So tonight was some home made pizza and granola bars. But I really just care about these granola bars since I was very uncreative with the pizza tonight due to sheer laziness. (No one needs to hear how I poured sauce on some bread and tossed on some mozz...yea...usually I make my own from scratch but for now its about the bars!) Chocolate banana bars to be exact! Im am absolutely in love with anything with oats. Not only does it keep you full for a looooong time but so versatile as well! These bars I made with banana and maple syrup to sweeten them up a bit. I usually dont like foods that are overly sweet but I think that this was just the right amount. Let me tell you, i could go on and on and about oatmeal. Sad but true. Back when I was trying to lose weight, eating a big bowl of this stuff keeps me full for hours. Literally. Even now that im trying to gain a bit and maintain (somewhere in there) I just throw it in everything! Its an excellence source of fiber and has a decent amount of protein. Oats also contain a good amount of magnesium which relaxes all those tight, overly stressed blood vessels. Happy blood vessels means lower cholestrol..hooray!
Before we get back to these tasty granola bars (they still have a few minutes in the oven anyways) here are some fun oatmeal facts:
-Did you know oatmeal is one of the oldest cultivated grains in history? Does anyone care? Maybe not, but interesting to know that these babies can be traced back to as early as 7000 b.c in China. Movin on....
-The number one non cereal usage for oatmeal is.........oatmeal cookies! Hot damn! I do love a good oatmeal cookie, Im thinking that will be next on my list of foods to healthify=)
-Oatmeal actually stabilizes your blood pressure. So starting your day with a big steaming bowl might help to keep those sugar cravings under control. (Ive tested this...its true!)
-Did you know that one 18oz pack of granola contains about 26,000 oats! Talk about getting alot of bang for your buck! (Thanks to google for that one=)
I know alot of people say that oatmeal is bland. But my secret to awesome oatmeal is vanilla stevia and pepper. Sounds amazingly disgusting, I know. Ive heard it from everyone. When I went home to visit my family for the holidays my mom watched as I poured in some vanilla stevia, which is acceptable being from the north where we sweeten our grains. But then as I reached for the pepper mill she got one of those, "Oh no you just didnt do that..." look on her face. Yup, i did it. And its tasty too! Been eating it this way for the past year or so every morning. Maybe its something I picked up when I lived in GA for a few years where I got schooled in eating my grits with butter, salt and pepper. Growing up we always ate our grains, which in my house was cream of wheat, with brown sugar or maple syrup. So I guess i just merged the two together. Either way its delicious, i promise.
Ok and back to the chocolate granola bars! They are out of the oven and cooling, Looking tasty i must say. (Man I'm good! ahha JK...)
Super tasty! They are a bit creamy tasting and super chocolately. Not overly sweet so you can definetly add more sugar or adjust this recipe as you would like. The texture is a bit chewy, not too crunchy but not too soft either. Overall super delish!!
Chocolate Banana Granola Bars:
1 Medium Banana
.25 cups of maple syrup
.25 cups of pureed silken tofu
1 c. oatmeal
1 c. puffed rice cereal (I used 365 organic brown puffed rice cereal)
1 c. Fiber One
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
pinch of salt
Mix together oatmeal, fiber one, puffed rice cereal, cinnamon, cocoa powder, salt and protein powder. In another bowl rough chop banana and add in maple syrup. Heat in the microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Mash together to make a syrup. Stir in tofu. Mix with dry ingredients. Press down into a pyrex or any baking dish and bake in oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. They should be slightly crunchy and chewy on the inside. Let cool and cut into bars.
Not bad! Enjoy! =)