Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Coconut, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Protein Bars

We eat on the go a lot at our house. Field trips, early morning runs, music lessons, dance lessons, 2 services at church on Sunday. You know the drill. Often times, we need a quick snack on the go, but I want something better than simple carbs and tons of sugar. Enter the protein bar! Store bought bars (like Lara bars and Cliff bars) are super expensive and honestly, I generally feel like I need 2 to satisfy any hunger and that adds up quickly especially with 5 people. So, that doesn't fly well at our house. Finally, Mike and I decided to make our own bars. We've been fiddling with the recipe for about 3 years and finally have it to where we love it. It's open for lots of interpretation, so take it as a spring board to find your own perfect family recipe.

Protein Bars

2 ripe bananas
1/2 C. coconut oil
3 C. oats
1 C. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1/2 C. dried apples, cut into small bits (you can use any combo of dried fruits such as dates, cherries, mangoes, apricots, raisins, ect. We just prefer cranberries or cherries and apples.)
1 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. sunflower seeds
1/2 C. walnuts, chopped (you can use any nut combo you prefer to make 1C. of nuts.)
1 C. of maple syrup/honey/molasses (I use 1/3C. of each to make a full cup. It's our preference. The original recipe called for maple syrup, but that's expensive and I prefer the depth of flavor the molasses and honey add.)
1 C. peanut butter ( or any nut butter of your preference. almond, pecan, cashew, ect.)
6 scoops of protein powder ( I use Nutiva Hemp Protein)
4 T. flax seeds or flax meal
4 T. Chia seeds
1 T. cinnamon

2 t. vanilla extract

Throw everything into your big stand mixer 2 or 3 at a time, and mash it all up together well, adding ingredients as you go. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper so you can lift the bars out when frozen to make cutting the bars easier later. Spread out mixture well and then freeze for a few hours. Remove from freezer and slice into bars. Wrap individually or not and keep them in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. Enjoy!

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