I do not know about your family, but in our house these few words resound a lot, “Mama, I’m hungry can I have a snack?”
In my quest to find real food that nourishes my family, I came to a dilemma: Finding satisfying snacks I felt good about feeding my family besides just fruit and vegetables.
Now, don’t get me wrong, fruits and veggies are great snacks and wonderful sources of nutrition, but sometimes you just need something sweet and chewy that makes you say “Mmmmm“. Problem is I’ve found most snacks from my local grocery store that are sweet and chewy and make you say “Mmmmm” are not nutrient-dense foods that fill you up and tide you over for meal time.
I was doing my best by choosing what I thought were safe and healthy options. I mean really, how bad can store- bought “natural” granola bars be, right?
When I took a look at my so called “healthy options,” I found ingredients like: corn syrup, sugar, caramel coloring, preservatives, and synthetic oils. Those are the ones I could read.
My kids and husband love those little oat bars with chocolate and sometimes peanut butter. If I was going to rid our pantry of those chewy, sweet bars, I needed a darn good replacement. One that would be equally if not more satisfying and unlike the store-bought bars, nourishing. Guess what?
I did it!
Not only are these bars delicious and nutritious, they are so easy to make even a caveman could do it. These chewy, store-bought knock-offs are a healthy snack and one I can feel good about feeding my family.
- ¼ cup coconut oil, butter can be substituted (where to buy)
- ½ cup raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (homemade)
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (where to buy)
- ⅛ cup flax seed, milled or whole (where to buy)
- ¼ cup chocolate chips (where to buy)
- 1-2 TB peanut butter (optional)
- handful dried fruit and/or nuts (optional)
- Heat your stove top to medium heat.
- To a saucepan over medium heat, add your coconut oil and honey. Stir to melt and combine.
- The oil and honey will start to bubble. When you see this, keep watch as it will soon take on a nice amber color, but do not let it get to dark or you will have made candy.
- Once you get a nice rolling bubble, let it go for about 30 seconds to a minute and then turn off your heat and add your vanilla.
- Add in the oats, flax seed, and optional peanut butter. Stir together until combined
- Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper (be sure to have some extra hanging off both sides).
- Pour in the oat mixture. Using the back of a spatula press down about ½ inch until mixture is smooth.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips, nuts, and/or dried fruit over oat mixture. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool.
- The cutting process: Remove the pan from the fridge. Use the extra parchment hanging off sides as handles to pull your entire granola out of the pan and place on counter. It will be a solid piece. Cut width-wise into one-inch sections. Then one long cut down the center of the pan. This will allow for 12 individual servings all equal size.
- Note: This recipe can easily be doubled for 24 using a 9x13 pan.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
*Rolled oats can vary in texture and thickness between brands. If the bars are not “sticking” well reduce the oats amount by 1/4 -1/2 cup.
Note: Press the granola mixture firmly into the pan before cooling. This will help the granola bars “stick” once cooled.
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