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My good friends Hett, Kirsty and Dean are about to set out on one hell of a physical challenge – cycling 1000 miles – the length of the UK from Lands End in the south of England to John O’Groats at the very top of Scotland. They will do this by cycling on average 100 miles a day for 10 days straight. There will be lots of hills and wild weather to contend with.

Thinking of them preparing for this gruelling adventure and the fact that Hett is an absolute granola bar fiend, led me to whip up a batch of these in an attempt to supply her with a granola bar full of goodness instead of being loaded with butter and sugar like most are.

These little snacks are a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and good fats and are extremely filling. They make a good breakfast option on the run and they can be frozen as well which is handy. There are a few ingredients in these that you may want to substitute i.e. hemp protein powder or agave syrup if you can’t find them. I’ve listed the alternatives for you.

However, the one ingredient that I think you should try to source are the chia seeds. These little black and white seeds are a complete superfood and when mixed with water to form a gel (not dissimilar to tapioca in appearance) they become a slow release form of carbohydrate; the perfect energy food. Because you don’t need a lot and they can be used in all sorts of recipes or added to smoothies, yogurt, cereal etc you will find you can buy a small bag of chia seeds and they’ll last a long time. Worth the extra effort needed to find them I think!

Hemp Protein, Banana and Chia Seed Granola Bars

Hemp Protein & Chia Seed Granola Bars (ingredients adapted slightly from Sarah Britton’s version)
 
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons chia seeds
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (or any other nut)
1 cup dates, chopped (or any other dried fruit)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup hemp protein powder (if you don’t have hemp powder use a protein powder that is as natural and neutral in flavour as possible)
1/4 cup linseeds or flaxseeds
2 tablespoons poppy or sesame seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower oil (or coconut, olive, walnut…)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons agave syrup (maple syrup or honey can be used)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2. In a small bowl, mix the chia seeds and water together. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. I found it easier to use my hands for this to break up all the protein powder lumps.

4. In a food processor/blender or just mash with a fork; mix the bananas, oil, vanilla, and agave syrup. Add the chia seeds mix and pulse until smooth.

5. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

5. Pour the mixture into a 9″x11″ baking tray suitable for slices and press evenly until the top is smooth.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

7. Let cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares or fingers. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Hett, Kirsty and Dean begin their epic journey this Saturday and they are raising money for Diabetes UK. If you would like to sponsor them, then you can do so here. Good luck guys xxx

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