How homemade can you go? If we are really committed to eating a diet of REAL food and promise to know exactly what is in our food and how it got there, we have a lot of work to do before breakfast, don’t ya think? Is there a simple approach to health and wellness that includes sustainable decisions and foods we actually like?
I think there is, but it’s not quite as easy as picking up a box of power bars and tossing them in the grocery cart. Individual packaging, ingredients we can’t pronounce and companies that are less than transparent, make it hard for us to show our love for real food, the planet and our own wellness. We’d be much better off finding responsible companies that make ingredients from whole foods that we can use to make our own power bars.
I hear you saying that doesn’t sound simple. Let me provide two tasty recipes that use two high-integrity, whole-food healthy products from this month’s blogger box and then let’s regroup. Featured this month are Raw & Root Organic Beet Latte Wellness Infusion and Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Organic Greens. Note that the recipe card below contains both recipes, but only the timing and serving size for the Beet & Berry Power Bars are listed at the top of the card. Information for the Green Machine Energy Squares is listed within that recipe section.
- One cup frozen blueberries, partially thawed
- One cup frozen blackberries, partially thawed
- One-quarter cup unsulfured blackstrap molasses
- Pinch of sea salt
- One tablespoon cornstarch
- One-quarter cup fresh lemon juice
- One-quarter cup Raw & Root Beet Latte Wellness Infusion powder
- One-half cup rolled oats
- One-half cup oat bran
- One-half cup oat flour
- One teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One-quarter cup flaxseed, ground
- One-quarter cup chia seeds, ground
- One-half cup raw pecan pieces
- Two tablespoons Earth Balance Original Coconut Spread, in cold chunks
- One-half teaspoon fine sea salt
- One-half cup packed brown sugar
- One-half teaspoon baking powder
- Two egg whites
- One-quarter teaspoon cream of tartar
- Two tablespoons melted peanut butter, without any sweeteners or salt added
- Two tablespoons honey, optional
- One-half cup cashews, soaked in boiling, filtered water for 30 minutes, then drained well
- One-half cup raw coconut flakes
- One cup raw almond flour
- One-quarter cup hemp seeds hearts
- One-half cup Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Organic Greens powder, Chocolate Flavor
- 10 large soft Medjool dates, chopped (It’s important the dates are fresh and soft, or they will not cream down in preparation. Buy the best and freshest you can.)
- Three tablespoons coconut cream (Put a can of good-quality organic, full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator undisturbed overnight. When ready to use, carefully open the can and scoop off three tablespoons of the cream that has solidified at the top of the can. Use the rest in your smoothie or pudding or golden milk, etc.)
- Two tablespoons honey
- One-half cup raw pistachios, crushed fine
- One-half teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Begin by making the beet and berry filling. Combine the berries, molasses and pinch of salt in a small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat until everything softens and begins to resemble jam, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently so that the mixture does not stick. While the berries are cooking, whisk the cornstarch into the lemon juice for a loose, thin slurry. Stirring constantly, add the slurry to the cooking berry mixture and continue to cook until nicely thickened. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Then, whisk in the Beet Latte powder. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Now make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the rolled oats, oat bran, oat flour, ground flax and chia seeds, cinnamon, pecans, the two tablespoons of cold Earth Balance Spread, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Note that you may need to combine the crust mixture in two batches, unless you have a large-size food processor. The end result should resemble a crumble that holds together somewhat when squeezed in your hand.
- Place the crust mixture in a medium bowl. Now beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar to stiff peaks. Combine the egg whites with the crumb mixture to create a fairly moist crust. Do not overwork.
- Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of an 8 X 8 glass baking dish that has been lightly oiled and lined with parchment paper (Make sure some of the parchment paper overhangs the sides of the dish.). Top with the berry mixture to completely cover the bottom layer to one-quarter inch of the edges with about one-quarter inch thickness. You will have some leftover filling (See the end of the post for ideas.). Carefully spoon the remaining crust mixture on top of the berry layer, gently spreading until the berries are evenly covered.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool in dish on a baking rack. Once completely cooled, carefully remove the entire power bar square from the dish by lifting the parchment paper. Melt the peanut butter; whisk in the honey, if you wish; and drizzle across the entire square. Give this a few minutes to set up. Using a serrated knife, cut into two-inch bars. Store, wrapped, in a cool dry place. Keeps for about one week.
- Have your cashews soaked and drained before you begin. Line an 8 X 8 glass dish that has been coated with a little oil with parchment paper, making sure you have an overhang as in the recipe above.
- To make the squares, start by processing all the drier ingredients first—place the almond flour, coconut, hemp seeds and Whole Earth & Sea Fermented Organic Greens Powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground and well combined.
- Now add the chopped dates and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Coconut cream and honey. Process on high until you have a thick even paste. If the paste is too thick, you can add some of the remaining coconut milk a tablespoon at a time, but keep in mind you want this to be thick and not pourable. Scrape out the paste into the prepared dish, spreading to an even layer about an inch thick.
- Sprinkle the crushed pistachios and the coarse sea salt over the entire top of the mixture in an even layer. Gently press into the soft bar mixture so it holds in place.
- Chill for at least eight hours or overnight. Once solid, remove the entire 8 X 8 square from the dish and use a serrated knife to cut into one-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator and use within one week.
- This recipe takes about an hour or less to prepare, plus chill time and yields between 12 to 14 squares. A serving is one square; like the Beet & Berry Bars, these are quite rich.
Note that the prep and cook times at the top of this recipe card are for the Beet & Berry Power Bars only. Since the Green Machine Energy Squares are raw, the only time needed is prep and chill, which is noted at the end of the directions.
My berries were fresh-frozen from last summer. You can also use fresh berries in your Beet & Berry Power Bars, but they will cook down a bit faster.
So what did we do with that extra bit (about a half cup) of cooked berries, spiked with Raw & Root Organic Beet Latte powder? Don had the brilliant idea of doing a last-minute glaze on his grilled chicken thighs. Apparently, it was delicious. Could he be the next Green Guy food blogger? Ya gotta love it!
Why I Love These Products
I can be a pretty picky Blogger Box tester, you know. Over the nearly two years I’ve been involved with the New Hope Network project, I’ve recommended a great many items, but there are just as many I haven’t. Before I give the Green Gal stamp of approval, I want to know there is company integrity behind anything I recommend, some sort of “giving back” to the planet and/or its people or at least a sustainability plan, and—most importantly—I want to be convinced it has worked for me or someone I trust and/or that it tastes amazing in my kitchen. So my Blogger Box bar is set rather high. And “bars” are just where I was headed this month with two products that pass the Green Gal tests with flying colors—namely purple and green. I hope you try the recipes above and that you are as “smitten” with my two Blogger Box recommendations as I am.
Raw & Root Organic Beet Latte Wellness Infusion
There is nothing weird or artificial here: concentrated organic beet root, goji berries, maqui berries, warm aromatic spices, all ground into a superfood powder. That’s it—a whole-foods powder concentrate that bends easily and tastes great, despite the fact that there is absolutely no added sugar. Total sugar content here is a mere 3 grams. So this product works well in recipes like those Beet & Berry Power Bars, where one of the goals is to keep sugar low and nutrition high.
And then there’s the integrity issue: Not an issue here. USDA-certified organic ingredients, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan. Works for nearly everyone. So Raw & Root has made its way into my heart and my cooking. I also love its companion, Tur Latte, which is loaded with organic turmeric and makes awesome golden milk.
Whole Earth & Sea 100 % Fermented Organic Greens by Natural Factors
This amazing powder has become my new favorite in smoothies and recipes like the Green Machine Energy Squares. After contacting the company to double check exactly how to use the powder in recipes, I learned that it is best not to heat it, which can damage the nutritional value of the fermented greens. Thus, the raw food square was born.
There’s everything to love in Whole Earth & Sea fermented products and little to worry about—actually nothing to worry about. What’s in it is simple: fermented grasses, fruits, vegetables and micronized medicinal mushrooms, plus a protein blend made with quinoa, brown rice protein and pea protein. No funny stuff. Well, my sample also contained organic cocoa powder, but I’m fine with that.
If you have seriously looked at supplements at all over the last few decades, you know the name Natural Factors. They are one of the largest manufacturers of nutritional products in North America. They have been around since the 1950s, starting out as a “mom and pop” kind of health food store business. Even though they are far larger than that original business model today, some things have never changed. They vow: “Right from day one, we’ve always been fully committed to making products right. We are not a public company with shareholders to impress. Instead, we care about impressing you.” Says LOVE to me.
Further, they have their own organic farm that has always been under their strict control: “This exquisite certified-organic farmland gives Natural Factors complete control over securing the best quality raw materials possible. Literally, control from seed selection to finished products.”
In fact, the Whole Earth & Sea 100% Fermented Organic Greens powder is not the first product I’ve used by this amazing company—we’ve bought supplements by Natural Factors for years. But I’m happy to have found this new love, which comes not only in chocolate but also in tropical flavor and unflavored. So versatility is a strong point here, too. I’m sure I will find a million ways to get more powerful nutrients into my homemade, whole-food creations by using it. And I’m sure you will, too.
Looking for more homemade power snack treats? Check out my past post on Ground Cherry Chews. And don’t worry if there are no ground cherries in your freezer because I offer other options. Here’s to our ongoing love relationship with REAL FOOD!