Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Homemade Vegan Protein Bars

Instead of providing exact measurements for this recipe, I'm going to try and recall what I mixed together at midnight on a Tuesday... and in the process, show you the beauty of cooking intuitively. In a big bowl, combine handfuls of the following ingredients until you get a "press-able" mixture; one that can be smooshed into a parchment-lined baking pan. Freeze for an hour or so, and then lift out the whole block of chewy goodness. Slice into bars, pop into a Ziploc bag, and return to the fridge or freezer. Alternatively, you can roll the dough into balls and create "protein bites." It's all in the naming, eh? I keep nuts/flax/seeds, and any snacks which contain them in cold storage. It preserves their freshness and will also prevent you from eating them too fast. Just defrost one or two bars the night before and take with you on-the-go.  

As for technique, there are just two steps: 1. Mix your dry ingredients in your big bowl (this promotes even distribution of
ingredients before things get sticky and hard to stir), and 2. Add wet ingredients until the mixture can be packed together (and looks appetizing). Most of these ingredients can be purchased in the bulk-isle of a grocery store, or from Bulk Barn. Don't worry about not having an ingredient or two. The key here is getting the right texture. After a while, you'll need to forfeit your wooden spoon and use your hands. When pressing the mixture into your pan, a tip is to wet your hands under cold water. This will prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. For the amount of work and mess this creates, you will yield a few week's worth of bars. Totally worth the effort! 

Dry ingredient options **In descending order of most quantity used to least
  • Puffed millet or rice
  • Almond flour
  • Unsweetened, shredded coconut 
  • Flax seeds
  • Scoops of your favourite vanilla or chocolate protein powder or cacao powder 
  • Dried fruit (such as cranberries, raisins, mulberries, goji berries, etc.) 
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hemp seeds 
  • Chia seeds 
  • Natural chocolate or carob chips 

Wet ingredient options 
  • Blended dates 
  • Almond or natural peanut butter or tahini 
  • Honey or agave syrup 
  • Stevia 
  • A little almond milk if need be 

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