Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kitchen Tales: Healthy Granola

The crunch. The sweetness. The smell. Granola. 
Hungry yet? Feel the need to go hike? I'll wait.

I love a good granola cereal with milk for breakfast. A granola bar to crunch on. A handful of granola to munch on as a snack. Granola is so versatile with what can be added, kind of like a trail mix; make your own "mix".

I came across a few different recipes on campingmeals.net while looking for things to make easy and quick. I didn't find any one recipe to use, so I used a couple different ones to come up with this one. It still needs to be tweaked a bit, but for a first batch, its not bad!

Homemade Granola Bars

5-6 cups old fashioned oats
2-3 tablespoons flax seed*
2 tablespoons wheat germ*
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter/margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
sunflower seeds
sliced almonds

optional: sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts

*the healthy stuff. no taste changed. take it or leave it.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cake pan/casserole dish with foil. I made this decision to help get the bars out of the pan without having them ALL fall apart. Thinking as if I'm making fudge. In a small sauce pan: melt brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, honey/nectar and vanilla extract. In a large, read LARGE bowl add oats, flax seed, wheat germ and any additions (nuts, fruit, seeds, etc). While sugar-y sweet stuff is melting line the pan with foil. Stir to melt. Once melted and warmed pour over dry ingredients and mix through to make sure everything dry gets wet. Spread out in foil covered pan. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Cut and serve/store.

My problem: My bars didn't fully stay in bar form. While cutting them I could tell some were falling apart. Next time: Maybe more honey? 

The peanut butter added a great protein to the already healthy snack, and a nice flavor. I personally wasn't a huge fan of the sunflower seeds or almonds, next time I'll try some fruit. 

Super easy, quick, healthy snack.

Yum. An easy snack to make ahead of time for a road trip, hike, lunch snack, 2am hunger pain....

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