Simone Maier Bartlett is a working mom, triathlete, and CAL TRI EMPOWER ambassador in Santa Monica, California.  We asked her to share her recipe for these delicious bars that provide an energy boost during long rides, training days, and races.

13434944_10154160596868971_5026965951521656793_n Vegan Power Bars

These Vegan Power Bars have saved my life many times over going up the Santa Monica Mountains on our regular Sunday rides. They are absolutely amazing and give you such a power boost while being all healthy and vegan.

They are very easy to make and are much cheaper than all the alternatives in the store. Plus, you really know what goes in. That being said you can mix it totally mix it up every time you make them. I sometimes add more puffed millet and rice to make them lighter, I also like raisins; but the cranberry & dark chocolate combination has proven to be my favorite. The bars are also great for kids.

1 1⁄2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 1⁄4 cups rice crisp cereal (puffed millet works great as well!)
1⁄4 cup hemp seeds
1⁄4 cup sunflower seeds
1⁄2 cup cranberries or dried cherries
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vegan protein powder vanilla (Juice Plus)
1⁄4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1⁄2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, brown rice syrup
1⁄4 cup roasted peanut butter or any nut butter you like
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup mini non-dairy chocolate chips

1. Line a 9-inch square cake pan with two pieces of parchment paper (one going each way).
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, rice crisp cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cranberries, protein powder, cinnamon, and salt and mix.
3. In a small saucepan, stir together the brown rice syrup and peanut butter until well combined. Cook over medium to heat until the mixture softens and bubbles slightly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. I sometimes add a spoon of water just to make it easier to stir later.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape every last bit out of the pan. Stir well with a large metal spoon until all of the oats and cereal are coated in the wet mixture. The resulting mixture will be very thick and difficult to stir.  If using the chocolate chips, allow the mixture to cool slightly before folding in the chips. This will prevent them from melting.
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer. Lightly wet your hands and press down on the mixture to even it out. Use a pastry roller to compact the mixture firmly and evenly. This helps the bars hold together better. Press down on the edges with your fingers to even out.
6. Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and chill for 20 minutes, or until firm.
7. Lift the oat square out of the pan, using the parchment paper as handles, and place it on a cutting board. With a pizza roller (or a serrated knife), slice the square into 6 rows and then slice them in half to make 12-16 bars total.
8. Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap or foil and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, you can store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.