Okay sweet tweet followers, you asked for it and my husband has delivered. Between the smoothies I mentioned last week and his newly perfected oat-free, grain-free trail bars, Fred (aka Peanutman) and I have been truly enjoying M's kitchen busy-ness this summer. Without further ado, here's his recipe for these delicious high-energy, low carb bars.
Oat-Free, Grain-Free Trail Bars
12 oz almonds
8 oz pecans
6 oz sunflower seeds (unsalted)
6 oz pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
8 - 10oz shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
4 T grape seed oil
4 - 6 T honey
Preheat oven to 325.
Pulse almonds & pecans in food processor until you produce a flour. Pieces of nut are okay. Should take about 4-5 pulses over about 30 seconds. Don't get carried away or else you'll have a butter on your hands.
In large bowl, mix together seeds & coconut. Add nut flour and stir. Add grape seed oil and honey to dry mixture. Stir until everything is lightly coated. It will not be a solid mass; it will fall apart.
Pour mixture into jellyroll pan (ours is 12" x 19") or other rectangular baking dish (if using glass, coat with cooking spray). Press and pack down hard - if you don't do this well, you'll end up with crumbles not bars. Should be no more than ¾-inch thick. If it's thicker, set some of the mixture aside or bake it in a 2nd dish when the 1st one is done.
Bake at 325. Check at 20 minutes, press & pack again with back of spatula. Let cook another 10 mins...keep checking at this point. The edges will get brown, but the middle might still be gooey. Remove at lightly brown for “chewy granola” consistency (the honey might still be runny and it all just falls apart). Let cook past “golden brown” for crunchier consistency. Let pan cool on wire rack, allowing the cooked bar to set-up. When almost room temp, cut into squares with sharp knife (it’s not always pretty, things fall apart).
Notes: M says he was shooting from the hip when perfecting this idea - 3rd time was a charm! Oven temp, type of pan, type of honey, humidity, temp of bar when cutting all play a role in how this turns out. Even if your first batch falls apart, you can still use it as you would any granola crumbles!
Why no grains? The answer is multi-layered, but here's the gist. We work hard and workout harder - we live life fully and need foods that keep us feeling light and spry. Through experimenting with our diet, we observed that grain foods tend to make us feel full, bloated (sometimes painfully) and lethargic. Although we've always eaten healthfully, we still felt like there was something else - something we weren't getting right - that would allow us to harness and maintain regular energy levels rather than sapping them. In addition, I have an intolerance to grains, esp oats, that had worsened markedly this past year (right after I posted this basic granola recipe in fact!). I cut out all grains to see if my symptoms were alleviated, and wow - what a difference! Symptoms gone and tons of energy to boot! We don't miss it at all!
If you'd to learn more about grains and how they affect your bodily systems, start with this article: 10 Reasons to Give-Up Grains You can also google grainless diets, paleo diets, anti-inflammatory diets.