Monday, April 14, 2014

Superpower Granola Bars #EatAtoZChallenge

I proudly admit that I'm a Zumba-holic. The three days of the week that I have free, you can be sure to find me bright and early dancing away to the music and grinning like a fool the whole way through. Seeing how tired we get after just one class a day, I can't imagine how the instructors must feel after several! 

One of my weekly instructors moved on to another venture a few weeks ago, and as a farewell gift and thank-you for all her hard work I made her something she normally bought tons of - granola-esque power bars. I basically cleaned out the health food store - turned - pantry making these, making sure that each one would be chock full of fibre, protein and complex carbs (essentials for every athelete!). Psyllium husks (a great binder for all sorts of baking!), thick cut oats, leftover cold cereal, wheat bran, cooked quinoa, maple syrup, almonds, two types of seeds, dried fruit, protein powder and peanut butter all found a home, none of them competing with any other. I also just baked them, so that they would stay moist and chewy, not to mention freeze well.  

Superpower Granola Bars

I wrapped each cooled bar individually, just like the store-bought ones, so that grab-and-go would be simple and mess-free. I froze some for my mom to take to the gym with her too (hey, I come by the gym-rat thing honestly), which came as a pleasant surprise when the inevitable post-exercise munchies it. Being just slightly sweet from the dried fruit and maple syrup, the bars won't make you want to chug a bottle of water after having one for breakfast either (although we should be drinking more of that anyways!). Rather, the nutty, toasty flavour of the grains, seeds and nuts shines through and makes you feel good about your treat, not like you've swallowed a candy bar. 

This month's Eat A to Z Challenge hosted by  Meal Planning Magic, Sparkles and a Stove and Alida’s Kitchen is all about the foods beginning with "E" and "F". There are no eggs in these vegan bars, but a good number of figs found their way into the mix, making them a great addition to the roundup!

Eat A to Z Healthy Recipe Challenge

Superpower Granola Bars
Makes 14
10 chopped figs
3 chopped dates
⅓ cup dried cranberries
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup coarsely crushed Shreddies cereal
½ cup All-Bran twigs
¼ cup psyllium husks
¼ cup wheat bran
½ cup plain soy protein isolate (you can use whey if not vegan, or your favourite)
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp natural, smooth peanut butter
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup quinoa, rinsed well and cooked (I used red)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine the figs, dates and cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 1 hour, then drain.
  2. Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle of the orven. Line a 9” square pan with parchment or greased foil, leaving extra hanging over the sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oats, cereals, psyllium, bran, protein powder, almonds and seeds, tossing to combine.
  4. In a large bowl mix peanut butter, syrup, quinoa, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and drained fruit. Microwave for 1 minute, until runny.
  5. Mix in the vanilla, then the dry mixture and stir well to evenly moisten and coat everything.
  6. Press into the pan firmly (I used the bottom of another 9” pan over a square of parchment).
  7. Bake the bars for 25 minutes (for chewy granola bars) or 30 minutes (for crunchy bars).
  8. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, press them again with the parchment and pan.
  9. Allow to cool in the pan before removing and cutting into bars.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 200.7
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 72.1 mg
Total Carbs: 34.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.4 g
Protein: 7.6 g

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