A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative of Journey Bar, and asked if I would be interested in checking out these savory nutrition bars and possibly creating an everyday recipe with one of them. ‘A SAVORY nutrition bar?’, I thought, ‘That sounds interesting!’ So I decided to give them a try, and today I’m hosting a giveaway to give you a chance to try them out too!
Let’s face it: there are tons of nutrition/energy bars out there on the market, but the absolute majority of them are sweet, so much that sometimes they are nothing more than candy bars disguised as a good-for-you snack. As I found out, the creators of Journey Bars – avid world travelers and backpackers – became concerned with this issue, and set out to develop a savory snack bar that would not only be low on sugar, but also deliver nutrition from real food sources like whole-grain oats, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. Did I mention that these bars are also vegan and gluten-free?
Chris and Marguarette, the creators of Journey Bars, are also passionate about making a positive impact on our planet. They work with organizations that provide food, shelter and education to the orphaned children of Haiti, and support the National Parks Conservation Association that preserves our beautiful national parks in the US.
Since Journey Bars are savory, they are created in flavors inspired by national cuisines from all over the world. They are currently offered in Sesame Ginger, Rosemary, Pizza Marinara, Coconut Curry and Sea Salt. I received Rosemary, Sesame Ginger and Coconut Curry bars to experiment with, and here’s what I thought about each:
Coconut Curry Journey Bar. This flavor was probably my favorite because I’m a big fan of curry flavors. The spice blend is rather mild, so it’s not going to turn into a hot mess in your mouth. I enjoyed bringing one of these bars to work and having them for a savory mid-morning snack. The savory notes aren’t as savory as, say, what we find in crackers, but they are definitely less sweet than most other candy-inspired snack bars on the market.
Rosemary Journey Bar. Rosemary is an herb I can never get enough of! It just adds such a sophisticated note to any dish you add it to. The hint of rosemary in this Journey bar is mild rather than over-the-top, which I took as the proof that it came from a natural source rather than a chemically enhanced source. This is the bar that I chose to experiment with in creating a recipe – see my Butternut Squash Soup recipe below.
Sesame Ginger Journey Bar. Toasted sesame seeds are a little secret of my favorite Asian stir-fries and rice dishes, so I was excited to see how this flavor was incorporated into this nutrition bar. I found that the hints of sesame and ginger came out the best when I popped this bar into a toaster and warmed it up slightly. Tip: if you decide to toast any of the Journey bars, be careful when removing them from the toaster as they may become soft and break easily.
Time to see the recipe I created with one of the Journey Bars I received! I used the Rosemary bar to make an Italian-inspired Butternut Squash Soup, but you can switch the flavor profile to an Asian-inspired and make this soup curry-flavored – see the note below.
The complex sweetness of roasted butternut squash pairs beautifully with hints of Italian spices like rosemary, oregano and thyme. Don't be intimidated by the longer cooking time - it's mostly passive time of waiting for the squash to roast. Top your bowl with Rosemary Journey bar crumbles for added texture.
- 1 whole butternut squash (mine weighed around 2-1/3 pounds)
- 1 Rosemary Journey bar*
- 2 cups almond milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice (plus ¼-1/2 cup more if you want a thinner soup)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika (sweet or hot if you’d like your soup to be a bit spicy)
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, or ½ tsp dried
- Pinch dry thyme (optional)
- Pinch dry sage (optional)
- Pinch dry oregano (optional)
- Salt, black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Wash and pat dry your butternut squash. Pierce it with a fork a few times and microwave for 3 minutes on high. This will soften it slightly to help you cut it in half easier. Let the squash cool off for 5 min.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise – be careful as it may be hot inside from the microwaving. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the halves on a cookie sheet, brush the tops lightly with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Bake in the oven** for 35-45 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender. Take the squash out of the oven and cool for 7-10 minutes.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh out of each half of the squash (be careful not to burn yourself!) and place it into the bowl of a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients except the Rosemary Journey Bar. Blend the ingredients for 2-3 min, or until the mixture is completely smooth. If it’s too thick, add more almond milk.
- Pop the Rosemary Journey bar into a toaster to warm it up. Crumble it up into large pieces, or slice into small cubes to use them as croutons.
- Pour the soup mixture into a soup pot and gently reheat it on the stove. Adjust seasoning and spices to taste. Serve topped with Rosemary Journey bar pieces. Enjoy!
*If you’d like a curried butternut squash soup, you can use a Coconut Curry Journey bar, and swap the spices for turmeric, curry, ground cumin and sweet paprika – adjust them to taste.
**Alternatively, you can cut the squash into cubes and steam them in a steamer basket for about 10 minutes. This is a quicker way to make this recipe, but I prefer the taste of roasted butternut squash to steamed in this soup as roasting caramelizes the sweet flavors of the squash better than steaming.
The giveaway starts today, December 10th, 2014, and will last until next Wednesday, December 17th, 2014, 11:59 Pacific Standard Time. Once the giveaway is over, the winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter, and announced here on the blog and on social media within 48 hours.
- You must reside in the US or Canada (sorry international folks – I’m paying for shipping myself);
- You must be over 18 to participate in this giveaway;
- You can fill out some options once every day (but NOT MORE THAN ONCE A DAY), so you’re welcome to stop by again!
A couple disclaimers about this post and giveaway:
Disclaimer 1. In case you are allergic or have food sensitivities to any of the ingredients in the Journey Bars, please use your discretion when eating them. I, Alina Zavatsky of Vegan Runner Eats, or the makers of the Journey bars cannot be held responsible for possible (if any) digestive troubles you may get after eating Journey bars.
Disclaimer 2. I participate in the affiliate program by Journey bars. If you follow the links to the Journey Bar site provided in the post above and make any purchases, I will receive a small commission that will help me run this site, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of Vegan Runner Eats!