Saturday, August 25, 2012

Power Foods Friday - Vegan Breakfast Bars

Power Foods Friday is actually Power Foods Saturday this week.  I was out of town for work, so I didn't get a chance to write this week's recipe up until this morning.

When I go away for work, things usually get started pretty early in the morning, so the meeting hosts typically provide breakfast.  As per usual, the complimentary breakfast consisted mostly of heavy pastries.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE breakfast pastries, but they aren't really the power food I'm looking for when I'm trying to balance a busy week of meetings and marathon training.  So before I left for Indiana, I whipped up a batch of these breakfast bars and brought them along in my carry on.  They are under 200 calories a bar, but really fill you up!  With a homemade breakfast bar, a banana, and a lot of coffee, I was revved up all week to tackle my miles and my meetings!

So what makes these guys vegan?  I decided to sub chia seeds for the butter and the eggs which slices the fat, cholesterol, and calories while amping up the fiber and nutrients.  I'm actually new to the whole chia trend, but if you want to learn more, read about them here

-1 1/2 Tbs Chia seeds
-3/4 cup water
-2 Tbs agave sweetener
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 cups whole oats
-1/2 cup of raisins
-1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x9 square baking pan with parchment paper.

Start by making chia gel.  The chia rule of thumb is 1 Tbs of seeds per 1/2 cup of water, so in this case measure 3/4 Tbs of chia seeds into a liquid measuring cup and then fill it to the 3/4 cup line with water.  Allow the seeds to saturate in the water for 10-15 minutes, mixing vigorously with a fork every few minutes.  The seeds will begin to expand with the water and a gel will form.  Its not the most appetizing sight, but trust me, its a great base for these bars.

When the chia gel is ready, pour it into a large bowl and add the agave sweetener (a great natural alternative to sugar), the vanilla, and the brown sugar.  Mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar is evenly incorporated. Measure the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder directly into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon just until combined.  It is very important not to over-mix so your bars don't come out tough.  Finally fold in the oats, raisins, and dark chocolate chips until the all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Dump the entire mixture into the prepared baking pan and use the back of the wooden spoon to push it into the edges and corners of the pan and to smooth the top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.  Allow the bars to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Once cooled, slice into 8 bars with a large knife.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Power up your morning!  Power up your week!

Tall One

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