In this day and age that is filled with fear of additives, food dye, organic/not organic, local/not local, trans fats and corn syrup (and with good reason, folks!), it is a wonder that we don’t become completely paralyzed when it comes to grocery shopping. Sometimes grocery shopping takes forever simply because I spend so much time label reading and comparing. Ugg. I think it matters even more now that I have kids. I worry what I am allowing them to eat, what they are putting into their bodies, what those foods are DOING to those bodies, etc.
One great go-to snack is granola bars. They are easily thrown into a bag, quickly eaten, and can hit the spot mid-way through the day. Yet, there are so many BAD granola bars out there claiming to be good for you! I found a few brands that meet my standards, but they can get pretty pricey. So, a few years ago, when I stumbled upon a homemade granola bar recipe, I was pretty darn excited: a go-to snack that I can control the ingredients of AND I can get many of the ingredients bulk for a small price. Healthy AND frugal? SCORE!
After experimenting with a few batches, I am really happy with the current recipe I use. I’ve boosted it up with flax seeds, wheat germ and other items. When I posted about this recipe on my blog, I did a follow up post regarding the nutrition of the ingredients – you should check it out. Not only are they cost-savvy and healthy – they taste AWESOME. My husband and daughter prefer these hands down to any store- bought bar. They pack a mean punch, and can keep you full most of the morning if you eat them for breakfast (or give you a pick-me-up if you eat them as a mid-afternoon snack).
1/2 cup raw unsalted Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup raw unsalted Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup of raw unsalted SLICED Almonds
1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 cup Golden Flax Seeds
1 cup Honey
3 TBS Blue Agave Nectar
3 TBS Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
1 TBS Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Dried Fruit, chopped (My FAVE combo is pineapple and papaya)
Preheat oven to 350º
Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. On a baking sheet (with sides – this is imperative), spread the oats, seeds, nuts and wheat germ (first 6 ingredients) and toast in oven for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Once they are toasted, turn oven down to 300º and remove from oven. During the toasting, combine the honey, nectar, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted.
In a separate bowl, combine the oat mixture and the liquid mixture, adding the dried fruit and cinnamon. Combine so that the mixture is moist. Turn the mixture onto the glass baking dish and press down, evenly distributing the mixture in the dish.
Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Remove, cool, cut. Can be stored in an airtight for up to a week.