Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Even though swimsuit season has passed us, that's no excuse to stop getting swoll. Well, you might be taking in extra protein to get big while you go hard at the gym, but I just like to have a protein bar at lunch to fill me up and help off balance the lack of animal protein I intake in a day. Protein bars are a better option than the typical lunch style granola bar which is typically laden with preservatives, fillers, sugar, fat and low in protein and fiber. By making bars yourself, you get to control exactly what goes in them.  Plus it's a lot cheaper to make them yourself. A lot of recipes out there are peanut butter based, which this recipe does include peanut butter but I like that it is not the main substance of the bar. The pumpkin helps buffer the fat content of the peanut butter and also provides nutrients like Vitamin A. So whether you are looking to increase your amino acid intake to get ripped for the ladies, or you are just trying to stay alive, these bars are a great place to start your venture into homemade protein bars.
As always do not let this recipe box you in. Feel free to experiment and mix in other additions as your heart (or stomach) desires.

Note: While the name of this post is Pumpkin protein bars, my personal preference is to make these with sweet potatoes. Roast 1 medium sweet potato at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the potato is soft and easily mashable. Remove skin, mash and use in replacement of pumpkin.

Protein Bars

  • 1/2-2/3 cup Canned Pumpkin (or fresh, or a smashed sweet potato; 1/2- 2/3 cup depending on how strong you want the pumpkin/potato flavor. Start with 1/2 cup. After the whole mixture is together, if the peanut butter taste is too strong, add the rest)
  • 1/2 cup of Peanut butter (or any other nut butter such as almond butter or cashew butter)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of protein powder (whey protein; or I use Garden of Life's RAW Protein)
  • 1/4 cup of fiber powder or more protein powder (I use Garden of Life's Super Seed)
  • 1 1/2 cups of toasted rolled oats
          To toast, place oats on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350℉ for approx 10 min or until lightly golden
  • 2-3 TBS of wheat germ
  • 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (Or 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, 1/2 tsp of ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp of Salt 

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the Powders, oats wheat germ, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir.
Place in a pan. 9x13 for thin bars and a 9x9 for thick bars. My personal recommendation is the 9x13. Although I love thick protein bars this recipe turns out better in the 9x13.
Bake for 7-10 mins for 9x13 (15-20mins for 9x9) or until set. Make sure to not over cook these. You want them to be just set but still moist and gooey. Wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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