Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

As much as I wish I could eat sweets all day, I understand that it’s probably a good idea to eat something good for me every once in a while.  In my dessert addicted mind, I like to believe that healthy foods will counterbalance all the cakes and cookies I eat.  I mean if I eat a healthy dinner of wild salmon and roasted vegetables that totally negates the giant slice of pound cake I eat after…….right???  Maybe???  Okay, so I know that’s not how it works, but it would be nice if it did.

Eating healthy has been on my mind lately for a couple of reasons.  The first is because I’m testing so many recipes for the business that I’m eating more sweets than I usually do.  I know……I didn’t think that was possible either, but apparently it is and it’s not as fun as I thought it would be.  The other reason I’m on a health-kick is because I recently started training for the Half Marathon I’m running in July.  This will be the sixth Half I’ve run and I’m really hoping to PR, which means I need to train hard and eat right.

My attitude towards food changes a bit when I’m in training.  Instead of just eating whatever is around, I actually put a little thought into what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.  This might sound a little cheesy, but bear with me here……..during training, I look at food as fuel to boost my running performance and to help keep me healthy and fit.  Ughhh…..I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s true!  I guess it’s time to admit my other deep, dark nerdy secret.  I love reading about nutrition and how eating certain foods before and after a run can help improve my overall fitness.  I think it’s fascinating to read why the ideal post-long run recovery meal has a carbs to protein ration of 4:1.  And I also think it’s pretty cool to read how tart cherries help to reduce muscle soreness.  What can I say…….I’ve got some nerdish tendencies and I embrace every one of them.

One of my favorite things to make when I’m in training is Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars.  I’m always trying to find ways to sneak more protein into my diet (I don’t eat a lot of meat) and these bars are the perfect way to do that.  They’re packed with protein, super filling, can be easily customized and, most importantly, taste crazy good.  Oh and I almost forgot to mention, they’re also Gluten-Free!  I’ve had a lot of requests for GF recipes, so I’m stoked to finally be able to share one.

The recipe for these protein bars originally came from my boyfriend’s Dad.  He found the recipe in Mountain Flyer magazine and instinctively knew it was something Boyfriend and I would love to make.  The original recipe is fantastic, but we tweaked it to make it a little healthier and more to our liking.  We can’t get enough of these bars and make them constantly during the summer.   They’re great as a post-workout snack or to take as fuel for long hikes and bike rides.  They are kind of filling and can easily be eaten as a meal replacement as well. Personally, I love to eat them as a quick healthy breakfast on busy mornings.

I really hope you guys love these protein bars as much as we do.  They can be adapted in a multitude of ways, so feel free to get creative and come up with your absolute perfect combination.  If you’re not a fan of Peanut Butter, use Almond Butter! If you want to add a little extra fiber to the bars, swap out the Rice Puffs for Kamut Puffs (please note Kamut is not GF friendly).  My favorite way to make the bars is with crunchy peanut butter, rice protein powder, dried tart cherries, and toasted pecans.  So get in the kitchen and get crazy and feel good knowing that you’re making something healthy and nutritious!

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The Running Slash Baking Correlation


Aside from baking, my greatest passion is running.  At first, these two hobbies might seem like polar opposites, but they actually complement each other quite well.  Mostly because running allows me to eat all the stuff I bake and not feel so guilty about it, which is definitely a huge perk.  The funny thing is that I’ve found I’m not alone in my love of baking and running.  The more blogs I read, the more I discover that many avid bakers are also runners.  I’m not sure why this is…….maybe whatever part of the brain that’s tied to baking is also tied to running? Or maybe we’re all hopped up on sugar and have to run to get out our pent-up energy?

I guess when you really think about it, running and baking require a lot of the same traits in people.  They both require a lot of focus and dedication.  Both can attract some serious, Type A personalities (I may or may not be talking about myself……).  And both running and baking have a sort of meditative quality to them, but that could just be for me.  They are my go-to stress relievers.  During my grad school exams, I was baking and running like crazy.

Running has been my savior in a lot of ways.  It’s my chance to unplug from the world (except for my Garmin – I’m kind of anal about my splits) and clear my head.  Whenever I feel my mind racing or have a problem to solve, I go for a run.  Running is the perfect time to figure things out and come up with a game plan.  It allows you to zero in and focus on something without any distractions.  On a typical run I’m usually working out recipes in my head, coming up with topics to write about, or figuring out what my next move is for the business.  It’s kind of amazing how much you can accomplish while running.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I came up with the name for my business during a run.

Okay, that’s probably enough of my ramblings about the joys of running.  I’m starting to feel a little cultish.  I’d like to hear what you guys think about this.  Are any of you bakers also runners? If so, what’s your take on the running/baking correlation?  Maybe together we can get to the bottom of this mystery and write a book on it and then name a really cool new style of running and baking after ourselves…….I like to dream big.