Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Jeff Peterson
What do you do for snacks as a vegan? That's a question I get asked all the time. Most folks probably think all we eat are bananas, apples, carrot sticks or a handful of nuts. All of those snacks are healthy, but come on, why let people who eat a standard American diet get all the tasty treats?
My wife and I came across a recipe for chewy trail-mix bars in one of our favorite cookbooks, Christy Morgan's "Blissful Bites." When we first look at some of the ingredients – like rolled oats, dried fruit, sesame seeds and chopped nuts – we rolled our eyes and admitted that on paper it didn't look like the tasty treat we were looking for.
I have to be honest, they were so good that I had three right away. I know, what a pig! They disappeared in one day. Folks, they were that good. Actually, they were so good that we made another batch a couple of days later.
These bars are not only delicious, but very healthy for you. There is no sugar, and the almonds are a great source of protein.
AND, our children loved them too. All five of our kids chowed down, especially when they found out we put vegan chocolate chips in them. The chips add some extra calories, but they make them a hit with the kids.
Talk about the perfect family snack. Enjoy that vegan thing.
2 cups brown unsweetened Rice Krispies-type cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup your choice of dried fruit
1/3 cup sesame seeds
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup almonds, chopped
1½ cups brown rice syrup
1 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 cup of chocolate chips if desired (optional; look for brand that has no milk or dairy)
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Heat last three ingredients for about 5 minutes over low flame until melted and combined. Pour over dry ingredients and use your hand or a still spatula to mix until all ingredients are coated with the wet mixture. Line a 9-by-13 casserole dish with parchment paper or lightly oil. Press mixture into dish evenly with parchment paper or wet hands to keep it from sticking to your hands. Set aside to cool for about an hour, then cut to desired size.
Bars will remain pretty fresh for a week if you keep them in an airtight container.
Jeff Peterson anchors the 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. news on WGME-TV and is a vegan.