Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homemade Nutrition/Energy Bars

I was looking for a recipe for an energy/nutrition bar, similar to Clif Bars, that didn't use any added sugar, didn't have to be baked, and were mostly from all raw ingredients.  I know, very particular.  I found a few recipes, but not happy with them I decided to build from what I found and make my own.  They turned out great and the kids love them too...  Don't be turned off by the list of ingredients you many not recognize or find odd.  Go to a health food store, Whole Foods, Good Food Store (Rochester) and most or all the 'odd' ingredients can be found there.  Buy more than you need because once you try them, you'll want to make more.  They end up very similar to the texture of a Clif bar, but a little more dense.

Multi Nut Energy Bars
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup dried dates, soaked for about 3-4 hours (keep the left over water)
1 cup of raw, unsalted seeds & nuts , try this:
   * ¼ cup almonds, raw unsalted
   * ¼ cup raw pumkin seeds
   * ¼ cup raw sunflower nuts (kernels, aka sunflower seeds)
   * ¼ cup unhulled sesame seeds
½ cup creamy, natural peanut butter (if you use skippy, or jif, you're adding sugar--just so you know)
½ cup Agave Nectar (found near the honey in most stores)
½ cup dried cranberries or Craisins
¼ cup hemp protein powder (or soy, but don't use whey)
¼ cup ground flaxseed

Add ¼ cocoa powder or some chocolate chips for a variation. Try Cacao Nibs (from raw cocoa beans) for a more naturally chocolate, almost coffee-ish, taste.

Mix all ingredients together in a processor, except the dried cranberries. The longer you process it, the finer it gets.  If you like them chunky, blend for less time.  After its all blended together, stir in the dried cranberries. You might have to use some of the saved date water to add some moisture if what you end up with is too dry--or a little more peanut butter.  You could also add a little EFA oil, grape seed, hemp, or olive oil instead of water (adds more good/energy fat).  Spread mix in a pan, coated with non-stick spray or coconut oil, to desired thickness.  Press down firmly (it helps to spray a spatula or fingers with nonstick spray). These are not baked so just cut them into bars smaller than you think you would normally eat as they are packed with energy and are filling.  You can also cut the bars into bites size pieces for taking on runs or rides.  They keep very well in the freezer and they won't freeze solid due to the natural oils in the seeds/added oil. They also won't totally fall apart when they thaw.

The consistency will vary due to the moisture in the dates, the peanut butter, and other circumstances so you may have to add more of some of the ingredients once you have them all combined if the consistancy isn't "Clifbar-like".  However, you can leave them out on the counter uncovered for a few hours to dry out which helps too.

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