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Healthy Recipe: Strawberry Cream Energy Bars

Energy or granola bars are a great example of a wholesome food turned unhealthy by over-processing. But when made from nutritious ingredients like whole grains, seeds, nuts and dried fruit, they can make a nourishing and filling homemade snack. This recipe plays on the nostalgic flavor of strawberries and cream by combining creamy cashews and an unusual ingredient – dehydrated strawberries! This specialty ingredient is bursting with flavor due to the concentration from dehydration. If you are finding them tricky to find in your local big box grocery store, try a health food store or online grocery store, or try making your own when strawberries are in season. They are also a great way to enjoy fresh strawberry flavor out of season. Dehydrated strawberries contain vitamin C and antioxidants. 

Homemade granola bars of any variety are a great addition into the menu for busy lifestyles. They pack well for work lunches or travel snacks. Kids love them for afterschool snacks or school lunch treats. And they make a delicious alternative to a pre-workout energy bars. 

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups whole grain rolled oats

Pinch salt 

1 cup of cashew nuts, raw and unsalted  

1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

4 tablespoons hemp hearts, shelled

1.5 cups of dehydrated strawberries, rough chopped

12 dried apricots , unsweetened and unsulfured 

6 dates, pits removed 

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 small ripe banana (approximately 2 tbs)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon chia seed, rehydrated with 1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS: 

Preheat the oven to 325. And line a small 8” baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Begin by placing the chia seeds in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to hydrate. Set aside.   

In a large bowl combine all your dry ingredients to a food processor and rough chop. Remove from the food processor and set aside in a medium bowl. Then add wet ingredients to the food processor including dried fruit, banana, and oil. Blend until ingredients are smooth and well combined. Then add two tablespoons of hydrated chia seeds and pulse to combine.  

Now add wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and use a spatula combine.

Place the combined mixture on the parchment paper covered baking sheet and press down with the back of a large metal spoon until mixture is evenly spread across the pan and about ½ inch thick. 

Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Let the bars cool and then slice them into rectangle squares. Store them in a tupperware in the refrigerator. They will store up to two weeks. 

These bars make an energy and protein rich snack, or as a convenient breakfast warmed and served with milk poured over the top.

Makes 8 servings. 

HOMEOVEN-MADE DEHYDRATED STRAWBERRIES

1 pound fresh strawberries, washed and dried

Preheat the oven to 200 on convection bake.

Slice strawberries approximately ⅛ inch thick and arrange on a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Ensure space between each slice.

Bake for about 2 hours at 200. Peel slices from the paper or mat and turn. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Use or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.  

NUTRITION FACTS (PER SERVING): 

Calories 350 

Protein  8 g

Total fat  17 g

Saturated fat 6 g

Cholesterol  0 mg

Carbs 42 g

Fiber 7 g

Total sugars 17 g

Added sugars 0  g

Sodium 160 mg

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