans your berries and helps keep them fresh longer. 
    3. Freeze whole or sliced strawberries to use in smoothies or baked goods all fall and winter long. When freezing, lay the berries out on a baking sheet. Place them in the freezer until firm to the touch, then add them to a freezer bag. 
    4. Preserve them as jams
    Be sure to rinse all fresh fruit and vegetables you purchase!

    The culinary opinions for strawberries extend far beyond adding them to fruit salad. Below we've listed six recipe ideas to get you started.

    1. Sweet Strawberry Salsa - strawberries, fresh basil leaves, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar
    2. Creamy Strawberry Smoothie - strawberries, kale, banana, almond milk
    3. Strawberry Spinach Salad - spinach, strawberries, pecans, balsamic vinegar
    4. Refreshing Strawberry Popsicles - strawberries, yogurt
    5. Strawberry and Mint Infused Water - strawberries, mint, water
    6. Sugar-free Strawberry Oat Bars - strawberries, rolled oats, dates, almonds (come back next week for the full recipe!)

    Visit Sankofa's mobile market every Saturday from 11am - 2pm at 5030 St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans to purchase some local strawberries from Johndale's Farm in Ponchatoula Louisiana.

    Come back to the blog next week to see how Sankofa does dessert with our delicious sugar-free strawberry oat bars!

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Support Sankofa on Give Nola Day! 

    What is GiveNOLA Day?
    Hosted by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, GiveNOLA Day is the community's first one-day, online giving event to inspire people to give generously to non profit organizations who make our region a stronger and thriving community for all. 
    How can you support Sankofa ?
    On Tuesday May 6th support Sankofa by visiting this link and making a donation. On this date there are matching funds to be granted and other opportunities that will help us support our programs. Funds raised on Give Nola Day will be mainly used to support the HEAL Project, a youth education program that teaches 5th and 6th graders about health, nutrition and leadership. 

    Enjoy the video below of some of the HEAL students and listen what health means to them!  

    Thanks for the support!