Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weekend Wonder Bars



If you’re like me, your summer schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time to slow down and simply “be”.  It’s August already after all, and as the weekdays fly by, I always wonder how the weekends somehow manage to fill up and become less of a time for relaxation, and more like a race to cram in as much as possible pre-Monday’s return to work!

To this, I say thank goodness for Canadian long weekends!  For a change, I am seeing myself stay in the city this civic holiday, and with that in mind I plan on doing all the errands, work and obligatory weekend must-dos in twenty-four hours, as to leave me with a full two days to unwind, catch some rays by my pool, and enjoy the city while it is at its quiet best.   

There certainly is something divine about the deserted streets of Toronto’s downtown core after the mass exodus of cottage-goers have made their retreat.  Everything here seems to slow-down, calm down, and allow for maximum stay-cation bliss.

So, what’s on my agenda today?  Well first things first: breakfast.  Breakfast bars to be exact, and these chewy tropical treats are just the thing to fuel me through a long to do list.  Plus, the recipe will leave plenty of leftovers to pack for the road, and snack on all week long!

Weekend Wonder Bars

2 medium very ripe bananas
2 Cups rolled oats
¼ Cup agave syrup
1 Cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ Cup raw sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1.       In a large bowl, mash bananas using a fork or potato masher.
2.       Add all remaining ingredients and combine well with spoon or spatula.
3.       Press mixture firmly into a 9X9 baking dish (you may want to grease the pan with coconut oil if it is not non-stick).
4.       Bake for 25-35 minutes until desired texture is achieved (if you want them chewier, aim for 25 minutes, more crisp, go for 30-35 minutes!)
5.       Allow to cool, and then cut into 12-16 bars. 
These store well on the counter for a few days, and hold up very well when stored in the fridge or more long-term in the freezer.

By now, we have all heard about how oats are an easy and delicious way to incorporate some cholesterol lowering soluble fibre into our daily diets.  But they are also a great flavour vehicle too!  The sweetness of the coconut carries well in these bars, and you won’t feel like you’re devouring a bowl of oatmeal in bar-form.  The addition of flax in these delights also provides an extra dose of fibre to the mix, as well as the super good for you Omega-3 fats we are always trying to get more of in our daily diets. 

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