When I was going through chemo for breast cancer two years ago, I ate these bars a lot. Little protein punches designed to satisfy whenever food actually sounded good -- hence, "anytime." Oddly, food sounded most good when I was in the Chemo Lounge, receiving an infusion of medicine! But whatever the reason, I was prepared with my Anytime Bars and bone broth (but that's another story). My mother-in-law kept me well-supplied with both.
And now it is my turn to get someone else through chemo: My dad. He'll start chemo next Monday for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Already he's experiencing loss of appetite and weight-loss from the cancer itself. Chemo will add another complication to this.
So the Anytime Bars are perfect to have on hand for when he needs a healthy, tasty, satisfying bite. Plus, flaxseeds have been known to slow the growth of estrogen-receptive breast cancer tumors! Almonds are good for reducing inflammation, and blueberries are an antioxidant. Win, win, win!
But people who aren't dealing with cancer like these bars, too, since they are so tasty. They are great for kids, grabbing on the go, or after a work-out.
Almond Blueberry Anytime Bars, adapted from Rebecca Katz's The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen; makes 20-25 bars
2 cups raw almonds*
2 TBSP spelt or whole wheat flour
2 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour
2 TBSP finely ground flaxseeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups dried blueberries*
5 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp almond extract*
*You can substitute other nuts and other dried fruit to suit your taste buds. If you decide not to use almonds, substitute vanilla extract for the almond extract.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan (I use coconut oil).
Spread the almonds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
Combine the flours, flax seeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to combine.
In a food processor, chop the nuts and fruit. Or chop by hand. Add the nuts and fruit to the flour mixture. Add the oats and stir to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit.
Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don't over-bake or the bards will be too dry. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then cut into 20 or 25 squares. Leave the bars in the pan until completely cool so they'll hold together when you remove them.
STORAGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.