Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

My weeks seem to come in cycles now.  For example, this week: busy weekend (including a baby shower for LB and baby E!!) , followed by a long Monday at school, complete with grading and homework, a looooong Tuesday of homework, a busy Wednesday at school (usually followed by Bible study, but followed with catching up on homework instead this week, oops), and finally a "sanely" paced Thursday morning, to be followed by an afternoon at school doing homework, and followed up by the start to another busy weekend.  Phew.  So, I guess I'm saying that the cycle is busy-busy-busy-morning to catch up-busy-busy.

This morning I decided to kinda go on a "making" binge.  I can't really say baking, since only one thing is actually baked, but you get the idea.

I started with some pumpkin chai concentrate, proceeded to make these protein bars, and followed that up with some zucchini bread for NES (made with our one and only homegrown zucchini!), and finished off with cake batter granola bars.

And I'm super excited about my new chai setup.  (aka I now have a strainer to use  for it that holds more than a small handful of berries!  so much easier, and it actually got me an extra cup of chai!)

But this story is really about the protein bars.  I've been thinking about them for a while, and recently I've been grabbing a protein bar and a banana for breakfasts on the go.  It's been a  busy  semester so far.  However, after looking at the ingredients the other morning (not that they were so bad, but I still wanted to be in control), I decided it was time.

I've mostly been resisting because I didn't want to invest in protein powder.  I actually remembered that mom S. had given me some a while ago, so I figured I'd start there, and decide to invest later.

Originally, I actually wanted to use PB2 instead of protein powder.  The internet told me I should divide and do half and half, so I did.  I've been loving PB2 recently.  If you don't know what it is, it's powdered peanut butter (essentially, some of the oil has been pressed out, so it's lower in fat).  I love adding it to yogurt, and to banana smoothies!

I also added chia seeds, since I always appreciate being able to sneak those into my breakfast!

And I totally went honey crazy this week.  Since I've been using it a lot in my yogurt, tea and other places I would have once used refined sugar, plus it's in most of these granola bar recipes, I decided it was time to go for the big bottle.  Woah.

And I just barely didn't have enough chocolate chips left in the open bag in the pantry, so I added a few peanut butter delightfulls.  Because they just make the bars even more delightfull (see what I did there??)

My one complaint about them is that they didn't stick together as well as I had hoped.  Which really means they don't stick together in a bar like the store bought ones do.  They kinda crumble a little.  But seriously, for no-bake bars, I shouldn't really be surprised.  Because of this, I am storing them in the fridge.

Otherwise, I really love how they taste!  Since I've been nibbling on my baking all morning, I don't really know how full they keep me, but I guess we'll see this week!

No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars 
adapted from Color Me Meg

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup rice krispies cereal
1 tbsp. protein powder of choice
1 tbsp. PB2
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup natural peanut butter (homemade works fine!)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. vanilla

1/3 cup chocolate chips or peanut butter delightfulls

Mix the oats, rice krispies, protein powder, PB2, chia seeds in a large bowl.

In a small microwaveable bowl, place the peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla and heat for 20-30 seconds to melt.  Stir to get a consistent smooth paste.

Combine the paste into the dry ingredients and stir until mixed well.

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Press into a foil lined 9x13 pan and chill for at least an hour.  Cut into bars.  Store in the refrigerator.

(approx. 200 calories, 6 grams protein each for 14 bars)_


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