Several times in the past few months, our family has experienced an interesting phenomenon. I think I shall call it pre-dumpster diving. What has happened is that friends of ours, in one case on very short notice, have moved across the country or across the world, and have left the contents of their refrigerators and/or pantries with us. Even though our kitchen is short on space to begin with, I was powerless to resist these “gifts” given my love of free stuff, especially free food. The things we received fell into three basic categories: food we buy ourselves anyway (butter, mustard, produce), things that I would buy if I had the space and money (see above) and things that I would likely never buy, but now feel the obligation to do something with.
One outstanding item in the third category is a large bag of oat bran. Until today, it dwelt in the vegetable drawer of the fridge (lack of space, I tell you), eying me in a lonely manner each time I reached past it to grab the mushrooms/peppers/lettuce. I had considered making bran muffins, but then I would have to eat bran muffins or give them to someone else who would then have to eat them, and this seemed unfair.
Fortunately, I had been tossing around the idea of making some sort of homemade protein bar, mainly because one of the awesome side effects of pregnancy is waking up at 4 am and feeling like your stomach is consuming itself. Going all the way downstairs to make a PB and J was getting old.
Enter the peanut butter balls. Protein packed, no-bake, and sweet enough to hide half a cup of oat bran per batch. Take that, bag of oat bran. 10 more batches or so, and you and I will officially be over.
Peanut Butter Energy Balls
(Makes about 24 two inch balls)
Combine in a large bowl:
2 c. peanut butter
1 c. powdered milk
1/2 c. oat bran or wheat germ
1/2 c. honey
1 t. kosher salt
Form into 2 inch balls.
If desired, roll balls in a combination of equal parts cocoa powder, oat bran and granulated sugar.
Store in freezer and pull out about 20 minutes before eating.