Thursday, April 26, 2012

Peanut Butter & "Jelly" Energy Bars

I used to eat lots of energy bars or "protein bars" several years back.  I thought they were good for me then.  Of course it wasn't my fault since they were marketed that way, right? ;-)  I wish I had known then what I know now.  Story of my life!  It took me a while to figure out the connection between consuming those bars and a seriously sick stomach.  I guess I thought it was just a coincidence.  When I started my journey on eliminating additives from my diet, I couldn't believe just how many chemicals and processed ingredients I discovered were in those supposed health bars.  We've come a long way since then and there are healthier options now (my inspiration for these bars is the ever popular Larabar), but in my opinion, there is nothing quite like making your own.  It's fun and rewarding, and it saves money too!  

These bars are a snap to make and taste eerily similar to PB&J!  The healthful ingredients in these will provide you with lots of energy, protein, dietary fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help lower cholesterol, and impressive amounts of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Grab one of these in between meals to keep your energy going, or munch on one when your sweet tooth hits.  Enjoy them any which way you choose!

PB&J Energy Bars
(yields about 10 bars)
2 cups fresh dates, pits removed
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp peanut butter

Place first three ingredients in food processor and blend until combined.  A thick dough ball will begin to form.  Add peanut butter and pulse to combine.  

Line an 8x8 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper. Place dough ball into baking dish and press down on the dough mixture until flat and evenly distributed. Place in refrigerator for up to one hour to harden up a bit.

Remove hardened mixture from baking dish and place on a flat surface (it should maintain the shape of the baking dish).  Cut into bars, or whatever shape you desire.  Store in fridge. 

If you enjoyed these, you might like my post on Vanilla Almond Date balls.

You can make these in many flavors.  If anyone has any requests, please feel free to let me know.  I'm always up for the challenge!  :-)

No comments: