So I heard that our little Pennsylvanian groundhog friend ran from his shadow on Monday. Meaning 6 more weeks of grueling winter. To say I’m in denial would be an understatement. Especially with this erratic Texas weather. It was almost 80 degrees some of last week, as it will be this weekend as well. But in between it’s been cold (in the 30s) and raining. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I love Texas, but this erratic weather makes me crazy. I just want warmth and sunshine, year round.
Granted, there is no snow here in my part of Texas, so for that I am grateful and I feel for you northerners who are covered up by it this time of year. I’ll send you a little bit of our warmth and sunshine this weekend.
In the mean time, one of the pluses of winter is the winter fruits. Namely grapefruit and pomegranate. I’m not the best at keeping up with what is or isn’t in season, I’ll admit, but I’m trying to take advantage more and more of the lovely produce that isn’t in my grocery store year-round. Pomegranate is one of those fruits. And when I saw these protein bars, I went right to the store and bought one. Yes, just one.
Now, if you’ve ever had a protein bar that you can buy in a package on the shelf at the grocery or nutrition stores, you know that they usually aren’t the most tasty things to eat. There are a few that I like pretty well, but they are also packed full of sugar, so of course they taste good. And the texture of some of them…so dense. Yuck.
But these…these bars are deeelicious! Oh yeah, and healthy! I mean, it’s like a (healthy) chocolatey, granola bar with pomegranate seeds stuffed on top. What’s not to love?? And J, who is not really a fan of chocolate in general, said that these bars are the best thing that ever happened to chocolate. So, yeah. If Mr. Personal Trainer and non-lover of chocolate approves, you can bet these are some amazing protein bars!
And you can customize them to your liking. If you don’t like walnuts or pecans, use almonds, peanuts, cashews. Add in some shredded coconut (J doesn’t like this so I omitted it), and more protein powder, less cocoa powder…whatever you prefer!! I think they’re might perfect just as they are, but that’s just me. Well, and J.
Actually the first time I made them, I used walnuts and didn’t put sunflower seeds. The second time I used pecans and added the sunflower seeds. Ah-ma-zing. Oh, and did I mention that I don’t really like any nut but peanuts? But I love these bars, nuts and all!
And they take all of 5 minutes (well, not counting the pomegranate seed harvesting o_O) to prep and put in the freezer. How much simpler can it get??
Make them, tonight!!
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick – I used quick)
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup protein powder (I used a vanilla flavor)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chunks, chips, whatevs)
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the coconut oil, peanut butter, and maple syrup. Stir occasionally until melted and mixed well. This only takes a couple of minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, vanilla, and protein powder. Stir to mix well.
- Pour the coconut oil mixture into the dry mixture and stir until well combined.
- Line a baking pan (mine was about 7×12) with foil or wax paper, spoon the mixture in, and press firmly with the back of a spoon or a spatula to evenly distribute and compact.
- Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and chocolate pieces over the top, as evenly as possible, and press into the bar mixture to set them in.
- Place in the freezer for about half an hour, then use the foil or wax paper edges to easily remove from the pan and cut into bars (I got 16 bars, 3/4-in thick). Keep them refrigerated (or frozen) until ready to eat as they will start to soften and the chocolate will get a little melty if they sit out for long periods.