Monday, March 22, 2010

Food on the Go: Energy Bars

Janet here: I'm soloing this week while Rachel and John get a mini-vacation at some sprazzy four-star hotel in Carmel that Rachel somehow scored a deal on. I normally would feel a little bitter about that but since I just returned from St. Croix, I can't really complain. Anyway on to the post. I'm a big snacker. I could quite happily nosh my way through life; in fact when I first moved into the condo Peter and I were going to start living together in — I was teaching summer school in Connecticut and he was teaching summer school at Harvard before starting law school in the fall — I never even turned the stove on the entire summer.

So while I write a food blog and generally love to cook, I often don't eat that way when I'm on my own. Ironic, yes? And also probably the kind of a thing a therapist would find interesting. Hmmmm. Anyway I also often get so caught up in my day that I wolf down my lunch or forget about it entirely until 2 p.m., at which point I'm starving and not near anything remotely luncheon-like. At these moments, I definitely tend to reach for something less than healthy when I'm on the go. I try to think ahead and bring a piece of fruit and/or a Luna bar or something, but the reality is I mostly reach for something with chocolate. It's a lifetime habit of satisfying myself with something sweet even though I know the resulting boost is only temporary and that there are a lot better ways to get some energy.

One of the benefits of doing this blog is that I'm more aware of eating healthily — I can't just feature desserts and cookies all the time now can I? — so I was pretty excited to try these energy bars by my new favorite cookbook author, Ellie Krieger. This particular recipe is from her cookbook, The Food You Crave, which I highly recommend. I've now made at least five recipes from the book and they're all winners and, very important to me at least, easy and not very time consuming.

These last about a week in an airtight container but they can also be frozen if you individually wrap them in saran wrap, and then just bring them out on a need-to-eat basis...which will probably be fairly soon after you freeze them. Do you have a go-to on-the-go snack food? We'd love to hear about it.

Energy Bars

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup shelled unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used all-purpose and it was fine)
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raisins (I didn't have any so I used dried blueberries)
1/2 cup pitted dried dates
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 large eggs

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
Place all the ingredients except the maple syrup and eggs, in a food processor and pulse until everything is finely chopped. (I don't own a food processor so I put them in the blender and hit chop and it worked fine.) Add the syrup and eggs and pulse until the mixture is well combined. It will resemble a coarse paste. (I hit pulse on my food blender but all that happened is the light blinked, so I poured the whole mixture into a bowl and mixed by hand with a fork and everything was fine. Just want you other food Luddites to know you don't have to have the technology to make this recipe work.)

Transfer to a baking pan and spread evenly to cover the bottom. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes total. Allow to cool 15 minutes; then cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days or wrap individually and freeze up to 3 months.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, so we haven't left yet and I checked the blog because I was intrigued by what you'd be posting, Ma, and now I'm thinking I might just have to make this before we leave because they seem perfect for hikes and days out and about and also because they look delicious. Welcome back! -Rachel