Tom and I are training for the A1A (Fort Lauderdale) Half Marathon next month and we’re getting to that point in our training where I get really, really hungry in the afternoon. I’m not talking about your typical afternoon snack craving. I’m talking full-on hunger pangs with embarrassing stomach grumbling. The kind that always happens during a quiet lull in your meeting and makes your co-workers giggle. Like I said – embarrassing.
I needed to take action. I needed a snack. Something that was filling and nutritional, but also tasty. These Nutty Power bars are it. They’re really similar to my homemade granola bars, but I added more nuts and peanut butter and omitted the brown rice cereal to keep them dense and nutritionally packed. I love how sticky salty and chewy these are. Just perfect for marathon training, regular snacking and keeping my tummy quiet during meetings.
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup banana chips, chopped (the dried sweetened kind usually found with the nuts)
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325Â°. Spread the almonds and pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 6 â€“ 8 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit. Remove from oven and let cool.
In the meantime, line an 8 x 8 dish with parchment paper or foil and set aside. Now, mix the oats, banana chips, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a big bowl. Add the nuts once theyâ€™ve cooled.
In a small saucepan, heat the agave nectar, brown rice syrup, peanut butter and vanilla extract over medium heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a light boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 â€“ 5 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts. Mix everything together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl.
While itâ€™s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared dish. Using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so itâ€™s nice and compacted. Cover with more parchment paper and press down again. Let cool to room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a bit since thisâ€™ll make cutting easier.
Cut them into 2-inch square.
Makes about 12 bars.