Popeye Protein and Fruit Bars

This post is linked to Go Ahead Honey, SOS Kitchen Challenge, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul, Real Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Food on Fridays, Foodie Friday, and Friday Foodie Fix–Apples.

Ali (The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen) is one of the two hosts of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free! this month. She selected Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch as her theme. This topic is a terrific one for Ali to host because she does such a great job with school lunches herself. Well, actually, she’s not the one packing her children’s lunches; she’s taught them to pack their own healthy lunches using a very clever chart she developed. I really wish I’d had this chart when Son started school. Ali shares her chart and shows how one of her daughters uses it here in her Go Ahead Honey kickoff post.

Because Son’s 22 and in college now, I haven’t packed “kid lunches” in quite some time. But, of course, we all need healthy lunches. And, really, when I think back to lunches that I packed for Son and myself over the years, ours often had common ingredients. Some were yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts, my homemade baked goods, and leftovers. Son went through a phase where he loved taking a small thermos with hot soup or leftovers. I’ll admit that all his lunches weren’t super healthy. Yes, I packed my share of gummy treats and oddly colored yogurts that really didn’t offer anything in the way on nutrition. I like to think that the good stuff balanced out the bad, but I didn’t have my eyes fully opened to all the horrors of processed stuff until I went gluten free several years late.

Son did always appreciate just plain fruit though. I think it’s important to have an appreciation for fruit and veggies, just as they are—the simple goodness of them.  I was saddened recently to find out there’s a campaign to get kids to view baby carrots as the new junk food. “Baby” carrots packaged in colorful plastic bags. You can read about this strategy here. As the article shares, most baby carrots aren’t truly baby carrots. Did you know that? They are just small “cut outs” of larger, mature carrots. True baby carrots still look like carrots. You also might want to read more about “baby carrots” and the processing they go through here. Personally, I’m happy to buy mature carrots and slice them or cut them into carrot sticks. But, let’s get to today’s recipe.

Katie Kimball (Kitchen Stewardship) is a mom who tries to ensure her kids get the best nutrition. Unsulphured blackstrap molasses offers much in the way of nutrition, but has a strong taste. Katie added the molasses to energy bars she concocted—energy bars that contain a host of healthy ingredients—and called them Popeye Bars, with emphasis on the muscle-building factor of these treats. Knowing they are eating Popeye Bars, her kids eat them up!

I’m sharing my adaptation of Katie’s recipe. If you haven’t already scrolled down to check out the ingredients, there’s no spinach in this recipe. I know that’s what you were thinking! Me, too, actually. I even thought about trying to sneak some in (me being the ingredient renegade and all that), but decided that the molasses to muscles approach from Katie was sufficient.

Having let the spinach slide, I wanted to use another ingredient that packs a nutritional punch—quinoa. In this case, I wanted to use quinoa flakes. This was my first time using them. They are often used like oats or substituted for oats, which is the reason I thought they’d work well in this recipe. Quinoa is an ancient grain, which is considered a complete protein source. In fact, it has far more protein than any other grain, as well as valuable amino acids. You can read more nutritional and historical facts about quinoa here. (I want to try quinoa flakes in a hot breakfast cereal next.)

Second, I wanted to make an apple recipe for the SOS Kitchen Challenge, co-hosted by Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs; and Kim of Affairs of Living. Apples were chosen as the ingredient for the challenge. I had lots of ideas when the challenge was announced, but— per usual—ran out of time bringing them to fruition. (Sorry, just had to say it!) So, adding apples to these bars seemed like a good solution to meet that challenge. I’m a big fan of apples, plus, an apple works well with these ingredients for both its texture and flavor. I substituted twice the amount of apples for the raisins in the original recipe.

Otherwise, I added pecans, sunflower seeds, and oats … changing out the amounts of other ingredients to do so. I figured out that Katie had used 3 ¾ cups total of “dry” ingredients—nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, etc.—so I just kept to that total when doing my adapting. This approach worked well. I was a little worried that the bars were thin, but Katie says they should only be about ½ inch tall. Well, mine are actually thinner than that, so I might make them in a smaller pan next time.

These Popeye bars are the perfect treat to go in a lunch box to eat with lunch or perhaps for snack time at school. They are nutrient dense, but pretty much have the taste and texture of a Larabar. The sunflower seeds don’t get fully blended/processed, so they still offer a nice crunch in these Popeye Bars. Similarly, the coconut flakes still provide some nice texture, even after processing. (I liked both the sunflower seeds and coconut in this recipe very much.) I’ll eat an occasional Larabar when on travel, but I’d much prefer making these and taking them on my travels. (In fact, I might need to make a batch for my flight out to San Francisco with Diane for BlogHer Food next week!)

Popeye Protein and Fruit Bars—A Variation of Katie Kimball’s Recipe
(Click here for a print version of this recipe.)

½ cup walnuts
¼ cup pecans
1 cup peeled, chopped apple
½ cup almond flour
½ cup quinoa flakes
½ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup gluten-free oats
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses (or maple syrup or agave nectar)
1/8 cup honey (or maple syrup; I used raw honey from our bees)
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
Additional drizzle of honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar) for binding and/or sweetening, if needed

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 9 x 13 (or similar sized) baking dish or cookie sheet with sides.

Add walnuts and pecans to food processor and process 30 – 60 seconds until almost ground. Add apples and continue processing about 30 more seconds or so until the apple pieces are very finely chopped and blended into the nut mixture. Add almond flour, quinoa flakes, oats, and sunflower seeds, processing about 15 seconds or so. Add in molasses, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg; process until just combined. If mixture does not yet appear to be spreadable, drizzle in a tad more honey. Process just a few seconds. At this point, if your mixture appears well combined, you can go ahead and use a spatula to spread mixture into your greased pan. However, I wanted to check out my mixture and taste it first, so I added it to a bowl and stirred some there, pulling out a bite to eat, before adding it to the pan.

Spread into greased dish. Bake for about 45 minutes for chewy bars; longer for crunchy bars. As Katie advises, be careful not to overcook as the taste of burned molasses is not pleasant.

Cool. Cut into squares using a pizza cutter. Keep refrigerated.

Shirley’s Notes: I used olive oil to grease my glass baking dish. One golden delicious apple yielded one cup chopped. Katie’s original recipe called for ¼ cup chocolate chips. I didn’t have any, but they would probably work well in this variation even with the apples. Food processing times may vary; I have a very old food processor so it takes longer than the new, improved ones. Since even blackstrap molasses is considered refined, you can use either maple syrup or an agave nectar that you do not consider refined/processed. Maple syrup can also be used in place of the honey. The main thing here is to keep the amount of the liquid ingredients the same. You can use all honey or substitute your preferred ingredient for the total amount, but Katie says that if you remove the molasses then you’ll simply have to call them energy or protein bars. For those who eat molasses, Popeye bars sound like so much more fun, don’t they? Katie used a combination of molasses, maple syrup, and just a drizzle of honey for binding in her original recipe. My version has a stronger molasses taste, which I like, but if you don’t, you might want to vary your choice of sweetener amounts to be less molasses and more of the other(s). I forgot the cinnamon and nutmeg. While I didn’t feel the recipe was missing anything, I’m sure the cinnamon and nutmeg would add nice flavor. Although I originally kept these refrigerated as Katie advised, leaving them out didn’t cause a problem. I rather liked them better at room temperature. So storing in a lunch box until lunch time wouldn’t be a problem.

Adapted from Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship 

Read more on Katie’s wisdom, adventures, and snack ideas here on my Out and About page. Be sure to check out the complete roundup for the Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!  Healthy Lunch roundup at Ali and Tom’s blog here. Looking for apple recipe inspiration? Head over to Ricki’s (Diet, Dessert, and Dogs) for the complete roundup here. I’m also linking this post to Amy’s (Simply Sugar & Gluten Free) weekly roundup, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays—an amazing variety of bloggers and their recipes each and every week. You won’t want to miss any of these roundups!

Not just gf, but gfe!

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69 Responses to “Popeye Protein and Fruit Bars”

  1. Iris on September 28th, 2010 1:43 am

    You’re right, I did wonder if there was spinach in them. :) You could probably add some spinach and they’d taste just as good, but they’re so chock full of nutritious foods anyway, you don’t need it.

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 5:51 pm

      Hi Iris–I keep thinking I need to add spinach to these on the next go round. I actually think it would work. Dehydrated spinach? A little finely chopped spinach? Hmmm, we’ll see. Yes, you’re right, these babies are already loaded with nutrition, but it would be fun to make them more Popeye-ish! :-)


  2. Alea on September 28th, 2010 2:22 am

    These sound like a great alternative to granola bars. I love all the healthy ingredients packed in there!

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 5:54 pm

      Hi Alea–Thanks so much! :-) I think they are a great alternative and not super hard and crunchy like some are. I recently found out that a number of folks don’t like crunchiness in their granola or protein bars. These have a little bit of crunch from the sunflower seeds, but you wouldn’t call them crunchy at all. Truly like a Larabar in that regard. As far as all the healthy ingredients, I’d like to see the nutritional analysis on these bars. ;-)


  3. Sophie on September 28th, 2010 6:04 am

    MMMMMMM,..tasty fruit healthy bars!!

    I love them!

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 5:57 pm

      Hi, dear Sophie–So glad you approve! LOL Now if only I could beam you some across the pond. ;-)


  4. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free on September 28th, 2010 8:20 am

    These sound so good and so good for you. I must say I am a little jealous – I don’t have my own bees and thus do not have my own honey. Tried imagining myself as a bee keeper…it was not a pretty picture :)

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:00 pm

      Hi Carol–LOL on your lack of a pretty picture on being a beekeeper. Mr. GFE and Son are the ones who put on the beekeeping suits at our house. I am strictly the help-spin-out-the-honey, bottle-the-honey, and cook-with-the-honey girl! Find some local raw honey and you can enjoy these bars without the other concerns. ;-)


  5. Kay Guest on September 28th, 2010 9:32 am

    I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,
    If anyone Shirley can
    Make bars that are tasty
    And make them so hasty.
    I’m Popeye the Sailor Man!
    Hey Shirley! Yes, yes, I know it should be “hastily” since it is an adverb, but you know, anything for the sake of the rhyme! Could one make this without a food processor? It seems to me that I would like to try it, but I would have to double up or substitute some of the ingredients… By the way, did you see there was an article about celiac disease in the USA Today newspaper yesterday? “Researchers found that the incidence of celiac disease doubled every 15 years since 1974 and that the incidence increased as subjects aged, with some developing the disease in their 50′s or 60′s.” Dr. Alessio Fasano, director of the Center for Celiac Research, led this study. He believes it is possible that since folks don’t develop celiac until they are 50 or 60, then environmental factors may outweigh genetic causes for the disease. This is fascinating stuff to me! Hey Shirley, I’m really NOT Popeye the Sailor Man, but I always loved him and still do, and I love to eat me spinach!! ;-) Sorry this is so long!
    Kay Guest

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:06 pm

      Oh, Kay, you always make my day! I thought about embedding a Popeye video, but Popeye was just a little too lively for me today. I like your poetic rendition better! LOL And, hey, using “hasty” versus “hastily” is poetic license, right? ;-) I *think* this recipe will work without a food processor if you have something to grind your nuts finely, like a mini-chopper AND if you cut up the apple very, very finely or just skip the apple and use more of the other dry ingredients.

      I saw the headline for that article, but haven’t read it yet. I hope it’s a well done one. So many articles just “stir me up” with the misinformation included. Interesting on what Dr. Fasano is saying. I’ve always known that environmental factors can be a trigger for celiac. Will definitely read it and share with my support group. Thanks, Kay! :-)

      Hugs to you,

      • Kay Guest on September 29th, 2010 8:13 am

        Shirley, I so understand your statement about misinformation about gluten free issues. Sometimes when I read an article or see something on TV about celiac disease, it makes me want to scream! (My sweet husband will say, “At least, this is coming to the mainstream media now, even if the info might be a bit off”.) It scares me to read that gluten-free is considered “trendy” now. Does this mean that when my husband asks a server for something gluten-free they will think that he is just following a trend and not take him seriously? By the way, sorry I’ve not left a comment recently…but you know, I AM one of your biggest fans, but NOT in a MISERY movie kind of way… Kay

        • Shirley on September 29th, 2010 7:42 pm

          Hi Kay–The misinformation truly is frustrating sometimes. I understand your husband’s perspective; I’ve heard it echoed many times and he may be right that any media is good media. However, I always wonder if someone reads the article thinking they might have celiac/non-celiac gluten issues and then is convinced otherwise as the article progresses. There seems to be a tendency for them to start out promising and then disintegrate in my opinion. And, there’s the concern you mention about not being taken seriously in restaurants because of the fad/trend thinking. Those of us “in the know” will keep educating and thinking positive though! :-)

          Please no worries on not being able to comment from time to time. I’m just so glad when you do get to comment! I miss you otherwise. ;-) ROFL about the Misery comment … well, thank goodness that you’re not that kind of fan!


  6. Miz Helen on September 28th, 2010 11:26 am

    This will be a great protein bar for my husband, he has to have protein several times a day.
    Thank you for your recipe.

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:11 pm

      Hi Miz Helen–Welcome to gfe! :-) It was so nice to be “introduced” to you by our mutual friend, Amy, over at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, the other day. ;-) Must check out your blog! I love the name … doesn’t everyone want a country cottage? I sure do!

      I’m glad that you think this recipe will be a good one for your husband. It’s tasty and full of protein for sure. :-)


  7. April @ The 21st Century Housewife on September 28th, 2010 1:22 pm

    Molasses can be tricky to find in England and when I saw some the other day I just picked it up, not having a recipe in mind. I’m so glad I did – your protein bars look wonderful! I love it when something delicious is good for you too!

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:15 pm

      Hi April–It’s so nice to see you here at gfe again! :-) Yes, it’s always smart to pick up those hard-to-find ingredients whenever you see them. I would have had no idea that molasses would be a “rarity” in England though. I always keep molasses in my pantry.

      And, I’m with you on loving it when delicious and nutritious collide–woohoo! ;-)


  8. cheryl on September 28th, 2010 2:25 pm

    I love quinoa flakes, so I’ll have to try those. thanks for sharing.

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:17 pm

      Hi Cheryl–This was my first package of quinoa flakes, but they are so “cute,” tasty, and nutritious. Not inexpensive, but worth it I think. Hope you enjoy whatever variation you make. :-)


  9. Kim @ AFfairs of Living on September 28th, 2010 3:03 pm

    Hi Shirley, these look great! How amazing you managed to include it in so many blog events! You are quite the multitasker. :) I love the flavors and ingredients you’ve incorporated, they must be delicious. One question though – if you want it to be included in the SOS Kitchen Challenge round ups, can you please provide substitution options for the honey (not vegan) and the molasses (cane sugar product)? We ask in the challenge rules to make the recipes vegan and free of cane sugar products, since Ricki is vegan and neither of us eat cane sugar, and many of our readers have the same restrictions. Thanks for understanding, and please make the edits if you’d like us to keep it in the LInky. THanks for participating! xoxo Kim | http://www.affairsofliving.com

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 5:48 pm

      Hi Kim–Welcome to gfe! Thanks so much for the kind words! :-) I do like to accomplish a lot with one post if I can, since I can’t post as often as I’d like. ;-)

      Thanks for pointing out my oversights to me. I had those requirements in my head beforehand and then got sidetracked with photos, buttons, etc. I think I’ve added the substitution information adequately now. I’ve been planning to particpate for months, so I want to stay in the game!

      Thanks again! Hugs ;-) ,

  10. Ricki on September 28th, 2010 3:11 pm

    Shirley, these look great! And you’re right, I did think they contained spinach. ;) But I think the apple-quinoa combo is even better! Thanks for your submission to the SOS Challenge this month! :)

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:19 pm

      Hi Ricki–Thanks so much! ;-) I’m still pondering adding spinach to them. I love getting that in whenever I can. ;-) But, as they are, these are pretty terrific! I replied to Kim that I’ve updated the post to included the necessary substitutions to meet the SOS Challenge. So sorry I missed that the first time around. :-(


  11. Jennifer R. on September 28th, 2010 3:19 pm

    ooh, don’t these look yummy! And i have quinoa flakes on hand (haven’t used them yet).

    And yes, I buy whole large organic carrots and cut them up into carrot sticks myself. My kids like the taste so much more! the baby carrots got too slimy :(

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:24 pm

      Hi Jennifer–I think these would meet with your approval upon tasting! :-) This was my first time using quinoa flakes, too, but I can’t wait to experiment more. They are just so diminutive and delicate looking, too. ;-)

      Yippee for the whole deal (and home-cut versions) when it comes to carrots. They keep so much longer and better than the “baby” carrots, too. I agree with your kids that the taste of the others are just not good. If you read the Snopes article, you might come to your own conclusions on the “why.” Standard industry practice never makes me feel warm and fuzzy any more …


  12. Bettie@wineablegifts on September 28th, 2010 4:12 pm

    These sound great. One question: Can I use oats instead of quinoa flakes? If not where do you purchase quinoa flakes? Thanks

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 6:34 pm

      Hi Bettie–Great to see you again! :-) Yes, you can absolutely use oats instead of the quinoa flakes. But just so you know, I picked up my quinoa flakes at the upscale grocery store in town. They are fairly pricey … at $7 for a small box. But, I do want to try them more because of how good they are for you. Anyway, thanks for asking on the oats substitution; I’ll add that to my Notes in the post. Basically, you can mix and match ingredients in this recipe as long as you keep the dry amount totals and the liquid amount totals the same. Does that make sense?


  13. glutenfreeforgood on September 28th, 2010 5:53 pm

    Oh my gosh, don’t tell me there are other blog events I need to find out about. Just when I think I’m about to catch up, I realize I’m so far behind there’s no hope. Oh well, I do know where to come for updates (GFE), that’s for sure. We’re on the same wavelength with our “power” bars. I love this kind of snack and yours looks truly yummy and healthy. Plus, the REAL raw honey you’re using has to be the best ever! It must be amazing.

    Quinoa flakes should be in every pantry. They add so much to cookies, muffins and bars like this. I love them.

    Good one, Shirley. You busy girl! I don’t know how you do it. AND, you do it well!


    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 10:02 pm

      Hi Melissa–No worries on the blog events. I’ve been reading about this one for months before I was finally able to join in. But, just FYI, the SOS Challenge calls for a recipe that includes the ingredient of the month, is vegan, has no refined sugars, and is natural with whole foods ingredients only, or at the very least, offers reliable substitutions for those things in your recipe if you use something else.

      Thanks for the compliments on the bars and our honey. Yes, we do love that stuff! I am pretty pleased with these power bars, protein bars … whatever you call them. ;-) Now that I’ve found the quinoa flakes, I’m looking forward to experimenting with them and keeping them on hand as you recommend. :-)

      You’re a dear with all your kind words, Melissa; I truly appreciate them!


  14. alex@amoderatelife on September 28th, 2010 6:13 pm

    Hi Shirley! I want to extend a warm welcome to you from the hearth and soul hop! I am now following your blog, grabbed your RSS feed and your tweets as well. School lunch is certainly a challenge when kids are shown so much junk on the lunch line and especially kids who have gluten issues. These bars look good and I love the popeye reference. Thanks for sharing on the hearth and soul hop! alex@amoderatelife

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 10:25 pm

      Hi Alex–Thanks so much! And, welcome to gfe. :-) Thanks for making all those connections–I truly appreciate it! School lunches have indeed become challenging. Jamie Oliver’s show did a great job of showing exactly how much of a challenge.

      The bars are good and the Popeye slant is fun. ;-) Happy to participate in Hearth and Soul!


  15. Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free on September 28th, 2010 6:37 pm

    One of these days, I just might be the first commenter. You are just too popular, my friend! Always so many comments by the time I get here! ;)
    These look awesome! I just got my quinoa flakes out to use to make my granola with. Now I know what to do with the rest of them. These look really great. I think I will make these at the same time that I make Melissa’s so that I have a nice variety of after school snacks for the kids (our school is nut-free so can’t bring them for lunch). And if they are really the texture of a Lara bar, my kids will devour these. They are Lara bar addicts! ;)
    Cannot wait to try these.

    • Shirley on September 28th, 2010 10:11 pm

      Kim–Hey, I think you were the first commenter once, weren’t you? ;-) You’re very sweet, but it’s not my popularity, but the fact that I have loyal and terrific readers/commenters, like you! :-)

      I really hope you’ll like this recipe. There are so many possibilities if one keeps the dry ingredient and liquid ingredient amounts the same as the original recipe. Mr. GFE didn’t think these were sweet enough so be sure to do a little taste test before you spread in the pan. I’ll be waiting to hear what you think … nervously, of course. LOL


  16. Dan on September 29th, 2010 8:38 am

    When I saw “Popeye,” I assumed they were spinach bars!

    These look like they’d taste better than spinach.

    • Shirley on September 29th, 2010 7:44 pm

      Hi Dan–Welcome to gfe! I think everyone is a tad disappointed that these Popeye Bars don’t contain spinach. Might have to create an amped-up spinach version in the future. :-) Baby spinach is so mild in taste and wouldn’t even be seen with this dark molasses coloring. ;-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!


  17. girlichef on September 29th, 2010 9:21 am

    These sound sooo wonderful, but I gotta tell ya, I was expecting you to sneak spinach in somehow…. LOL! Thank you for sharing these with the hearth and soul hop this week =)

    • Shirley on September 29th, 2010 7:47 pm

      Hi girlifchef–Hey, you and everyone else in re: to the spinach! LOL As I was just saying to Dan, I might have to do a spinach version in the future. ;-) Happy to link up to the Hearth and Soul hop! You guys are dedicated in responding to participants and sharing the links on Twitter, etc.–love that! :-)

      Thanks so much!

  18. Butterpoweredbike on September 29th, 2010 3:25 pm

    Wow, Shirley, these are just packed with goodness, aren’t they, good stuff for a snack on the go. Thank you for sharing the recipe with the Hearth and Soul hop.

    • Shirley on September 29th, 2010 7:49 pm

      Hi Butterpoweredbike–I’ve been eating about two or three of these a day (they are small squares) since I made them and loving them for a pick me up! :-) I see lots of variations in the future, too. ;-)

      Happy to be part of Hearth and Soul! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and spread the link love.

  19. Diane-The WHOLE Gang on September 29th, 2010 6:22 pm

    Those sound great. I think I’ll make those to take with me to BlogHer conference.

    • Shirley on September 29th, 2010 7:55 pm

      Hi Diane–They have a stronger molasses flavor, which I like, but if you don’t, you might want to up the honey amount (or other possible sweetener) and lessen the molasses. Sounds like we’re both making them and taking them to BlogHer Food. Of course, we’ll see how much time really allows … it’s coming fast!!


  20. Brittany on September 29th, 2010 9:42 pm

    I’ve been looking for a good recipe for some gluten free, nutrient-dense bars! The store-bought ones are convenient, but so pricey!

    Definitely trying a batch of these guys this weekend :)

    • Shirley on September 30th, 2010 9:27 pm

      Hi Brittany–Welcome to gfe! :-) I really hope you’ll like these. Depending on your flavor preferences, you may wish to tweak the sweetener proportions. I like the molasses, but some who prefer honey (or other options) may want to use more of that.

      You have a beautiful blog! It’s nice to meet another gluten-free blogger … can’t have enough of us IMHO. ;-)


  21. Christy on September 30th, 2010 11:41 am

    I just love Katie’s recipes – and your variation is wonderful sounding. Yes I was looking for the spinach. My kids will be glad there isn’t any! Thanks for linking this to the hearth and soul hop!

    • Shirley on September 30th, 2010 11:05 pm

      Hi Christy–Yes, Katie has some great, healthy recipes! I had fun tweaking this one a bit. No spinach this time, but I’ve become an ingredient renegade of late so I may actually try including it next time. But, it’s great without, too. If your kids are not big molasses fans, you might want to use more honey (or other sweetener noted) than molasses. My pleasure to link to hearth and soul again! :-)


  22. Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea on September 30th, 2010 1:26 pm

    They look really good, Shirley! And what a great idea to add spinach…perfect for all those people who claim to not like their greens, haha – I’ll eat just about anything, there is practically nothing I don’t like, but I often have to think about how to accommodate different people’s preferences and palettes. :)

    • Shirley on September 30th, 2010 11:45 pm

      Hi Zoe!–There’s no spinach in this version, but I might try it in the future. Molasses gives these the muscle-building factor. ;-)


      • Zoe @ Z's Cup of Tea on October 1st, 2010 12:44 am

        Oh! I did read the recipe, but must have been confused by all the different Popeye and spinach comments. Gosh, now I feel all silly. :P

        • Shirley on October 1st, 2010 9:32 am

          No worries, Zoe! I’ve done the same thing several times. Okay, more times than I’d like to admit or maybe even remember. LOL I just wanted to make sure you knew no spinach as I’d hate for you to get geared up to make these and be surprised. ;-)

          Happy Friday! :-)

  23. Chelsey on October 3rd, 2010 1:27 am

    These bars are awesome! I totally thought they had spinach in them too the first time I heard about them. But you know what? Today I was daydreaming about food (as usual!) and I had a thought that might work. I was thinking about your comment about adding the spinach to these bars, and that led to making a chocolate mint ice cream. Which is kind of random, I know! But then I thought perhaps you could use spinach as the dye (via steeping or pureeing). I guess you wouldn’t know for sure until you gave it a taste but it could potentially be an ingenious way to add spinach to ice cream! It’s amazing the millions of potential food combinations out there. That’s my favorite part of cooking- experimenting and see what ingredients you can get away with while dominating the dish with flavor. It’s always fun to be a sneaky cook!

    • Shirley on October 3rd, 2010 8:10 am

      Hi my dear, Chelsey–Thank you! :-) Great minds think alike … check out my Surprise Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from a while back. ;-) I agree … it’s fun to be a sneaky cook! ;-) I’ve been saying “sneaky, sneaky gfe” after Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) called me that the other day in re: to my Tomato Rosemary Mint ice cream. :-) Keep dreaming and experimenting, my friend! We never used to have this much fun with food before we were gluten free, did we?


  24. SAM on October 3rd, 2010 4:05 am

    Some how the name makes the bar seem more exciting than it is. Which is a good thing :) MY kids would’nt eat just any protein bar. Throwing in popoye helps ! MY youngest is a huge fan will probably eat it up :) literally ha ha! Anyway keep it up. Loving this stuff !

    • Shirley on October 3rd, 2010 8:25 am

      Hi SAM–Looks like you’re new here–welcome! :-) That’s right … sometimes a name can change everything (except in the case of HFCS becoming corn sugar … well, I hope that one won’t fool people anyway). FYI–If your kids don’t like a strong molasses flavor, you might want to vary the proportions on the sweeteners a bit. I love it, but not all kids have been raised to love molasses. ;-)

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

      • sam on October 3rd, 2010 12:34 pm

        Thanks for tip :) I’ll try that out ! Have no idea if my kids will like it. V’ll have to wait n see :P

  25. Maggie on October 3rd, 2010 12:23 pm

    Hi Shirley – I’ve been wanting to make a bar like this for a while! I love the list of ingredients – so packed with nutrients! Popeye would gladly give up his spinach (and yes, I too assumed there was spinach in there)!

  26. Alta on October 4th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Shirley, these look great! I’m a big fan of the various protein/homemade Larabar recipes! I’ve been tinkering with my own, even. Love the molasses idea. Yum.

    • Shirley on October 11th, 2010 4:21 pm

      Hi Alta–Thanks! I think many are getting in the homemade protein bar routine. :-) They are just so much healthier and far more economical. I enjoyed these over many days (either cold or room temp). I’d like to do a combo of molasses, honey, and maple syrup next time. ;-) Good luck with your variations!


  27. Debbie on October 5th, 2010 2:24 pm

    Wow! Shirley, this recipe looks soooo delicious and powerpacked with nutrition!

    • Shirley on October 11th, 2010 4:34 pm

      Hi Debbie–One really feels a boost after eating one of these and they are a fraction of the size of purchased protein bars. So easy to make, nutritious, and economical! Thanks for taking the time to comment. :-) Hope you get to make them (or a variation … we all have to play with recipes a bit LOL) and enjoy them!


  28. Aubree Cherie on October 6th, 2010 6:40 am

    Hi Shirley,

    I wanted to let you know that I added these awesome popeye bars to my blog’s favorite recipes from last week post. Looks like the perfect mid morning snack :)

    ~Aubree Cherie

    • Shirley on October 11th, 2010 4:40 pm

      Hi Aubree–I feel like such a rock star whenever I make your list! :-) Move over Food Network stars! ;-)

      Thanks, dear, and what a top 10 listing that was—scrumptious!

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