Ah, the interwebs. They are a wonderful place, aren’t they? I have “met” so many great people through food blogs, chat boards and just via email. One of these lovely persons is my friend B over at Bella Lately. We share a love for goat cheese and smoked gouda, great movies and good music. In fact, a couple months ago, I sent B a burned Hem CD because I just knew they were a band she’d enjoy. Let me stress the fact that the CD was burned. And I sent it in this really awful, el cheapo packaging. It was nothing. Just me wanting to share a great band with someone else.
So imagine my surprise last week when I receive a package from B and it’s a cookbook! And not just any cookbook but a great one–Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave. How great is that?! Ellie K cooks great food that’s nutritious but also tastes great. Just like me! I am so thankful for B’s thoughtfulness. Tom said he thinks I should send B at least one more CD. ;-)
So, I got right to making a recipe from the book–energy bars. I am a bit of a Kashi fanatic and tend to eat a pumpkin flax ot trail mix granola bar on pretty much a daily basis. Granola bars are just such a good, easy treat but I try to make sure I am getting ones that aren’t as heavily processed and use “real ingredients.” So, when I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to try it out. It uses all natural ingredients, and doesn’t even use any refined sugar. I did change the recipe a bit by totally swapping out the fruits for what I had on hand. I also upped the amount of cinnamon and added a tsp. of vanilla extract.
I thought these bars turned out great! Enough sweetness from the dried fruits and the maple syrup, a great crunch from the nuts, and a nice and filling snack. My changes did increase the calorie count slightly (probably because I used fruits that are naturally higher in sugar) but these are still a great, healthy choice for a snack. I stored a few of these in an airtight container and the rest got wrapped in wax paper and then in a ziplock bag and frozen. This way I can grab one out of the freezer on my way out the door and it will be a great work snack.
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
Makes 20 bars
1 cup oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered dry milk
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 dried figs, stems removed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 and coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Add all ingredients except the syrup and eggs to your food processor, and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the eggs and then stream in the syrup, until the mixture is well-combined.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down with a spatula (or your hands) to make sure it is uniformly thick. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.
Nutritional Information Per Bar: Calories: 151 / Fat: 4.9g / Carbs: 23.7g / Fiber: 3/2g/ Protein: 5.1g