Our family has been working hard at cleaning up our eating. We're eating out less and cooking at home more, and lately we've been trying to eat down what we've stocked in our freezer to make room for freezing lots of fresh berries this spring.
While digging around in the freezer drawer the other night, I stumbled across a solitary packet of my homemade pumpkin puree from last October. I set it aside, meaning to use it soon, and then later that evening I stumbled across a homemade protein bar recipe in the issue of Oxygen that I was browsing which called for pumpkin puree. Of course this was meant to be, so I decided to give it a try... with a few tweaks.
These homemade protein bars are packed with a healthy dose of both protein and fiber, making them a filling and satisfying on-the-go snack. I'll admit that a whole foods diet gives me tons of energy, but sometimes I want something a little more substantial than another piece of fruit or veggie snack, so these bars fit the bill perfectly while still allowing me to avoid the icky preservatives and such that can be found in a lot of prepackaged goods.
The other thing I love about these bars is that they use ingredients that you'll already find in most pantries. Vanilla whey protein powder is probably the most exotic ingredient, but you can easily pick up a canister on your next Walmart shopping excursion.
While my kids gobbled these bars down, I will tell you that my husband did remark that he found them to be a bit on the dry side, and I'd have to say I agree. Mind you, I had no problem scarfing one down -- they're definitely better than any store bought protein bar I've tried.
I just wanted to be sure that I let you all know that I'm sharing the recipe as I made it today. However, I think when I make it again, I'll try adding about 1/4 cup of coconut oil to add a bit more moisture, and I'll be sure to update this post with the results!
adapted from Oxygen Magazine
Feel free to try substituting your favorite dried fruits and nuts for the cranberries and pecans that I used. The original recipe calls for dried cherries and pecans, but I think dried cherries and almonds would be amazing or maybe walnuts and raisins. Experiment away!