Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Healthy and Easy Granola Bar Recipe

 The current political climate is really stressing me out. Two things that help me with stress relief are working out and baking. The thought of a Donald Trump presidency has recently given me visible arm muscles, increased my running speed, and has brought you this granola bar recipe.
Some mornings it feels really impossible to get all of the kids ready, out the door, and arrive at Pearl's pre-school on time. Granola bars are perfect for a quick on-the-go breakfast to help speed up the morning process. I have had a difficult time finding store bought ones though that are both healthy and don't cost a fortune. I set out one week to find a recipe that would fit this criteria to make our mornings less stressful. I couldn't find a single recipe that involved an amount of sugar that I was comfortable with so I decided to make my own. The first batch turned out decently, but with a few more rounds and modifications under my belt, I have finally come up with a healthy recipe that my kids like. It's also super easy!
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts)
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Put rolled oats, almonds, and flaxseed meal in a large bowl and set aside. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
Bring mashed banana and honey to a boil in a sauce pan over med-high heat. Let it boil for just one minute. Quickly remove from the heat, add peanut butter and vanilla, then stir until combined.
Pour the contents of the sauce pan into the large bowl of oats and other ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add your chocolate chips if using and mix them in as well. Pour this mixture into the lined 8x8 dish. Press it all down firmly and evenly into your dish. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top and press down once more. Put the dish in the freezer for a couple of hours, then cut to your preferred size and enjoy!
This granola bar recipe is gluten free and can be easily modified to work for our vegan friends. You just need to substitute maple syrup for the honey. If you don't have sliced almonds or other nuts, just increase your oats to 4 cups and they will still turn out great. I have used both natural organic peanut butter as well as Skippy and both worked just fine. I'm sure most nut butters would work here if you need to replace peanut butter for something else. I store mine in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Here's to stress free mornings and stress reducing hobbies as well :)

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