Granola Bars


When it comes to getting ready in the morning I'd much rather choose sleep over being fully prepared for the day.  And although I know it's the most important meal of the day, breakfast always ends up as an afterthought, quickly toasting a bagel or grabbing an apricot from the fridge.  Neither of those are the healthiest nor most satisfying to eat in the morning, and in about half an hour my stomach is grumbling for something more.

I decided to make granola bars because they're portable, filling, and relatively healthy (depending on the bar/recipe). It turns out they're also really quick and easy to make and impossible to mess up.  As long as you have the right amount of "glue" for your oats you can't go wrong.  You can also put whatever you want in them to your liking, such as pine nuts, agave nectar, wheat germ, pecans, prunes, etc. I specifically made mine not too sweet because I wanted to keep them as healthy (and edible) as possible.  If you like your bars on the chewier and sweeter side, try adding some brown sugar.

Granola Bars makes 8-10 snack sized bars 1/3 c almond butter 1/3 c honey 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 c rolled oats (old fashioned, not instant/quick) 1/2 c raw almonds 1/2 c raw walnuts 1/4 c flax seeds 1/4 c golden raisins 1/4 c dried chili pineapple bits, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, mix together almond butter, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Set aside. 2. In a food processor, pulse together almonds and walnuts until they are smaller pieces (don't do this for too long or else you'l make a nut butter!). Add 1 cup of rolled oats and pulse a few times more to lightly chop. 3. Empty contents of food processor into a medium sized bowl. Add the rest of the rolled oats and flax seeds. Combine almond and honey mixture, then add in dried fruit. 4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fix a 8x8" baking pan. Leave a bit of overhang on two opposing sides to use as "handles". With an additional piece of parchment (or wax paper), press the mixture so it's slightly compacted and evenly fills out the pan. 5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let the granola cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes more. Make sure to wait until it's fully cool before you cut them into bars. Store in an airtight container.