I could use some convection over tips. Do you prop the door of the oven open? Or close it so the convection fan kicks on? I ended up using a combination of the two. I couldn't find any instructions on this anywhere. The thought was that with the door open, the moisture could escape and the temperature could be a bit lower so as to be more like a dehydrator. Isn't that what the fan on the convection oven is for? Who knows, anywho, this open/closed method seemed to work well for me. I am going to try another flavor this weekend, more of a Hawaiian coconut, pineapple. Yum!
Just some of the delicious reasons for using some of the ingredients in this snack...
Pumpkin seeds have lots of antioxidants, vitamin E, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium. The oils in these little guys may even help to regulate insulin. (Very preliminary but so cool.) They also have antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Can't beat that.
Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamins E and B1 as well as copper. Vitamin E helps protect your cells against free radicals, chemicals that oxidize and damage your proteins, cell membranes and DNA. This vitamin also promotes healthy circulation by helping you make red blood cells. An ounce of hulled sunflower seeds contains 10 milligrams of vitamin E! That is two-thirds of your recommended daily intake of the nutrient.
Sesame seeds also have loads of zinc which decreases the risk for osteoporosis, phytoserols that may enhance the immune response, sesamin which provides liver protection, as well as copper, anti-inflammatory, and anti oxidants.
Chia seeds are a hot topic right now. These odd little seeds are full of fiber, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Another great thing about chia seeds is their ability to absorb up to 12x their weight. This means that once ingested, they can draw out toxins in your body. Pretty cool, huh?
Flax seeds also contain Omega-3s. I have been hearing about a study (yes that is a link to Yahoo news but the actually article from Neurology is cited at the bottom of the link) where Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to possibly reduce age related brain shrinkage, especially in women. Shoot, I am all for that. Flax seeds are antioxidant power houses with ounce for ounce, more antioxidants than blueberries. This has been correlated to a reduction in insulin resistance.
As my mom said, when I told her about the above health benefits, "Whew! That is lots of good health." Ha.
Strawberry Chia Energy Bars
- 2 cups Fresh Strawberries, topped and hulled
- 19 Medjool Dates, pitted (about 2 cups)
- ¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds
- ¼ cup Sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup Flax Seeds
- ½ cup Sesame Seeds
- ⅛ cup Chia Seeds
- Sea Salt, optional to taste
- Place strawberries and dates in the food processor. Pulse into a slightly chunky mixture, not completely smooth.
- Pour fruit puree into a bowl and using a wooden spoon, gently mix in all remaining ingredients. Salt to taste.
- Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The mixture should be about ⅛” thick.
- Place in convection oven at 170 deg F for about 6 hours. (This was the lowest my oven would go.)
- After about 4-5 hours, when the top is no longer sticky to the touch and the bottom can easily peel off the parchment, flip the mixture over so the top is now the bottom. This will help evenly dehydrate both sides. I found the best way to do this was to place a new piece of parchment on top of the bars and flip the whole thing. I then peeled the old layer of paper off the top.
- The bars are done when they have a fruit leather texture, not completely crispy.
- Cut into bars using a pizza cutter.
- Can be stored 6 months – 9 months in an airtight container in the fridge.