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Homemade Fruit & Nut Bars

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By Brandon McDearis

This recipe requires minimal work and the payoff is one of convenience and great flavor. You can think of these bars as a homemade trail mix with the added step of mixing and baking. They are great to have around on the trail, in your gym bag or between meals when you need a nutrient-packed snack. They are a great source of protein and fiber and they lack the preservatives and other processed drivel of most store-bought fruit-and-nut bars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (9 ounces) pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup dried figs
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried blueberries
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup cashews, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons oat bran
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Puree fruit in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade until a sticky dough is formed. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated and nuts are broken up. Press mixture into pan.
  3. Bake until center is firm and edges are golden, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 10 bars.

Nutritional Facts:

Calories: 210 / Fat: 8g / Carbohydrates: 36g / Fiber: 7g / Protein: 9g

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Brandon McDearis is a personal chef working in the Charlotte area. He currently owns and operates Your Way Cuisine, www.yourwaycuisine.com. In addition to his culinary training, Brandon also holds a bachelor of science degree in foods and nutrition, with a concentration in dietetics. He primarily focuses on healthy cooking and addressing specific dietary needs of everyone from professional and amateur athletes to busy families and elderly people. Brandon is also one of the board of directors for Wellspring International Outreach (www.wellspring-outreach.org) and works with a group of others to raise money for the abandoned children of Peru.

Courtesy Endurance Magazine, LLC