Archive for April, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

My kids don’t really care all that much about what I’m cooking for them. The only thing they really care about is that it tastes good. The one thing they do care about: granola bars. They just can’t get enough of them. I used to go to the grocery store and buy them, but what do you find in them? Lots and lots of processed sugars. Now, one of my kids is extremely sensitive to sugar. When the poor kid eats processed sugar he just losses it and has trouble controlling himself. So what to do? Make my own!!

So I started searching for recipes and found a great one at Kitchen Stewardship that looked like it would work for us. This recipe is pretty simple compared to another I tried before.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 C Rolled Oats
1 cup whole wheat flour, or spelt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, softened*
1 cup honey

You can add in up to 2 cups of additional ingredients to really make this recipe your own.
*If the butter’s straight out of the fridge, I just throw it in the kitchen-aide and beat the heck out of it for a bit, always seems to work for me 🙂 You could also substitute coconut oil for butter if you’re dealing with a milk allergy.

Instructions:

Start by greasing a 13 x 9 pan, and heating the oven up to 325.

In one bowl, add together all dry ingredients except the additional items you’ve chosen

IMAG0413

Then, in a mixing bowl, beat together butter, honey, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

Once combined, add in the dry ingredients and beat till well incorporated.

Once that’s well blended, fold in the extras you’ve chosen.  (Honestly, I just threw all my extras in and mixed it with my Kitchen-aide, but I didn’t use anything that was large and chunky).

Now that everything’s mixed up, dump it in your greased pan, and press it down as best you can.  The more you manage to squish it down in the pan, the easier your life will be when you eventually try to cut the things. (I “cheated” and put a piece of wax paper over it, then used a flat pan to squish it down to make it consistent)

Time to throw it in the oven for 15-20 min.  I left mine in until the edges were golden brown.

IMAG0417

Now the worst part.  Letting it just sit there and cool.  Once you think it’s cool, then stick it in the fridge to cool some more.  I know some people that just throw it in the freezer, but I wanted to eat them faster than that.  🙂

Once they were completely cool, I took a knife and went around the outside of the pan to loosen up the edges.  I tried cutting them with a knife, but they started to come apart, so instead I used a bench scraper to cut the bars.  That actually worked much much better.

To store them once you’ve cut them, you can either just keep them in the pan if you think you’ll use them in a week or so, or you can wrap them up with a little plastic for individual bars, or jsut in an air tight container. Decker just throws them in his bag for a snack for school. For longer keeping you could put them in the freezer, but I really doubt they’d last that long.

Additional items you can put in the bars might be:

Dried fruit of any kind
Any type of nuts.
Chocolate chips
1/4 c coco powder
1/4 c nut butter in place of 1/2 c of butter
Lots of different ideas possible. For our batch we used 1/2 c dried mango, 1/2 c raisins, 1/2 c flax seeds, and 1/2 c sunflower seeds. The only thing I suggest is if you’re using fruit or nuts, so chop them up a little so that they incorporate throughout the bars. Say to about raisin size.

For me, this recipe ended up making 16 bars, but they were a little big, but hey, we like big granola bars! Best of all, Decker’s happy, but next time I think I might grind up some almonds and throw them on the top before I bake them for an extra crunch. Enjoy!

IMAG0424

Advertisements

Change in Perspective

Once you learn something, you can’t undo that. You can put your head in the sand, you can pretend it’s not there, but it never does go away. Not until you embrace the change that it means in your life can you truly be free.

This statement has held true for me for a great many things. Any time I ignored the new thing, it caused havoc with my psyche. The only release was acceptance and greater knowledge.

For awhile I have been trying to feed my family on as little money as possible. Shoot, I was quite proud that I was feeding a family of 4 (2 boys that eat like grown men) for less than $35 a week. After a bit, I realized we were getting sick more often, and really, why am I able to get all this food for little or no cost? There’s something wrong about this picture.

I started researching food we had been eating. I wanted to know THE best way to nourish my children so that they can become strong, intelligent, productive people. I wanted to nourish myself and my husband so we can be the best we can be. In the past I have watched Food, Inc. and other documentaries about food. I always thought they were interesting, but never really thought they applied to me. I mean, I NEVER went to McDonald’s, we ate occasionally at Burger King and Taco Bell, everything in moderation, right? Well, this is true….when you’re eating REAL food.

This was around the time I learned about the Weston A. Price Foundation. This is where I learned about different types of fats and nutrients that we think are healthy, but frankly, just plain aren’t. I learned how important fermented foods are in our lives. (Think probiotics) Things that humans have lived on for thousands of years that we no longer live off of because of mass production of cheap processed food.

It’s interesting when you start to read labels on foods. Seriously, when was the last time you actually READ a label. Not just the “nutrition” information, but the actual ingredients? Just something as simple as looking at milk. Say you’re at the store and you buy 1% milk. Look at the label. Why in the world would they need to add milk powder back into milk? It’s just milk, right? But then, how do they make powdered milk? It’s not like simply putting it in a dehydrator would work. When you start to learn how food is processed (made), it starts to sound really really disgusting.

You are what you eat. Go look in your cabinet. Really read about what’s in there, and tell me, are you all natural, clean, and healthy? Or are you chemically laden, unnatural, and processed? I know what I’m going to choose, and the recipes that I post after this will follow in line with that objective. Hope to have you along for the ride. 🙂