Cherry Oatmeal Bars – For A Little Inflammation Relief

It’s that time of year when I start to get a little more serious about my training. Fall marks the beginning of a new race season, and consequently the start of a gradual increase in overall running volume and intensity. Unfortunately, for me that also means the beginning of a new round of tired and achy muscles, and quite often inflammation in certain trouble spots.

One of my favorite treats that I sometimes have in my pantry, is Bob’s Red Mill Dried Tart Cherries, and one of the major nutritional benefits of cherries is that they contain anti-inflammatory effects. The American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that “the antioxidants in cherry juice and dried cherries (both unsweetened and sweetened) are similar to fresh cherries,” so my dried cherries that I have been feasting on lately are hopefully doing my muscles some good.

Here’s a delicious recipe I found on SkinnyTaste.com – it’s a bar that’s loaded with ingredients that I love, and of course, tart dried cherries:

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed well, 1/2 cup water, 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 1/2 cups ripe and mashed bananas, 1 large beaten egg, 1/4 cup raw honey, 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, 2 tsps vanilla extract, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup dark chocolate bits

Directions:

Grease a baking pan and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool completely.

Mix together the oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add mashed bananas, egg, honey, oil and vanilla to the quinoa, and stir until just blended. Add the banana mixture to the oats mixture and stir until just blended. Mix in dried cherries, walnuts and chocolate bits.

Spread the batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, and refrigerate for 20 minutes before cutting. Store in refrigerator, or freezer if you wish to save for later.