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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The BEST homemade granola bar EVER!

LONG TIME...but Happy New Year! In the quest of a New Year-New You this family has been on a clean food "lifestyle"! I never thought I would join the trend of Clean and/or Paleo diet, but I did! It has been 5 weeks and the effects on my entire family has been very interesting to experience. Don't get me wrong, we are not PERFECT and there are occasional slips of drive thru's for dinner and some good old pasta with butter and cheese...not for myself thought I have been SUPER strict...but the kids are taking their time as I am slowly bringing them to the clean side! What does this even mean? I'm still learning, but in my basic knowledge we are eating REAL food...processed food is out and real food that is grown from the earth is in! I have spent MANY hours in the kitchen...it's my best friend...and I love it! Tonight I thought I would share the infamous granola bar that we all pack in our kid's lunches...NOT ALWAYS THE BEST thing. I have tried many recipes with my kids-boy do they let me know if it's good or not-and I have FINALLY found one that I will be making weekly! Even my nephew took one home to pack in his lunch! In the words of the JJ-"Give my mom the recipe, titi!"
These are actually the ones I made...delish!
(My bars are a lot bigger than the recipe's, it made 10-12 bars)

No-bake granola bars (from www.craftsy.com)

Makes 2 dozen 1″ x 1 1/2″ bars
This recipe is a slight adaptation from one posted by my friend Sara of Sprouted Kitchen. I love that there is no oil and that toasted oats and cereal are held together with almond butter, dates and maple syrup. The original recipe uses peanut butter, but I wanted to make a recipe that is safe for those with a peanut allergy.
I pack these in little baggies, then stick them in the freezer. I’ll pull a bag out in the morning, then throw it in the kids’ backpacks for a nutritious and hearty afternoon snack. They are the perfect thing to grab while running out to recess.

Ingredients: (My thoughts in parenthesis)

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds (I would use slivered next time)
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (from Trader Joe's-no weird ingredients)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds (I used the one from Trader Joe's with blueberry in it!)
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (the organic-pure kind from Trader Joe's)
  • 2 cups (14) large Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips (Dark chocolate chips, organic)

Directions:

Step 1:

Grease and line an 8″ square pan with parchment so that a few inches hang over the edge.

Step 2:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 4:

Toast the oats and almonds on a baking sheet, baking for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Step 5:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the crisp rice, seeds, cooled almonds and oats, then stir to mix.

Step 6:

Chop up the dates well to make a chunky paste.

Step 7:

In a small saucepan, combine the dates, almond butter, maple syrup and cinnamon. Set the pan on medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of water. Stir the mixture until everything is mixed well and warmed through.

Step 8:

Add the date mixture to the dry ingredients then stir everything until well combined.

Step 9:

Dump the mixture into the prepared pan, then use the back of a spatula to compress the mixture into a tight and even layer. (I used a potato masher to make it completely level)

Step 10:

Top with the chocolate chips and press them into the bars just a bit.

Step 11:

Place the pan in the fridge to set for an hour before cutting into 24 1″ x 1 1/2″ bars. (for about 2 hours)
The bars will keep for about 5 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.

Enjoy! Stay tuned for some CLEAN breakfast favorites!!!!

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