Choosing Raw and No Bake Sunflower Oat Bar Recipe

Recently I was sent a copy of Gena Hamshaw's new recipe book, Choosing Raw: making Raw Foods part of the way you eat. You're probably already familiar with Gena's popular and excellently written blog, Choosing Raw, where she shares many raw and vegan recipes along with bits of her personal life, and the stories of readers who have recovered from eating disorders and have turned to a vegan diet. As Gena has recovered from her own eating disorder, many people have confided in her and have been inspired to heal and share their stories in the hope of helping others.

Gena's book is great for those who are starting out on a raw and/or vegan diet, anyone who leads a busy life and doesn't have much time for food preparation, and for people who are looking to expand their recipe repertoire. From the start, Gena encourages her readers to make any recipe their own by exchanging ingredients and making it their own. As a chef, blogger, and recipe book author too, I can relate to the importance of encouraging readers to experiment and turn my recipes into something that suits them.

The book contains a mix of cooked and raw recipes which I think opens the door to more people - there is something for everyone in here. Another great feature is that Gena includes 21 flexible, easy to customize meal plans. She also dedicates a section of the book to addressing myths and misconceptions around raw and vegan diets. Gena presents the information based on her own personal experience and from her knowledge as a certified clinical nutritionist.

Two other great things about the book: the recipes are very easy to follow and most of them are accompanied by beautiful photographs (photos are very important to me. I think its the top selling feature of a cookbook).

Cobb Salad - doesn't it look amazing?! It's next on my "recipes to make" list. 

So far I've tried 3 recipes from the book: No bake sunflower oat bars, Green herb dressing, and Almond butter and sun dried tomato dressing. All were fantastic. I tossed the almond butter tomato dressing with zucchini noodles, avocado, and fresh tomato for a fantastic dinner one night - well ok, it happened 3 or 4 nights!

I'm fortunate enough to be able to share one of the recipes from the book with you. The No Bake Sunflower Oat Bars are a delicious, healthy, sweet snack. Gena gives the option for different nut or seed butters. I made them with peanut butter, and I also used half cacao nibs and half mini chocolate chips. They were also a little thicker than hers because I used an 8x8" pan. I needed a bit more sweetener because they were a bit too dry. I keep the bars in the freezer and enjoy them in the afternoon when its crazy hot outside.

No Bake Sunflower Oat Bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cacao nibs
2/3 cup sunflower seed, cashew, peanut, or almond butter
6 tablespoons agave nectar or brown rice syrup

1. Line a small (7 x 11' or 9")baking dish with foil or plastic wrap. Mix oats, seeds, raisins, and cacao nibs in a large bowl.
2 . Whisk together the nut butter and 1/2 cup sweetener. Pour over the mixture, and mix well, until everything is sticky and combined. If the mixture is too dry, you can add more sweetener as needed.
3. Press the mixture into the lined baking dish. Cover with another layer of foil or plastic wrap, press well into the baking dish and refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. They ought to keep for 2 weeks.

From Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

If you check out Gena's recent blog post HERE, you'll find a recipe from her book for Heat Free Lentil and Walnut Tacos. They look delicious! (photo from Choosing Raw).

Yum, I hope you check out Gena's book and blog! 

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