I’m back at my apartment, away from home, feeling a little bit lonely. It’s only been a few hours by myself, but I’m already missing my boyfriend, and not because we constantly spent time together the past two weeks, but because of that feeling you always have when you know the person you love is going to come home at some point. You know, that you’re not going to crawl into bed by yourself, or that you’re not going to wake up without a sleepy, drooly kiss or something like that. It might sound cheesy, but those are the things that make life easier for me.
Speaking of things that make life easier: Energy Bars.
That wasn’t really the smoothest transition, but it’s late and I’m already eyeing my bed (eventhough I have to sleep by myself). I spent the evening meal prepping for the week, and solemnly vow NOT to go grocery shopping until the weekend. I’ll have to see if I make it…hi, I’m Lea and I’m a grocery-addict. It’s like if there is enough fruit and vegetable around, I feel better prepared for life or something. Seriously, I may have a problem.
But, let’s not get into problems today. I want to share a recipe with you that I made at home this morning, as I was packing. The last time I made these peanut-loaded bars, it was around that time of my first graded lesson in January. I was totally out of it and not in any state to make time-intensive food, so these energy bars were a life-saver. The great thing about them is that they can be made in under 30 minutes, are only lightly sweetened by banana and dates and are glutenfree, so they’re not likely to weigh you down! They are a cross-species between a granola bar and some sort of dense cake.
That doesn’t sound too appealing, I know. But just have a look at the picture and tell me whether or not they look good enough to eat:
I added some dried cranberries (that you can’t really tell are there in this particular picture), but if you wanna mix it up and make these even more like a sweet treat, I suggest adding some dark chocolate chips or chunks in there. Or dried banana pieces would work very well, I’m guessing.
PB & Banana Energy Bars
- 1o dates, pitted
- 2 medium bananas, ripe
- 2 Tbs. chia seeds + 6 Tbs. water
- a few drops vanilla extract
- 2 heaped Tbs. peanutbutter
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup puffed quinoa
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup ground peanuts
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
- Mix together the chia seeds and water and set aside. In a food processor, blend the dates, banana and vanilla extract into a smooth paste.
- In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (including a dash of salt if your peanutbutter isn’t already salted).
- Add the chia seeds and the date-banana-paste to the dry ingredients, as well as the peanutbutter. Whisk together into a smooth dough.
- Spread a bit of coconut oil (or cooking spray) in a baking form, then spread the dough around. Press down on the dough so that it’s completely flat on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before taking of the form. Cut into bars or squares, and store in the fridge.
Note: These will keep in the fridge for a week. For a longer shelf life, freeze.
As these made a fairly large batch, I froze them in week-sized portions, so that I can take them out at the beginning of the week and have snacks ready. I don’t like eating the same bar or cookie every day, so I like making a variety of goodies and then I freeze almost the entire batch, excepting 3-4 pieces. That way I can mix and match every week and nothing goes bad. This week, I’m starting with three of these bars and two of my glutenfree hazelnut chocolate chunk cookies. It’s gonna be a good week.
Fun fact: I didn’t have any peanutbutter left, so I quickly made some in my food processor right before baking this. Turns out I have always added too many nuts when making nutbutter in that food processor, which caused it to throttle and die on me more than once. I now know it’s about reducing the amount of nuts you put in there at a time…you never stop learning, guys.
This is what mine looked like after I took it out of the oven. Lightly browned on the outside, which means it is still kind of gooey in the middle. I like it that way, but if you prefer this to be a little firmer and cake-like, I suggest leaving it in there for a full 20 minutes, maybe even longer. Just make sure it doesn’t burn.
As you can see, I cut mine into bars, and these ended up quite thick. If you want, you could spread the dough in a larger baking form and these would probably feel more like granola bars. Mine remind me of flap-jacks.
The weather was so beautiful today, so I sat outside on the balcony with my boyfriend, made some iced coffee and had to have one of the bars (including the crumbs from the baking form) post-run. It was horrible I had to leave a good 15 minutes after this picture was taken. Sometimes, time just feels too short.
Alright, I hear my bed calling my name quite loudly now. I hope you have a great start to your week and don’t let the weight of small things pull you down. I vow to do the same.
Also, I’m thinking of doing a “What’s in my lunch box”- post covering the next few days, what do you think?