I love bars. And I don’t mean the Coyote Ugly, pour me another round, pitcher of beer kind. And I definitely don’t mean the ballet kind. Or the pull-up kind. I mean the Clif Mojo, Kashi Go-Lean, Nature Valley Protein, Luna kind. Granola bar, breakfast bar, energy bar, and protein bar… you name it, I’ve tried it. In fact, I might even go as far as to say I am somewhat a bar connoisseur.
I have always considered myself a healthy person, and for me energy or snack bars have always been my go-to for a snack or light meal. And while they definitely still are, lately something has felt off when I go to cow down on my bar of choice. The more in-depth I get into my Health Coaching (more on that to come), the more I find myself scrutinizing the things I chose to put into my body. I am learning to deconstruct the labels on food packages, and am developing a better understanding of what it really means to eat whole verses processed food. What does it really mean when my bar claims to be organic, whole grain, gluten-free, or vegan? What exactly is in this thing to give it so much protein or fiber or vitamin B anyway?
I have made my own granola in the past, and figured it couldn’t be that far a leap from granola clusters to granola bars! So rather than let my questions be silenced, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own. This not only gave me to the opportunity to know exactly what was eating but also to customize my flavor and save some money! Going for at least $1.25 a piece, store-bought bars aren’t exactly that cheap when you have one every day, especially when you can get all the ingredients for your bars for 20 dollars. (Which also means that you now have an entire jar of almond butter, oats, quinoa, honey, and dried fruit / nuts of your choice on hand for many other uses).
Making these bars was so easy that I am actually kind of disappointed the experience did not last longer. I guess that just means I am going to have to make them again, which is good because I have a long list of flavor profiles and mix-ins to try! Because I like to eat quinoa for breakfast, I made a big batch of it and just used some in my bars, but if quinoa isn’t your thing puffed cereal is another great choice. Also feel free to change up your fruits and nuts or nut butter of choice. I wouldn’t discourage using chocolate chips or throwing caution to the wind and dipping your bars in chocolate either
So take 15 minutes out of your day and kick it homemade style. The next time you find yourself in the 3 p.m. hunger slump you won’t regret that you did! Snack on, kids.
Quinoa Granola Bars
Makes 12-14 bars
1 ¼ c oats
1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 c. slivered almonds
½ c dried cherries
½ c. shredded coconut
¼ c. honey
1/3 c. almond butter, melted
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
Line a 9X9 pan with parchment or wax paper.
*If you are looking for a crunchier bar, these can totally go into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or so.
As you work on the other ingredients, let you dried cherries sit in a bowl of hot water. (This will help bring out their sweetness and plump them up)
Add your oats, quinoa, almonds, coconut, and salt to a bowl. Set aside.
Because I don’t have a microwave, I melted my almond butter in a sauce pan over very low heat until it was creamy but not liquid. Add the honey and vanilla to this mixture and stir to incorporate. Turn off the heat.
Drain your cherries and add them to your oat and quinoa mixture. Pour nut butter and honey mixture over the dry mix and stir until combine.
Pour your ingredients into your pan, and using your fingers push the mix into the pan making sure to get it in all the corners. Don’t be shy with how hard you mash on the bars, you want to really push them in there!
Set the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before cutting. Because they are a little sticky / crumbly, I wrapped mine in individual wrappers after I cut them for perfect grab-and-go goodness.
Flavor me happy —
Fancy : Dark chocolate, cherry, pistachio
‘sins and seeds : raisins, craisins, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
tropical : mango, pineapple / apricot, coconut
happy health : flax, dried apple, pecan
…oh the places you’ll go