So I've been loving and hating my food lately. Refined sugar, gluten and dairy, and processed everything? You've got to go. I've been juicing (green juice, how I love thee), eating lots more fruits and vegetables, less meat, and have almost completely replaced my beloved sweet tea with.... water. Yes I did. And my body has not revolted yet. Actually, it is being pretty nice to me for a change.
The trouble is, my kids still love the junk. And every once in awhile, I need a cheat. So when my childhood best friend Laura posted this homemade granola bar recipe on her Instagram feed, I was all over it! They're gluten-free, dairy-free, and raw. And they are delicious. My kids were fooled, if that tells you anything. Here is her recipe, and then my lazy adaptation:
1 cup minute oats
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together well and press into muffin tins; refrigerate.
My husband buys granola bars at our grocery store every week, and we can't keep them in the pantry. The kids nibble them for breakfast on weekends, I pack them in their lunches, I throw them in my purse for snacks in the car, etc. We go through boxes and boxes and boxes of them. Have you ever read the ingredients on a box of granola bars? I grabbed our favorite brand, and was shocked to count at least six different additions of sugars, four separate corn syrup / high-fructose corn syrup ingredients, plus multiple ingredients of partially-hydrogenated oils and other things that I couldn't pronounce. All together, there were thirty-nine ingredients. Thirty-nine!
So we made Laura's granola bars, and my kids gobbled them up within minutes. Told me they were the best granola bars they'd ever eaten.
Four ingredients, folks. Four.
I use raw honey, and I sub almond butter for peanut butter. By default, the basic recipe is gluten-free. You can also get creative and add whatever you like: shredded coconut, cranberries or raisins or other dried fruit, chocolate chips (or carob if you're eating dairy-free), a chopped-up dark chocolate bar, almonds, pecans, cashews... the possibilities are endless. But the basic recipe has just four ingredients to build upon. Brilliant, I say.
I will admit: I'm not much of a recipe follower. So here is what I do:
Dump in enough oats to probably fill the bottom of a brownie or loaf pan.
Add a few heaping spoonfuls of almond butter.
Squeeze a big glug of raw honey so it helps the oats stick to the peanut butter.
Stir until it all comes together.
Add a big handful of chocolate chips, if I have them. Stir a little more.
If it looks (or tastes) dry at that point, then I add more nut butter. If it is crumbly, I add another big glug of honey to make it stickier.
And I usually forget the vanilla.
Press into a loaf pan (or double the batch and press into an 8x8 brownie pan), cover and refrigerate, slice whenever the kids get hungry.
At night, I can whip up a batch in 5 minutes, stick them in the fridge overnight, and then slice them for breakfast or lunches the next morning. THEY LOVE ME.