Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nutty Peanut Butter Granola Bars

You may have noticed a drop in my "healthy living" posts in the past couple months. That is mainly due to me being not at the top of my game and more in survival mode the first few months of my pregnancy. Better later than never, my energy came back around weeks 22/23 and I've been taking full advantage of it with projects and recipes. Here's hoping it stays a while.
Lately, I've been on the hunt for a healthy granola bar recipe…something that was packed with nutrition and easy to make. Reese tends to have particular eating habits, and I wanted to have an easy/healthy "grab and go" snack around for me. I also wanted something that was not overly intense on the labor side of things…something that I could whip up on bad and good days. After repeated attempts to get Reese to enjoy homemade trailmix, (and noticing she was really only eating the dried fruit) I set out on a mission for a healthy homemade granola bar she would like. As I searched for recipes, I found that they were either more complicated than I preferred or not very nutritious, so I ended up making my own version. I was surprised by how much Connor loved them (usually the voice of reason in my healthy recipe attempts) as well as Reese.  

- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3 Tblsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tblsp. heaping servings of peanut butter (natural or regular)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 Tblsp. brown sugar   
- 3 Tblsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt

* I used an 11x7 pan, you can probably also use an 8x8 pan.  Cover the pan with wax paper and grease it.

* First chop the almonds and pumpkin seeds in your food processor. Then mix the oats, chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and cranberries in a bowl.  On the stove heat up the coconut oil, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and peanut butter (whisking until smooth).  Once smooth, add in the egg whites.  

* Then, quickly add to the dry mixture and pour onto the wax paper in the pan. Spread evenly in pan.
* Chill in fridge for a few hours to help it solidify(I plan on making them in the evening and chilling them overnight), then cook at 300 F for 30 minutes.  Once cool, place back in the fridge for a couple hours before eating.  This keeps them from being crumbly and more bar-like.  Store in fridge….enjoy!  

 *You could also get away with less brown sugar or try substituting it for banana (shh…don't tell Connor, but that's my next mission).  

* This recipe is a variation and combination of a few recipes, but mainly this one.