This was supposed to make it on the blog last week, and wow, I am not even sure where last week went! It passed us by so quickly. On Wednesday night, driving home from skating with my daughter (we have a 30 minute drive home), she said, “Mumma, is it really Wednesday night already?” and I said, “Yes.” Her reply (between mouthfuls of hamburger soup that was her supper, since she skates until 7:15), “Huh, no week has ever gone this fast before.” Oh, just wait, little one! They only go faster.
In spite of how fast last week went, I did find time to make two batches of these protein bars. The first batch was from Tosca Reno’s “The Eat Clean Diet for family & kids”. My daycare monkeys loved them. My own kids and my husband were on the fence. They all agreed that they didn’t have enough flavour. I had to agree with them, and I think the agave syrup was the reason, that and the quantity of spice used was very safe. (I often find this with recipes that call for cinnamon or nutmeg). So, I tried them again, doubling the amount of spice used, and adding sunflower seeds and dried cherries, and this time, my own kids enjoyed them. My husband said they were fine. He also said the lemon bars were “fine”. Last night at his mum’s, he told her the supper was fine. I told him that for an English teacher, his vocabulary was largely lacking in the area of description. So, then after 14 years together he says, “I don’t like coconut.” Well, I guess that is a topic for another day, that and the fact that he still goes out and buys macaroni and cheese in a box, at least the last time it was Annie’s.
There is no coconut in these bars, but I did put toasted sunflower seeds and chopped dried cherries in them. And they are better than fine! They are delightful!
Apple Spice Protein Bars
1 cup Vanilla IsaPro or other vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup spelt flour or almond flour
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple butter
1/3 cup Maple syrup (if you have medium grade or dark amber, use that, if you only have light, use that)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract.
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (you could add slivered almonds if you wanted too or instead of)
Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly spray 9×13 pan. If you own a Pampered Chef large bar pan, don’t use it, as it is too big!
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including dried cherry pieces and sunflower seeds), and mix well. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add wet to dry and mix well to combine. I used my stand mixer and after 5 turns, removed the bowl and finished with a rubber spatula. Place mixture into the prepared pan, and spread and press down to smooth out. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm in the middle.
Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then cut into 16 bars (approx 1 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches). Freeze with layers of parchment in between bars, so you can grab and go whenever you need them.