Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade granola bars (and variations)

Many of you know that Adam is a VERY picky eater. And I think that's putting it mildly. So, when I had to start packing his lunch for all day kindergarten, I knew I needed a little proactive help in order to make sure he was not only eating what I packed, but also getting some nutrition at the same time.

This recipe is from a friend of mine. It's really easy to make, and easily adaptable for special diets! (In our house, we have g-free, and I am trying to do low sugar for Adam.) I'll write about the basic recipe, and add the variations/subsitiutions in parenthesis. I hope you like it as much as Adam does!!!

Basic Recipe:

4 1/2 cups oats (for g-free, make sure they're uncontaminated!)

1 cup all-purpose flour (for g-free, I used white rice flour 3/4 cup instead)

1/2 cup ground flax seed meal (not the seeds, use the meal! You don't digest seeds unless they're ground)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla extract (for g-free make sure its ALL natural!)

1/2 cup butter (do not use margarine- ever)

2/3 lite corn syrup

1/3 cup packed brown sugar (for low sugar, I used blue agave nectar- just under 1/4 cup instead)

2 TBSP locally grown honey (optional, but I found it to be necessary)

2 cups add-ins

adorable helpers :)

This recipe is EXTREMELY kid friendly to make since you don't need to heat anything on the stove top. It's easiest to pull out all the ingredients right away and start dumping.

*Tip: Since I have two kids, I brought out a 1 cup and 1/2 cup measurement. This way they each got 3 turns with the oats.

Mix everything (except add-ins) together in a bowl until thouroughly mixed. Try not to get any on the dog.
(dog being optional)

I allowed Adam to pick his add-ins. I gave him a choice of peanuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and coconut. I automatically took 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed them up and put them in- leaving 1 1/2 cups for his choices. He chose coconut and chocolate chips. I wasn't sure he would be jazzed seeing the coconut in the bars, so I only put 1/4 cup in- leaving the other 1 1/4 cup for chocolate chips. AFTER everything was said and done, he wanted the peanut butter chips in there too, so we put them on top while it was cooking and allowed them to melt into "frosting."

The blue agave nectar that I used really helped this get moist. The first time I made this, I did half sugar and half nectar. The second, I completely replaced the sugar. It actually turned out better without the sugar!

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Press mixture into pan.

* Tip: The harder you press it in, the less crumbly it will be in the lunch boxes.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

If you have a last minute add-in to use, you can put chips on top of the bars while they're cooling. After they were soft, we took a spoon and smeared them around. Adam loved doing this!

Let cool for 10 minutes, then cut into bars.



By the way- #53- Allow Adam to help me cook/bake something in the kitchen.


Heidi said...

Sounds yummy...we might have to try those!

What kind of oats do you buy? Caleb has had bad luck with everything except the really expensive Bob's Red Mill Specialty Gluten Free oats. I want to do more with oats, but when I have to pay almost $7 for 2 pounds it gets tough!

Sandy said...

I found Bob's were the best for me too. Yes, it HURTS- but I LOVE oats! This batch was for the boys, so I just used el-cheap-o Aldi oats. They love them too.

the deKorne family said...

Yum! You are so domestic!!!

Jamie H said...

I do believe that I'm gonna have to try this recipe!
Did you know Keely tagged you in my blog hop? Check out her or my blog to join the fun!

Brian and Becky said...

What temp did you bake at? (or did I miss it??)

Sandy said...

oops! 350- good catch!