This week has been about me re-creating foods from my childhood.  Like hamburger helper, classy! Granola bars were our quintessential snack growing up.  Well, that and goldfish.  An apple, orange or carrots, psssh, that’s just crazy talk.  Unless it was a processed carbs that came ina  box, we probably didn’t eat it.  Even when I got married I’d still buy granola bars as a snack.  And box brownies, and sometimes even fruit by the foot. I was only 21, what can ya do.  Rhetorical.  To this day if you put a carton of goldfish in front of me, I won’t turn ya down.  They have powers over me, like ice cream.  Which is one reason we don’t buy them, except this one time.  But that’s for another post.

Even though we don’t buy processed snacky food anymore, we still like to snack.  Just on things like fruit, carrots, almonds, you know, the healthier stuff.  But sometimes we want a sweet, not healthy, but oh sooooo good snack.  Something you can eat in the car on the go, or in the backyard while you’re playing with your kid, or crumble over ice cream (because I snack on ice cream, yes I do!).  These bars can pretty much be eaten anytime of the day and you don’t have to feel totally guilty because they aren’t AS bad for you as the packaged ones.  Ya, they still have sugar and oil, but the more natural stuff, so it’s all good.  HEAR ME NOW: I am NOT SAYING THIS IS HEALTH FOOD.  For the freaking love, an apple is health food, granola bars aren’t.  But they’re the lesser of 2 evils.  So we like them.

With each bite Jon kept commenting how insane these bars are.  He even said they were one of the best things I’ve ever made.  Ok, that’s a bit far, buddy.  But I get your point, they’re super duper good.  So make some and see for yourself.  Share them with your neighbors, friends and kids.  They’ll appreciate the delicious homemade treat.  And if you’re feeling EXTRA generous, bring them some ice cream too!  Because these bars really are wonderful crumbled on ice cream. Or in a bowl of chocolate milk. Yep, granola bars crumbled in chocolate milk, get on it, it’s magical.

 

Notes:

The bars are really versitile and most of the ingredients can be substituted.  While it will slightly change the taste or consistency depending on what you substitute, they’ll still be essentially the same bars.

Coconut: you can try unsweetened, but I know the sugar of the sweetened coconut lends to some of the caramelizing and crunchiness of the bars.

Flax Meal: use almond meal or any type of flour instead

Vegetable oil: try melted butter or coconut oil instead

Agave: use real maple syrup, honey or even corn syrup instead

 

Nature Valley Knock-Offs

Nature Valley Knock-Offs

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

Mix everything in a bowl.

Spread the mix evenly on a baking sheet (or cookie sheet) into about a 12×8 inch rectangle. (The bars don’t rise or really spread, so your baking sheet doesn’t need edges).

Bake at 325 for about 40 minutes, until the edges are toasted brown.

Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, then into 6 bars width wise (giving you 12 bars) when they’re still hot from the oven, but don’t move the bars yet. Let the cut bars cool in pan. Bars will harden as they cool. Separate once they’re cool enough to touch and have hardened.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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