If you have a hankering to try something new in the kitchen, you'll want to wander your way over to @gringalicious' blog. Whether you're looking for sweet, savory, breakfast, or dessert, you're sure to find something to satiate your cravings With over 14,000 followers she's carved out a reputation for creating scrumptious recipes and swoon-worthy food photography.
There aren't many people I look up to when it comes to creativity. Sure, plenty of people inspire me, but I don't often return to the same people repeatedly for inspiration. @gringalicious, however, has captured my attention. There is something about her style that draws me in, or perhaps it's because she is 10 years my junior that I am fascinated by her raw talent and drive.
Let me tell you from experience guys, setting up food photography is no joke and I was working with one of the more simple food items. While I didn't have an array of props or backgrounds to work with, I hope I gave a satisfactory nod to the work of @gringalicious.
About 2 months ago she posted Sunflower Seed Oatmeal Banana Energy Bars and I knew I had to try them. As a busy mom, chasing after twins, sometimes I need to grab a quick bite to keep me going. Lately, I have been reaching for cookies, sugary granola bars, and left over Easter candy. Not exactly the snacks of champions, so when I saw these bars I thought to myself, Self, it's time for a change.
While the bars are filled with healthy, unrefined ingredients, the one thing I wanted more of was protein, so I turned to the creator herself. She thought adding protein was an amazing idea and suggested I give it a try and write a post about it. I sent Matt to the store to pick up all of the ingredients the following weekend and two months later, I finally headed to the kitchen!
Now, I've mentioned before that I am not much of a chef but I can stumble my way around the kitchen. To be honest, taking someone else's recipe and putting my own spin on it felt a little daunting. I wanted to go mad scientist but I ended up being a bit more rushed-mom-on-a-mission. Same thing though, right?
Everything started out well, but as I began to compile the ingredients into the blender something didn't seem quite right. Perhaps, I am not great at visualizing volume but the blender was just getting fuller, and fuller. Suddenly, the catch phase will it blend? began running through my head. And, it kind of blended, but the motor was working so hard it started to emit a burning odor.
I was using a Vitamix, which is a beefy blender, but I didn't really evaluate the volume of dry ingredients or the order in which I added them. There just wasn't enough liquid to keep the momentum going, and having the flax at the bottom wasn't doing me any favours either. As Matt said to me, that stuff is like cement! I probably should have used the attachment specifically made for the dry ingredients first, and then combine that with the wet ingredients. Like I said, I was a mom-on-a-mission and by this point my decision making skills were rapidly deteriorating.
After we blew a breaker on the blender, we decided to evacuate a good portion of the ingredients and add half a cup of water to get things moving. Thankfully, the blender reset itself and we were able to finish pulverizing its contents. Plenty of recipes call for whole oats so we figured we'd just hand mix the purée with the rough stuff and keep on truckin'. I folded in about 4 scoops of protein powder and added some maple syrup. Since the protein was also sweetened with stevia, we decided to reduce the amount of maple syrup. Matt reminded me that if you add enough sugar, just about anything can become a cookie, which we wanted to avoid.
Now that I'd totally butchered this beautifully crafted recipe, the time to pop this concoction in the oven had arrived. Since the ingredients had been modified and the liquid content increased, we had to do a bit of trial and error with the bake time. Finally, a finished product emerged and it both looked and smelled pretty yummy. If you're looking for something to help curb the sweet cravings and be satiating for on-the-go, these are a great option. These bars pack a lot of nutrition into them with just a subtle sweetness. So without further ado, the recipe:
Sunflower Seed Banana Oatmeal Bars with Protein
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Break to Feed Babies: 15 minutes
Troubleshoot Blender: 15 minutes
Formulate New Plan: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 25 minutes
Yield: 24 bars
- 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
- 4 teaspoons coconut oil
- sea salt to taste
- 4 medium ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup flax seed meal
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- 4 cups old-fasioned rolled oats
- 1 400mL can full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmegripe
- 1/6 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 4 scoops vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 cup water
- Line a 13x9 inch glass pan with parchment and grease with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 325 °F (160 °C).
- Melt coconut oil in a small frying pan and add sunflower seeds. Stir constantly until browned and toasty then sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, including the toasted sunflower seeds and mix well.
- Place wet ingredients into a food processor or blender and slowly add the combined dry ingredients as you pulse. When the blender begins to struggle scape the contents into the bowl of remaining dry ingredients and fold together.
- Scrape mixture into prepared pan and spread into a smooth layer with a spatula.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the edges start to darken and the top looks dry. Remove and cool completely then cut into desired size bars.
@gringalicious Tip: They are best stored in the fridge but should last for many days at room temperature also. If you plan to eat them over a longer period of time then freezing is probably a good idea.
Nutritional Information Per Bar
All photos in this post were taken by Mrs. Canadian Renegade.