Whole food energy bars
I had every intention to share this recipe with you sooner but things were a little chaotic over the last few weeks of 2016, and then the holidays happened—and you know how that goes. With the dust settling from my recent kitchen renovation, I’m just starting to dive into new photography and other food-related projects and it makes me pretty damn happy.
But I wanted to get the recipe for these whole food energy bars to you first. I rely on these babies whenever I’m in need of a nutritious, travel-friendly snack and I figured you’d love them, too.
Can we talk about 2016 for a minute? It was a rough year for a lot of people, I know, and crazy things happened around the world that we’ve had difficulty digesting. It makes me realize just how unpredictable our lives can be. On a personal level, though, I look back on 2016 as a year that was pretty great. I declared it the year of home improvement last January, and renos did happen: I got a brand new kitchen, we updated the main-floor bathroom, painted the entire house, installed new trim throughout, and my hardworking husband tackled a lot of little things that needed to be fixed or replaced (the “little things” list never seems to end). Phew.
Because we put so much money into the house, we put off any big travel plans for another year. But I did get to NYC twice in 2016, and treated my mom to her first-ever NYC experience for her 65th birthday. She loved 5th Avenue, and we counted every New York block we walked.
On the work front, my day job as a magazine associate editor got a little more challenging after my boss went on a four-week leave last June—and then never came back. I’ve been overseeing the magazine ever since. Because of the workload, my usual lunch-hour gym routine pretty much ceased to exist, but the experience has taught me a lesson in self-confidence. I know I’m good at what I do, but having important management responsibilities thrown my way has shown me I’m better at leadership than I ever thought I was. It was and is an empowering experience. (And I’m just now getting back to the gym.)
And then there were a handful of awesome opportunities throughout the year to promote DIY Vegan, which is always super fun, and some photography projects that included stocking my fridge with homemade salad dressings for Plant-Powered Dressings! by the wonderful Dreena Burton.
Although I never start a new year with resolutions, I’m excited about what 2017 will bring.
A few notes about these bars:
- This recipe was inspired by an energy bar my friend Cindy bought at Whole Foods. I went by the ingredients list on the back of the package to come up with this batch of healthy energy bars that cost a whole lot less.
- Because these bars need to be baked, I like to make them ahead of time, cut them into bars or squares and store them in the fridge or freezer so I can have them on hand when I need ’em.
- I haven’t tried any substitutions for the seeds or oat flour called for in the recipe. Let me know if you do!
- Don’t skip the brown rice syrup because it helps hold these little guys together.
Whole food energy bars
Yield: 16 bars
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it hangs over two sides.
- In a food processor combine the pumpkin seeds and almonds and process into a coarse meal. Add the sesame seeds, oat flour, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and baking soda and pulse a few times to combine.
- In a large bowl, stir together the brown rice syrup, maple syrup and molasses. Add the seed mixture and stir until fully combined. It should be thick and sticky. Fold in the dried cherries, if using. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press to flatten. To smooth out the top, it's easier if you place a piece of plastic wrap on top and use a spatula or small roller to press and smooth out the mixture. Remove and discard the plastic wrap. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.