Triple Nut Energy Bars

 

Triple Nut Energy Bars

It is amazing to me how biased people can become.  Not just on food, but on anything.  You buy something – you love it, and then all of a sudden everything that company makes is amazing.  Some people would call that brand loyalty, I would actually call it something different.  That can happen just as easily with people.  You are impressed by what someone does – and maybe that happens a few times, but is that a reason to let your guard down and think that everything that person does is mind-blowing?

It is hard to describe what I have experienced over the past several days – but in some ways, it has helped me tremendously to focus on what I want to do next.  There is no reason to sit back any longer.  I thought my plan was pretty clear before last night – but as the evening wore on, things solidified even more.  Last night I experienced something truly unique.  Something that many people will never have the opportunity to be a part of.  I felt honored to be included, and both my husband and I were blown away.  It was exactly what I needed – I swear the trees parted ways in my head.  I am on a mission, and I can hardly wait to get started.

Now of course there will be bumps in the road, but in any venture, it is all about how you recover.  As I have mentioned, I have been on a KIND Bar kick lately – every weekend I make a batch for the week.  Surprisingly we have not become sick of them yet – but wouldn’t you know that last month’s Cooking Light had an article about energy bars?  They had a bunch of recipes for a similar bar, and of course I decided I had to compare.  Now remember – I never look at the ratings of recipes before I make that – that would take all the fun out of everything.

So – I whipped up a batch of these bars (adapting slightly to our tastes) and they looked wonderful.  That was until I tried to cut them.  They basically just crumbled into a mess.  There was no way I was getting nice rectangular shapes out of this batch.  So, I did what I could – I cut as many square bars as I could, then the rest of the crumbs I put in a container for on top of yogurt.  I gave the bars to my husband to bring to work – even though they were crumbly – I must say, they were delicious.  The crunchy quinoa was such a welcome treat, and the nut butter combined with coconut was just perfect.  Turns out, the people at his worked LOVED them – they were gone in a matter of hours.  So – what I thought was an absolute bust – turned out to be quite the opposite.  A lesson that can be applied anywhere…and I am sure one that will get a lot of use over the next year.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup salted, dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/3 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal or wheat germ
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
  • 6 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread oats and quinoa on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Place oat mixture in a large bowl, and stir in cashews, almonds, pistachios, coconut, flaxseed meal, and chocolate.

Combine almond butter, agave, oil, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour almond butter mixture over oat mixture; toss well to coat. Press mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in dish. Cut evenly into (1 x 4-inch) bars – or just crumble and serve on top of yogurt or ice-cream.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Triple Nut Energy Bars

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Chewy Coconut Granola Bars

My older daughter has been really into baking on her own lately.  She wants me to be in the kitchen with her, but she wants to do things all herself.  Her favorite thing in the world is when I say to her “Hey, I found a recipe that you can make all by yourself!”  She loves it.  I can tell as soon as she is old enough to be in the house alone…watch out.  It is going to be all about the baking.

I remember when I was younger, I was the exact same way.  I actually only liked baking when I could be in the kitchen myself…I should have known then, it was going to be my sanctuary.  I still laugh to this day when my sister and I decided to make a money cake.  It was her job to get the money.  She found some change, and we dumped it into the batter.  Of course it all sunk to the bottom, but we didn’t think about that.  We thought it would be so hilarious for our parents to eat this cake and as a surprise, end up with money in their mouth?  I can’t seem to remember how much trouble we got in – but let me tell you, if my girls every did anything like that, not only would I freak out, my almost over-protective husband would freak out more.  What would be worse, breaking a tooth, choking, or getting sick from germs on the coins?  I am sure we didn’t wash them.

I picked out a nice safe recipe from Cooking Light for her to make, and they were delicious.  We both agreed she should adapt it slightly to fit her tastes, which she did.  This is the perfect recipe for kids – not only is it fun and easy to make, it is perfect for packing in their lunch boxes – and because they stay good for a couple of weeks, you are set!  Start cooking with your kids now – or else they will start without you, and then life’s a box of chocolates…you never know what you might get.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 3/5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-grain granola
  • 3/4 cup chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour.

Weigh or lightly spoon 3 ounces all-purpose flour and 1.6 ounces whole-wheat flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine sugar, oil, milk, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high-speed until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low-speed until blended. Fold in granola and fruit. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chewy Coconut Granola Bars

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