Monday, March 29, 2010

Power Protein Bars

In an effort to rid myself (and my kids) from eating lots of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), trans fats, and other yucky things, I am always experimenting with lots of clean eating recipes.

I found this one from the Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook and with some modifications, it is well worth the effort. They are not hard to make...just need to find some ingredients and make a yogurt cheese (sounds weird but harmless, i promise). My kids really like these as well and I hope they replace mr. quaker's so-called healthy bars every so often (sometimes you gotta give in to convenience!). A lot of these ingredients, if you don't use them often, can be purchased in the bulk sections of your health food store so you can just get what you need. And don't let the list of ingredients scare you...once you have them on hand you can make these again and again.

Power Protein Bars w chocolate and cranberries

1 cup whey or soy protein powder (I use Arbonne's Vanilla Protein Powder)
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup oat bran (bulk section of health food store)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup whole flax seed (bulk section health food store-cheaper!)
1/2 cup wheat germ (by oats in Meijer or bulk section at health food store-cheaper!)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup Sucanat, agave nectar, or honey (i used Sucanat which I found at the health food store)
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (or you can use nestle choc. chunks)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup yogurt cheese (see below about how to make this)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp EVOO
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Coat 9x13 with cooking spray
In large bowl mix protein powder, flour, oats, oat bran, flaxmeal and flaxseed, wheat germ, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, Sucanat. Stir in chocolate pieces and cranberries.
In another bowl mix yogurt cheese, oils and vanilla. Mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. You may have to use your hands (coat them with a bit of EVOO to prevent sticking).
Place mixture in 9x13 and press down to even out top. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Cut into bars. Place these bars on a cookie sheet lined w/ parchment or a Silpat and bake again for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to cooling rack. Once cool, place in airtight container and store in fridge 2 weeks. Makes 20-24 bars, depending how big you cut them!

Calories per serving: 290
Protein: 15 g and Fat: 8 g
Yogurt Cheese
-place 4 layers of damp cheesecloth in a fine mesh sieve or colander. Place colander over a bowl.
-add low fat plain yogurt (for this recipe about 1 1/2 cups) and let it drain overnight in the fridge (i covered it all with seran wrap)
-discard water from bowl

The result of draining will leave you with soft creamy-cheese like product (Tosca says you can even use as cream cheese. not sure about that one).

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