February 28, 2012

granola bar bliss

I feel like I can get my kids to eat healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

But snacks during the day? Oh my. It's a whole 'nother story.

Ollie and Twain are still young enough to fall for my tricks. They think it's a real treat to eat nuts and raisins for a snack. Or apples with peanut butter. Or cheese. Or rice cakes + honey.

But Finn and Calvin have developed a taste for crackers and granola bars and their little hands ALWAYS gravitate toward those boxes daddy insists on buying(and I have nothing against crackers, etc.. but when that's all they want to snack on all day, it gets kind of old).

I've always wanted to make home made crackers but they seem kind of tedious. So you can imagine my absolute excitement when I found out that my sisters were making super easy, yet delicious, granola bars! I almost wet my pants I was so thrilled.

My sister Jessica got the recipe from this site. Jessica then gave the recipe to my younger sister Lindsay, who then passed it on to me. Group effort. And I am SO excited to share this recipe with you because it's my new favorite snack. I kind of tweaked the recipe to my liking. So here is my version! (Oh and I think I'm even more excited about these little digital recipe cards than this post! Aren't they totes adorbs?)

Here are the exact ingredients I used. The nuts were from trader joes and were already around 50% salted, so I only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt, rather than 1 whole teaspoon that the original recipe called for.

I used butter rather than coconut oil. Please excuse this unappetizing photo of my butter wad but I really wanted you to see it because I'm so in love with this kerrygold butter that I could marry it.

(My sister Jess turned me onto it and I can never go back to any other butter).

And the original recipe called for coarsely ground nuts. But I smashed them to smithereens with my pampered chef chopper. Because I wanted my granola bars to resemble the store bought Quaker Oats chewy granola bars. Oh and the original recipe also called for walnuts, but we are allergic, so we substituted and used peanuts instead.

Twain's squishy little hand was dying to help. So I threw that sweet lil monster in bed for a nap because he was getting all up in my grill. Plus it was an hour past nap time.

The instructions are so simple, even a 2nd grader could do it.
Finn-boy was a great helper, mixing things for me.

Ok and this is where things get a little hazy because I was induced into a yummy honey coma for a minute and could only come in and out of consciousness to drool and make yummy sounds.

Isn't this the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

It's melted butter, honey and vanilla. It reminded me of butterscotch and caramel, only better.

Just mixed my wet and dry ingredients and plopped it all into a lined pan and that's it!

I licked the gooey mess off my hands and died and went to heaven.

The original recipe called for 30 minutes in the oven, but I did 19 minutes because I know my boys like things chewy! But my older sister likes them crunchier and cooks them for 30 minutes.

And voila! So pretty!

My whole house smelled delish.

Here comes the hard part...testing these granola bars on my picky customers.

My success rate was 3 out of 4. Not too shabby for around here. Finn, my most picky eater, loved them and so I was thrilled. And Ollie and Twain loved them too! I was shocked that Calvin did not like them. He really prefers those fruit filled Nutri-Grain bars, so I blame them entirely. How can I compete? I was so very very upset. I'm crying as I type. Nutri-Grain is now officially DTM.

But with all the joy in the world, I packed one of these precious nuggets into Finn's lunch for the next day, all the while doing a happy dance.
This is what I have been DREAMING to pack in this boy's lunch for a long, long while now. Happy sigh.

And these granola bars are super YUM for you too! I could eat them all myself. Seriously these granola bars make me so giddy, I could sing to them. Ya know, right before I devour them.