Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oatmeal Snack Bars

As a working mom, I'm always on the go...which means I don't always have time to sit down for a snack.  Usually I grab some kind of granola or protein bar.  But how healthy are these?  You have to be very careful reading the labels.  You would be shocked to see how much fat and sugar they put in to some of those things.  I never really thought about making my own until I came across this recipe on a popular food blog.  The recipe, for Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars, is from Kath Eats Real Food.  This is a great blog!  If you don't already follow it...you should!  This is a great base recipe for making your own on-the-go granola bars.  There are literally tons of variations!  I have so many I want to try but here is a look at my first attempt:

You'll notice the recipe calls for a variety of nuts, seeds and dried fruits.  Here are the ones I chose: dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and toasted walnuts.  Here is how I toasted the walnuts:
Heat a tablespoon each of oil, water and honey in a skillet over medium heat.  
Add in two cups of chopped, shelled walnuts and stir to coat.  Allow to toast, stirring frequently, for about 3-4 minutes, just until they start turning a golden bronze-like color.  
Turn off the heat, and spread the walnuts on a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool.  Once cool, you can then chop them up and put them in your recipe!
I love they way the dry ingredients look all mixed up....the dark cranberries really pop out at you!
Add your wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.  The mixture will be a bit soppy but that's okay!
Place your mixture in a parchment lined pan.  Here I used a 10 x 10 cake pan, but you can use whatever size.  Just remember, the bigger the pan, the thinner your bars will be.
Then bake at 350 F for about 45-50 minutes, until the bars are set.  Then cut into squares and wrap in plastic wrap so you can grab them and go when you need to!
If you are traveling this holiday season, and have some long car rides planned, these would make great snacks to take along!  Much healthier than anything a gas station could serve up!  And there are so many combinations you could do...you could even throw some chocolate chips in there!  So easy, a domestically inept person can do it!

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