The Kitchen Diva’s Power Bars

These energy-packed bars are the perfect on-the-go snack when dinner is still hours away. Individually wrap them for a homemade jolt of nutrition you can throw in your purse.

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Makes 20 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick- cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1 small, ripe banana
  • 1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt or 8 oz soft, silken tofu
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • butter-flavored cooking spray

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or line with wax paper.

Place the oats, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, flour, apricots, almonds and raisins in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Add the banana, yogurt or soft tofu, cinnamon, nutmeg, syrup, eggs and vanilla, and pulse 6 or 8 times until the mixture is well combined. The mixture will be sticky.

Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and spread it out evenly using the back of a spatula sprayed with cooking oil spray, or by running your hands under cold water and using them to press the mixture evenly into the pan.

Bake until just done, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and firm up, about 5 minutes. Cut into 20 squares and package into individual portions by wrapping in wax paper, plastic wrap or small, re-sealable bags.

Variation: You can exchange the suggested ingredients for your favorite dried fruit or nuts. Dates or prunes can be used instead of the dried apricots; dried cherries or dried cranberries can be substituted for the raisins; walnuts or pecans can be used instead of the almonds, if desired. Additionally, adding in bland, soft, silken tofu is an excellent way to add protein to the bars, and is less expensive than protein powder.