Thursday, April 12, 2012

Home Made Granola Bars Made Simple

There's a few things about me that you may not know:
1. I like trying new things (except when I don't).
2. Although I'm not at ALL a picky eater (I'll try about anything at least once), I'm a bit picky about what I feed my kids.

I haven't completely started feeding my family whole-grain, all fresh everything - but I probably should. It's so much better for your overall health! And, after all, if our bodies are God's dwelling place, shouldn't we fill them with the best stuff we can?
Ok, enough. You didn't come here so I could lecture you on healthy foods.

Anyway, with all that in mind, I try to get the healthiest stuff I can find when I go to the grocery store.
Enter granola bars.
My kids like granola bars.
That's healthy. Right?
Well, it should be. But that high-fructose corn syrup holding it together...blech. And although it IS made of oats, supposedly, there is less than 1 gram of fiber per bar...(at least in the ones I have).
Surely we can do better than that?

So, I've been on a bit of a quest: find a good granola bar recipe.

What qualifies as good?
Well, I'd like it to have healthy ingredients, natural sugars preferably, and not too much of them; and, the clincher: it needs to be something my hubby will eat.

I tried one a few months ago, but it didn't turn out too great. I didn't mind them, but the kids and the hubster wouldn't touch them.
Bye-bye, recipe!
So, I've looked around, bt haven't pursued it too much, until the other day when I was on Pinterest, I saw this recipe: 5 ingredient peanut butter granola bars. I pinned it.
Today, I remembered that recipe, and pulled it up. Looked pretty good. So I decided to try it.
Good news! I think it might be a winner!

Now if you know me very well at all, you probably have figured out by now that I never follow a recipe precisely. Never.

So here's my version of THAT recipe:

4 C. Rolled oats (I used old-fashioned oats - the kind you buy in the big cardboard can)
1 C. coarsely crushed rice chex cereal (you could use rice krispies, but my friendly neighborhood mice had eaten those, so I had to use what I had)
1 C. Peanut butter
1/2 - 3/4 C. honey
1/2 C. chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
1/2 C. miniature marshmallows

Mix together oats, cereal, choc. chips and marshmallows. In a microwave safe dish, melt the peanut butter and honey and stir together until creamy looking. Pour over other ingredients and mix thoroughly. The chocolate and marshmallows will melt slightly.
Press firmly into a pan (9x13 or so - I lined mine with parchment to make it easier to clean up)
Bake on 325° for about 10 minutes.
Cool and cut into bars.

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that putting chocolate and marshmallows in it just negated some of the healthiness. However, as least in this case, while it may not be super-duper health food, I DO know what went into it - and I don't know what all goes into the store-bought ones. At least I can pronounce all of the ingredients! And though they are sweet, it's all natural sugar - except what comes from the chocolate and marshmallows.

The verdict? Dear hubby pronounced them, 'not too bad', the kiddos loved them, and I, even I who don't like peanut butter overly much, thought they were pretty tasty! The taste is faintly reminiscent of those no-bake cookies.

So, if you make them, let me know what you think!

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