Bites and Bars

I’ve been wanting to try a homemade granola bar/energy bite type of recipe lately but have been pretty lazy.  I would probably go through a box or two of granola bars each week if I didn’t limit myself because A) it’s kind of expensive when you think about it and B) there’s often a lot of crap in most granola bars that isn’t necessary (high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, among other “yucky” [yes, I’m 25] things).  I’m pretty excited that I found two recipes which were very easy to make, relatively “healthy” (at least they don’t have preservatives) and easy to modify if you wish.

Pumpkin Pie Energy BitesPumpkin Pie Energy Bites (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients are simple:

  • 1 cup oats [I used rolled oats]
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter [I used chunky]
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 T. mini chocolate chips [I used regular sized chocolate chips]
  • [I added in about 3 T. of Chia seeds, too]

Cute little bites!Just mix it all up and refrigerate it for 15 minutes or so, and roll them into little balls.  Personally, I refrigerated them until I was finished making my second dish of the night.  The way I rolled, it made 17 balls.  Next time around, I’ll be doubling the recipe though because they balls are pretty small and I’ll devour them very quickly.  I’m also thinking about not using maple syrup (unless I have all natural, which I didn’t) and only using honey (3 T.)

The nutrition facts based on how I made these and how many I made, per ball: 86 calories, 9g carbs, 4g fat, 3g protein, 20g sodium, 4 sugar

Ready to refrigerate!
Ready to refrigerate!

Homemade Granola Bars (adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4th tsp salt
  • 2 T granulated sugar [I’ll omit this next time]
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter [I used chunky]
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips [I only had semi-sweet]
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut [I only had sweetened]
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds [I substituted Chia seeds]
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries or berry blend [I forgot to add this]

So these are kind of neat in the way they come together because it’s not chewy and soft like most I’ve tried.

In a pot, mix the honey, vanilla, salt, sugar, and peanut butter.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally for a few minutes.
In a separate (large) bowl, mix the rolled oats, oat bran, coconut, seeds, and berries.
When the boiled mixture is ready, pour over the oats, etc. and mix well.
Finally, toss in the chocolate chips.

They are pretty dense and thick, so they'll be filling.  Also, the phallic nature of this is completely unintentional.
They are pretty dense and thick, so they’ll be filling. Also, the somewhat phallic nature of this is completely unintentional, I swear.

You’re supposed to wait until the mixture is cooled to add in the chips, but I didn’t and they melted.  I’m not too bent out of shape about it, I think I’d rather have them melted in anyways!

Once the mixture is ready, put it into a dish (I used 8″ x 8″ glass pan) and refrigerate about an hour (I did it for a few).  Then I cut them up into about 12 little bars.  I almost broke my knife because they were so hard, but it’s a pretty cheap knife.

These are a bit unhealthier because of the amount of honey.
320 calories, 50g carbs, 11g fat, 8g protein, 122g sodium, and 34g sugar

When I make them next time, I’m omitting the sugar, using 72% dark chocolate bar (chopped), and unsweetened coconut flakes.  I might try to do 1/2 cup of honey and more peanut butter instead, but that might change the consistency.  If I just change those first three things, it changes the nutrition facts to: 323 Calories (both dark chocolate and unsweetened coconut are higher in calories), 41g carbs, 10g fat, 7g protein, 111g sodium, and 27g sugar.

I could easily cut back on some calories and fat by taking out the Chia seeds too, but I think the benefits (and more benefits) of Chia seeds provide are well worth it (anyone recall them from the book Born to Run?)

I’ll definitely be making both of these again, but I’m pretty determined to make a less sugary version of the granola bars above.  I will succeed!  Look for an updated post once I eat all these with some new ideas.

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Brittany

Just a 20-something homegrown Buffalo sports loving, distance running, gin drinking kind of girl.

4 thoughts on “Bites and Bars”

  1. These look really good. I’m always looking for clean bar recipes. The benefits of the chia seeds far outweighs the calories/fat you’d save by cutting them out. I’m not afraid of healthy fats 🙂 LOVED Born to Run. Every runner should read that one.

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    1. I much prefer the pumpkin energy bites because they are not as sweet, but my boyfriend thought the granola bars were very good. He did comment how sweet they are so I definitely think the extra granulated sugar is not necessary!

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