Thursday, January 25, 2007

Homemade Protein Bars

Recently I started my workout routine again. It has been slow going but I am determined to start the Ultimate Frisbee training season in better shape physically and mentally this year. I'm hardly an impact player on our team, and admittedly last year I was hardly a role player either but I am hoping to keep this pipe dream alive and hope to try for one more year of playing mixed club before moving along to the pastures of the masters division.

So I began doing the Crossfit warm up and workouts about three weeks ago. After a week of slow going, things started to pick up and I am now feeling like I'm getting back in shape a little. I need to work on the cardio big time and I also need to concentrate more on what I am putting into my body. I'm a big fan of protein and love the Zone bars. Last week I made a sideways remark about the price to Jen and said I should try to make my own...she called me on it and so I spent a little time surfing the net looking for homemade protein bar recipes.

I found two I liked and decided to use a combination of the ingredients they offered as a base for my own bars. I relied heavily on the directions provided by Alton Brown (Food Network) for mixing and cooking. From the base concoction you can go many directions. In my case, for this first attempt I decided on a "G.O.R.P." type recipe, adding fruit, nuts and chocolate chips. The bars turned out quite tasty and, by my rather rudimentary calculations, are high in protein as well.

I decided to list the recipe here. As I said, I just built off recipes readily available online, so you can feel free to take mine and make it your own. On my second batch, I took a huge shortcut and used Nature's Path Organic Granola with Flax and Pumpkin Seeds instead of the rolled oats and other base dry ingredients...bars were actually better but that is probably due to the added sweeteners in the pre-made granola.

Johnny O's Gob -o- Stuff Protein bars

1 cup whey or soy protein powder
1/2 cup brown rice flour
11/2 cups pulverized organic Rice Krispies
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup crushed raw almonds
1/2 cup crushed pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup crushed pistachios
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup crushed chocolate chips

2 large whole eggs, beaten
1 package soft silken tofu
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unfiltered honey
1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
2/3 cup natural peanut butter

Canola oil, for pan

Line the bottom of a 2 13 by 9-inch baking dishes(glass works best) with parchment paper and lightly coat with canola oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the tofu until smooth. Add the apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oats,flour, bran, rice krispies, salt, nuts and seeds. Set aside.
Coarsely chop the dried cherries and chocolate chips. Set aside.

Add the wet mixture to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the dried fruit and chocolate (if you want to chop the nuts instead of crushing them, add them to the fruit/chocolate mixture to be folded in rather than the dry mix). Spread evenly in the prepared baking dishes and bake in the oven for 35 -40 minutes (Alton Brown recommends the internal temperature reach 205 degrees F). Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
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