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July 22, 2019

Homemade Nut & Fruit Granola Bars

I've been trying to add more nutrient dense foods to my daily routine.  Because I am a creature of habit, I noticed I had gotten into the habit of not eating foods that were not packed with nutrients.  My typical day looked like Coffee, PBJ for lunch, big huge homemade dinner.  It was starting to mess with my energy and sleep.  It is probably something to do with aging, double ugh.  So, I've been making an effort to thing about nourishing myself more than I had been before.

Breakfast is a huge whole in my day.  I am just not hungry when I wake up.  I used to just go on coffee until about 11am (when the PBJ came in).  Instead, I've been making this granola for the last couple of months.  I pair it with my coffee and a banana, or on top of yogurt with fruit.  To say we're obsessed would be an understatement.  I am obsessed, but Mike is majorly obsessed.  

I tried to pack it with very nutrient heavy things, plus some filling things, plus some taste good things.  You can customize the ingredients to include/exclude whatever you like.  I have never even considered myself a nut person, but I love the nuts in whole because of the crunch and texture.   I'm excited to try more versions for other seasons - maybe adding cinnamon and cranberries for fall?  Or doing a version with some chocolate chips folded in?

It is so filling and satisfying and convent to grab on your way out the door.  I make a big batch and put half in a canister on the counter with some Kraft Treat Bags close by for an easy to-go.  Sometimes I even have them pre-packaged in a Kraft Bag to make it easier to grab.  I put the other half in a ziplock in the freezer to keep it fresh.  I kind of like to eat it frozen too - how weird is that?

Essentials Used :

Large Baking Sheet (Small Baking Sheet for 1/2 batch)
Parchment Paper (essential for keeping the granola from sticking to the pan)
Kitchen Containers (for keeping ingredients organized)
Kraft Treat Bags

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Parchment Paper is a lifesaver for recipes like these.

Here they are packed up in Kraft Treat Bags for an easy breakfast or snack heading out the door.  

Kitchen Containers for keeping ingredients on hand.

Mike's Favorite Granola Bars

4 cups of oats
3 cups of almonds
2 cups of walnuts
1 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of pepitas
1/4 cup of ground flax seeds
1 cup of dried cherries (or cranberries)
5 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of honey
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Preheat oven to 300.

On a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper, place pepitas, oats and nuts, then put them in the oven for 10 minutes to roast, then transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt together butter, brown sugar and honey.  Bring to a medium simmer and let bubble for about 2 minutes.

Pour honey mixture over nut mixture, add flax seeds, sea salt and dried cherries.  Mix together until all coated.  Pour out onto the parchment lined sheet pan and press down with a spoon to pack it together.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool (best a couple of hours or over night), then cut into squares or crumble.

When it is cool, it should lift completely off of the pan with the help of the parchment paper.

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