Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Perfect Tournament Food, Part 2

So cookies are my chosen food
For munching on the sidelines,
But sometimes, I am in the mood
For different eating guidelines.
'Cause after several tournaments
Of cookies all the time,
I start to feel reborn, immense,
Like Buddha in his prime.
But still, I need my energy,
My protein and my fat.
So how do I go sugar-free,
Unprocessed -- raw, at that?
I take a look at frisbee past
When marks didn't exist,
Before we learned to run so fast
Or throw flicks from the wrist.
"The Hippie Era," some would say,
When tossing on the lawn
Was still the only way to play,
"Bring weed" a thought foregone.
Oh, how I'm glad the game evolved,
Became an actual sport!
But still, my food problem unsolved,
To hippies I resort.
I make some vegan power bars
From healthy, raw granola;
The nuts and berries are the stars,
The oats an old friend (hola!).
"Vegan?" Relax, they're still legit--
With chocolate flavor, too!
They're just to change it up a bit.
(Cookies, I still love you.)
I don't think eating cookies at tournaments will make me fat. I think four games of ultimate (that's like eight hours of sprinting) are more than enough to combat the damage from 5-6 measly little baked goods. And it's not about cutting carbs, either. When I brought these power bars to the San Diego women's tournament last weekend, these are the other things I consumed: 5 bagels, 2 veggie burgers, and 6 beers. Also, the power bars aren't exactly low-carb anyway.

No, this foray into raw foodism happened because, every so often, I start to feel unclean. I find myself snacking on so much processed food, especially when I'm traveling every weekend, and all my body craves is something base and raw and unsoiled. Sometimes, when I'm not playing ultimate or water polo, I accidentally spend a meal or two eating nothing but fruits and veggies and grains and uncooked tofu. Call it gross or boring if you want, but as much as I love indulging in the decadent, when I've indulged too much, I'm unwittingly drawn to clean, modest food.

So I made something raw and vegan this week, something without added sugar or heat. In essence, I just scavenged for ingredients around the kitchen, mashed them together in a pan, and let time bring out their flavors. The process reminded me of my conception of cooking as a child -- putting little foods that tasted good together to make one big food that tasted even better, then putting that in a fridge or oven somewhere until you were ready to eat it. The result, as well, recalled childhood, when the simplest handful of almonds or piece of fresh fruit could be enjoyed for what seemed like hours in the happy sun.

Raw Vegan Power Bars

  • 1 1/2 bananas, sliced (preferably ripe)
  • 1/2 cup shelled almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 oz all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats* **


Blend the bananas, almonds, raisins, cherries, cranberries, cocoa powder, and cinnamon with a food processor. At this point, if you're like me, you'll help yourself to an ample sample of the mashed mixture. It will be good.

Add the peanut butter, and mix until it's distributed uniformly. If you're like me, you'll have to try another spoonful at this point, just to make sure it's still tasty. (It will be.)

In a large bowl, add the sunflower seeds and oats to the "batter" and mix thoroughly until everything dry is coated.

After pausing to taste one last time, spread the mixture on a shallow baking pan, pressing with a flat, wooden spoon to make sure it's packed in enough. I only had big baking trays, so my mixture didn't cover the entire surface, but if you can help it, I think a small one would work better.

Refrigerate overnight, cut into bars, and distribute to happy teammates!

*If you want these bars to be gluten-free, make sure that you use oats that are specified "gluten-free;" normal oats are often processed near wheat or barley.

**Commenter Jecka points out that "rolled oats are not actually 'raw.'  In order to make them rolled, they are steamed and lightly toasted.  Basically, oat groats and steel-cut oats can be raw, but you have to read the packaging and/or ask the market."  Oops, thanks for the info!


  1. These bars sound so delicious! I tend to steer clear of protein powders, opting instead for nature's protein: bananas, nuts, nut butter, etc... in other words, all of the healthy ingredients in these bars :)

  2. Uhhh.....YUM! Those look delicious. I have tried very few raw recipes, but I am wanting to. Thanks for sharing this one :)

  3. Those look yummy and I definitely plan on making these!

    However, rolled oats are not actually "raw". In order to make them rolled, they are steamed and lightly toasted.

    Basically, oat groats and steel-cut oats can be raw, but you have to read the packaging and/or ask the market.

    More info:

  4. Hey Lili, I just clicked over from my site, but I know I've seen that top photo recently. Was it on F.G. or something? Hmm? These bars look delicious, and, I must say, quite pretty!

  5. These looks yummy.... perfect for before or after a race. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. Jecka -- wow, thanks for the info. I was so close! Next time, I'll try steel-cut oats.

    Stella and eatlivebewell -- thanks! And yes, the top photo was recently on foodgawker, which was pretty exciting for me :)

  7. Those picture are amazing and the ingredients too. I gotta give it a try.

  8. yum! banana + peanut butter, a timeless combination.

  9. I thought so, too! And banana + peanut butter + cocoa -- also pretty timeless.

  10. these look amazing but im the only one in my house that would eat these so how would i store them?? you know because they have bananas in them.

  11. Hey, yarny girl, sorry it's taken me a few days to get back to you! I've been sick, and just started checking messages and comments again.

    Anyway. I think the best way for you to store these would be in the fridge, covered by Saran wrap so the bananas don't oxidize so much. If you wanted to store them for more than a few days, they might actually be pretty good frozen! Maybe it's just me, but I think anything with frozen bananas in it makes a great snack.

    I hope that helps -- let me know if you have any more questions, and enjoy the power bars!!

  12. Hey Lili, I made these the other day and they are fantastic! These are some of my favourite foods all smooshed into one delicious bar (which is great cause it helps me keep track of exactly how many I've eaten :D). Thanks so much for sharing, just so you know I substituted cashews in place of the almonds - cause we ran out - and they are brilliant. They're going to be my fuel during exams and a rogaine. Holly.