Kids in School? Running around and just need "fast" energy? Love to make your own snacks and lunches? I found a great cookbook for you! Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury is a new, simple to follow USEFUL book of recipes. I was super excited to get this book and try some things out.
I love "energy" or "power" bars. Since they came into my life, I don't find candy bars appealing anymore. I think the right combination of fiber, complex carbohydrates, and protein all packed into a bar is just what I need in the middle of afternoon, or with my lunch. I love feeding them to my 3 teen boys too. Between school and sports, it seems like they constantly need fuel.
The trouble is, while I have my "go to" favorite brands, I still want to control and be sure of the ingredients. I also want to be sure the size is big or small enough to meet the needs of my family. Oh, and of course, I KNOW making my own can save some money!
I love how Power Hungry teaches you what ingredients you need to stock your pantry, as well as how to use and substitute ingredients.
What did I make? From the section of the book, Super Natural Knock Offs, I made some "Nick Bars". They resemble one of my favorite bars that I buy in the store. They didn't have too many ingredients and were pretty easy to make....and the taste was awesome!
NICK BARS (COMPARE TO CLIF® BARS)
1 cup packed pitted, soft dates
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups crisp brown rice cereal
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted or toasted nuts or seeds (e.g., peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds)
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut, cashew, or sunflower)
1/3 cup honey, agave nectar, or pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
These were among the first homemade bars I ever tackled, and they remain one of my favorites many years later. The fact that they are free of soy protein isolate—an industrial waste product of the food processing industry—will make you jump (higher and stronger) for joy!
MAKES 12 BARS
1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the dates and warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until the dates are soft (time will vary according to the dryness of the dates). Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Stir together the cereal, oats, nuts or seeds, flaxseed meal, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
4. Place the dates in a food processor. Using on/ off pulses, process until finely chopped. Add to the bowl with the cereal.
5. In a small saucepan, combine the nut or seed butter and honey. Heat over medium-low, stirring, for 2 to 4 minutes until the mixture is melted and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
6. Immediately pour the honey mixture over the cereal mixture, mixing with a spatula until coated. Gently stir in the chocolate chips.
7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap (coated with nonstick cooking spray) atop the bar mixture and use it to spread, flatten, and very firmly compact the mixture evenly in the pan. Cool at least 1 hour until firmly set.
8. Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars.
· For a higher protein bar, reduce the rice cereal to 1 cup, omit the ground flaxseeds, and add 1/3 cup all-natural, sweetened vanilla or chocolate vegan or whey protein powder.
· You can use an equal amount of other puffed or crisp grain cereals, such as puffed millet, quinoa, or amaranth, in place of the crisp rice cereal.
Tightly wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap.
ROOM TEMP: 3 days
REFRIGERATOR: 2 weeks