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Cooking with Friends: Shawna Bars

This is the inaugural edition of our latest series called Cooking With Friends. In this series we will be featuring a variety of recipes from our family and friends from around the world. This edition starts off in the United States with a good online friend of ours, Shawna. Shawna and her family life in Maine and they decided to start making their own granola bars. We were in need of some inexpensive high protein options and these fit the bill.

To be honest after making these they remind me of a mix between Clif Bars and Larabars both of which are good in their own right but, making homemade ones and knowing exactly what goes into the food we eat is a big thing around our house. Sure we eat our fair share of fast food and eating out, but our preference is home cooked meals.

Before delving too far into the recipe I want to introduce Shawna to you a bit more.

Shawna is a disabled Veteran, wife, and mother. Her husband is a personal trainer and TBI survivor while her son is graduating from high school in June 2020 and pursuing a career in biomedical engineering and nanotechnology (a field where his autism becomes one of his greatest assets).

Shawna is also a graphic designer, sculptor, and teaching artist. She puts these skills to use and gives back to her community by teaching an art class to fellow disabled Veterans and their families at the Travis Mills Foundation. Check out her website, shawnabarnes.com

In order to balance working full time, going to school full time, and taking care of her family Shawna has come to value the importance of a well balanced diet. Eating well and fueling her and her family’s bodies through nutrition is an important factor in maintaining their health and wellness.

I have been friends with Shawna going on about 2 years now on Facebook. We have yet to forge our friendship in person so we are with each other in spirit. We know that one day we will meet and that’s good enough for us! 😂😂😂

I followed the recipe for the most part but, I used different nuts since that is what we had on hand and I played around with chia and flax seed and they turned out delicious. Below you will find the original recipe for Shawna Bars as well as my adaptations so that you can decide for yourself how you want to go about it. The nice thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible so the sky is the limit with ideas. So you will be seeing more options as I play around more!

The recipe was really simple to follow since there weren’t a ton of steps. It seems daunting because there’s a lot of ingredients, but it’s almost like making no bake cookies. Essentially you are mixing the dry ingredients together and then mixing the binders in to help everything hold together.

Without further ado here is the recipe for Shawna Bars:

Ingredients

1 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup Sliced Almonds

1.3 cup honey

1.3 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 scoop protein powder

4 cups oats1 cup flour

1 tsp cocoa powder

Optional changes:

Instead of almonds chop up pecans and cashews or other nuts equaling to a cup.

Use a different nut butter.

Use agave nectar instead of honey.

Include dried fruit like cranberries or raisins for a nice fruity pop to the bars.

Reduce the flour to ½ cup and add a ¼ cup ground flax seed and ¼ cup ground chia seed. You can buy seeds relatively inexpensively and use a coffee grinder to break them up.

Directions:

  1. Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 F and grease and 9×11 baking dish. Combine pumpkin seeds, almonds (or nuts), protein powder, oats and flour or flour with chia and flax seed. Stir together to combine.
  2. Step 2: Melt the honey and peanut butter in a large pan over medium heat and add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Stir until everything is mixed and melted together.
  3. Step 3: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. Stir with a strong spoon until everything is combined and the mixture is thoroughly wet.
  4. Step 4: Add the completed mixture to the baking dish and use a flat spatula to push the bar mixture down and even it out. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Step 5: Pull out of the oven and let the bars cool. I cut some slices in mine as it cooled so that it wasn’t as hard once the bars had cooled.
  6. Step 6: Cut bars completely and wrap each bar in plastic wrap or put them all in a large reclosable bag. ***We decided to refrigerate ours since we added the chia and flax seed. They are delicious straight out of the fridge but, the do not need to be refrigerated.***

Want to be featured in a #cookingwithfriends article? Comment or send us a message. We are happy to add more to the list!

Intro photo by Jennifer Kim @yehlinkeem96 from Unsplash.com

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