Since I started up the yoga again, my mornings have gotten a bit hectic, and I’ve gotten hungrier. Suddenly I can’t bear the thought of walking Rosedog without eating something first, so I started making these smoothies, and sharing them with X, too. I’m experimenting with bars that I can pack along with me (so I don’t starve to death on the long, half-hour ride home on the metro), and this one’s a slight variation of the one that Mark Bittman with The New York Times posted recently, a no-cook, five-minute to put together bar that’s crispy, nutty and oh-so-good-for you.
I actually made these bars three times in the last week, testing with both sweetened almond butter (which I bought by mistake), and unsweetened, and adding honey as a sweetener, as Bittman suggests in his recipe.
The first time I used the cane sugar-sweetened almond butter only, upped the amount to 1 cup total, and omitted the honey. They tasted great, but didn’t hold together at room temperature. I figured honey might be the glue, so I bought unsweetened almond butter, mixed it with honey, as Bittman’s recipe says, and found the bars to be too sweet — and they also didn’t hold together at room temperature.
Third time, I switched back to the sweetened almond butter and just kept them in the freezer. They taste so good, I really don’t care about the stick together factor.
But I’m hooked on the idea of making my own bars (I made a crunchy version recently for a Cowgirl Chef column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram), and I’m going to keep trying out different bar recipes. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Onto the smoothie — it’s a killer. You can substitute any frozen fruit that you want, but since we’ve got frozen mangoes and wild blueberries at Picard, the all-frozen foods store, I’ve gotten hooked on this one.
Makes 2 eight-ounce smoothies
½ frozen mango, chopped in 2-inch pieces
⅔ cup frozen blueberries
5.29 oz Greek yogurt
½ to ⅔ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey (I use this because the wild blueberries here are quite tart; you may not need this)
Put everything in a blender and puree until smooth. You may need to add a bit more soy milk to thin the smoothie a bit.
Chewy Almond Butter Granola Bars
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in The New York Times
Makes 12 bars
½ cup almond butter (or you could use another nut butter, such as peanut)
½ cup honey
1 cup all-natural crispy rice cereal (or puffed rice cereal – that’s all I could find here)
1 cup granola (I used my own. Recipe here.)
1 cup dried apricots or other dried fruit, such as figs
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Line a 8″ X 8″ pan with plastic wrap, with the edges coming up and hanging over the sides.
Melt the honey and almond butter* in a saucepan, and then pour over the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Press into the pan with a spatula, and cover with two layers of plastic wrap. Press it down well, and put it in the fridge overnight.
Cut into squares and individually wrap them up for EZ travel. Store in the freezer or fridge.
*Note: If you can find cane sugar-sweetened almond butter, just use 1 cup and omit the honey.