Monday, March 25, 2013

Primal Protein Bars & Paleo Bread

Are you guys ready for this? No really, are you ready?
 It's the gift that keeps on giving ...

Because these bars get better and better the longer they "sit" ... The flavors melded together overnight (I keep them in the fridge), and even more-so today wrapped up in my lunch bag. 

My first bite into it - crazy flavorful! And each flavor was so pronounced: the apricot, the almond butter, the sweet dried cranberries, the salty cashews, it was just this amazing blend of fresh, flavors. I don't think I'll ever need to buy a protein bar again! Okay, I might be getting a little excited there. I love me some Power Crunch bars.

Primal Protein Bars
Adapted from CrossFit Fenrir and Mark's Daily Apple

  • 1 Cup Mixed Nuts + Seeds (I used raw cashews, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used Trader Joe's unsalted Almond Butter
    1/4 cup coconut oil (I used Tropical Traditions Gold Label)
  • 4 tbsp flax meal or 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup protein powder (or about 3 large scoops) (I used Optimum Nutrition Milk Chocolate)
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dried berries (I used dried apricots, as they have lower sugar, pulsed in the food processor and orange flavored dried cranberries) 
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top
How To:
  1. On a cookie sheet, toast your nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes for a few minutes. Shake the tray every few minutes to keep them toasting evening.
  2. Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until just chopped. You want it like chunky bread crumbs. The more chunkiness, the more hearty your bars.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 30 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in nut mixture, almond meal and protein powder until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Add whole egg and egg white and mix thoroughly.
  7. Fold in berries.
  8. Press mixture into an 8x8 or 9x9 loaf pan (a modification that we made to keep everything crisper and help the bars to hold together).
  9. Cook in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, sprinkle a ¼ cup of shredded coconut on top and place under broiler until top begins to brown.
  11. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces/bars.
  12. Enjoy or stack on wax paper/parchment and store in an airtight container.

195 calories12g fat, 10g carbs, 4g sugar, 13g protein 

Where would I be without you, Bob?  I even tried my hand at a gluten free Paleo bread from Elana's Pantry. It was so delicious.

The only modifications I made were using liquid Stevia instead of agave, and using 6 tablespoons egg whites in place of 2 whole eggs, to keep the recipe fluffy. I didn't know bread could be so damn easy to make! 

The husband ate like half the loaf in a sitting. Silly boy.  

For one thick slice:
155 calories
12g carbs
4g fiber
6g protein
10g fat
less than a gram of sugar

This morning my poor legs were still a wee sore from 13.3, so I woke up extra early to make a Spin class before coaching this morning. It was just what I needed to get the blood flowing before getting some good mobility and lacrosse ball work in. I kind of couldn't sit down to pee, it was bad.

After freezing my buns off this morning at the box (we hate on Globo gyms, but at least they supply heat), I warmed up with a little metcon, you can see it here, live, in glorious action, if you want. I posted a video. :)

It's going to be a fun week!

 1. Are you sore from any of your workouts last week/over the weekend?
13.3 ... Damn that Karen. She even gave me a little Fran cough.

2. Do you crave carbs or fats? Do you reach for bread or almond butter?
Nut butters, by the spoonful! I think I eat anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of nut butters a day.

3. Would you rather be hot or cold?
HOT! I hate being cold!


  1. Um yeah, these look fantastic! I'm guilty of eating a boatload of nut butter every day too. I'm almost ashamed to admit how quickly I can polish of a jar of drippy almond butter and Artisana coconut butter. They are usually snacks, desserts, and bedtime spoonfuls. ;)

    Thank goodness my husband doesn't like nut butter or our grocery bill would be MUCH higher!!!

    1. Haha! My husband ONLY likes peanut butter, so my almond, cashew, and sunbutters are safe!

  2. Well not sore from a weekend or last weeks workouts, sore from doing legs yesterday!!! Wasn't expecting this lol. Use to crave carbs, and still do, but they just don't taste the same anymore, so I always reach for the nut butter now :)

  3. Totally making these bars...Now I just need to find the time...I always eat at least 1 HEAPING T of peanut butter or nut butter a day. I can't help myself. HA! It's a big old delicious healthy treat for me. I'd rather be hot any day of the week. I'm freezing all the time. Thanks for the recipe! XO

  4. I did 13.3 on Saturday, and my legs are just now starting to feel a little better! I have a serious nut butter addiction, and when I eat it, I eat a lot... we're talking 1/2 cup in one sitting. I mix cashew butter with a little bit of almond butter to make it smoother, add cinnamon, vanilla, and a tablespoon or so of dark chocolate chips. THAT'S what I crave. (I don't eat much fat throughout the day, so that helps me justify it, HA!) And I will always, always rather be hot than cold. My body is naturally cold, so even if it feels warm or hot to some people, I'm still freezing. Which makes living in Wisconsin that much harder!

    1. Yikes! Wisconsin! How's the cheese? I love me some cheese, too! My hands and feet are always cold, even if my body is totally warm, bad circulation? Who knows!

    2. Courtney, you may have a condition called Raynaud's Phenomenon, since your hands and feet are always cold. That is what I have, so I understand.

  5. Cool to see you in action! Love the soundtrack, too, LOL.

    Sunday was total recovery mode (from WODs and late Saturday night), so the quads are OK today. I'll be a bit upper-body sore later today from Monday's shoulder complex, bear crawl, rounds of "Cindy" WOD.
    Almond butter on apples :) Never thought I'd manage without carbs, but no major cravings anymore. Although...I printed the bread recipe. I'm inspired by most of the recipes that you post!
    The hotter the better!!! Sweating seems much more efficient to me as temperature regulation than shivering. Hoping to transition right from this mid-Atlantic winter mess to summer temps!

  6. The thing that bugs me about Paleo to no end is the reliance on nut-related substitutions (can't have regular flour so use almond flour, etc). People are so freaked out about gluten allergies and their effects (which does not usually include anaphylaxis) and forget about the fact that some of us will die if a cashew comes in the house.

    1. If you have nut allergies, there's always coconut flour, arrowroot powder, etc. I can't imagine how hard it must be living with a nut allergy, and being Paleo!

  7. These look delicious!
    I would rather have a spoonfull of nut butter, I usually have a couple in the afternoon.
    I hate with a fiery passion walking outside and feeling like I'm going to melt. I will take the cold any day.


    1. Since I'm walking all over Atlanta right now, feeling like I'm going to FREEZE solid at any moment, I would DIE right now for the hot, melty, warm feeling. :)

  8. Your food always looks SO AMAZING! I am going to try the bread recipe this weekend. I have been eying it but needed the motivation. How much stevia did you sub for the agave?

    1. Very little, about 15 drops. It's not a sweet bread at all, I really don't think it needed it!

  9. I always check out this website before buying any protein products - - My personal favourite is the universal nutrition bar because of the high protein:carb ratio.

  10. First off, love Mark's Daily.

    Secondly, I made paleo bread this weekend too!!!! I used this recipe and turned it into a banana bread by adding one banana, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. SOOOOO GOOD! I can't stop eating it. The recipe looks similar to the one you used but this one called for 1/4 cup coconut oil which I think made all the difference. That plus the banana made it so moist.

    Next up are those protein bars!

  11. I did have some tough workouts! Dynamax always makes me sore, and then I was actually sore from kickboxing since I hadn't taught it in a few weeks. Definitely reach for nut butter:)

  12. 3 Researches SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually get rid of fat by eating Coconut Fat (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from large medical journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world upside down!