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Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Grab-worthy" granola bars! New recipe!

I don’t know who invented the term “lazy days of summer,” but it certainly doesn’t apply in our house!  Having the kids around more is great, but we’re all just so busy.  I can’t remember being this busy growing up, but I guess I was once I hit the teenage years.  Work and friends and running around – there aren’t enough hours in these long, hot days!

The other thing there isn’t enough of, apparently, is food in the house.  I feel like all I do is grocery shop.  And I’m going broke with the ever-growing price of groceries.  I had just returned from the store and was putting away the groceries when….

Courtney: “I’m hungry.”
Me: “The pantry and fridge are full!  Make yourself a snack.”
Courtney: “But what is there?  I don’t know what to have.”
Taylor (walking in the door from work): “We need ‘grab food.’”

Grab food.  Hmmmm.  I guess my suggestions to “cook a chicken breast, boil an egg or make a salad” weren’t quite what they were expecting.  So I perused the overflowing pantry in search of “grab food.”   Turns out they’re right….sort of.  I’m always in favor of self-sufficiency, so I don’t take well to blank stares or “I don’t know how,” when I suggest making a sandwich or cutting up an apple.  However, I do appreciate that sometimes you just want something you can grab and eat on the run, throw in your purse, etc.

Granola bars!  They’re supposed to be healthy, right?  I can just keep a bunch of granola bars on hand and they can pair it with fruit for a healthy snack.  That will be our “grab food” for these types of emergency appetite flare-ups.  Back to the store I went.

I could not believe it.  $5.49 for a box of 6 tiny granola bars.  SIX.  Six will last a day in our house.  The grocery budget I try to live by isn’t going to support this “grab food” habit, I can tell already.  Well at least they’re healthy, right?  I try to ignore for a second that they’re covered in chocolate as I turn the box around…fiber, a little bit of protein, not too high calories….some brands pretty high in sugar….an ingredient list a mile long, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated stuff.  Urg.  And they’re $5.49 for SIX!  And the “healthier” they get, the more expensive they get.  Guess this will be my next challenge!

I set out to create a granola bar that’s tasty, filling and wholesome.  I wanted to make it from whole grains and include some sources of protein and fiber.  Here we go.

Me: “I made homemade granola bars!  Try them!”
Keith: “They’re missing something.”
Me: “I know.  Taste.”
Keith: “Well, they’re perfect for dieters.  No one will be tempted to eat two!”

OK then.  I’m now on experiment recipe number four, and I’m happy to say that we have a winner!  These granola bars taste just like banana bread – seriously!  Here are the stats: 125 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 3.5 grams of protein and only 8.5 grams of sugar (and nearly 1/3 of that is from fruit and rolled oats).  AND, they’re only $0.25 each -- roughly $2.00 for the whole batch of EIGHT!

I’ll be experimenting with these!  I can’t wait to try pumpkin instead of banana, add some natural peanut butter or throw in some mini-chocolate chips or chopped nuts.  The possibilities are endless, so I’ll let you know what I come up with.  In the meantime, try these.  So easy, so healthy, so affordable – so “grab-worthy!”

TSG Banana Bread Granola bars...grab this!
“Banana Bread” Granola Bars
Makes 8 bars

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp honey
1 egg white
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend (divided)
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp milled flax seed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients through brown sugar, saving 1 tsp of brown sugar for the top.  Mix oats and flax seed in a separate bowl, then add to liquids.  Stir well to combine, then press into small baking pan with sides (misted with cooking spray) or simply form into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle on a cookie sheet (also misted with cooking spray) -- it will hold its shape.  Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes.  Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing. 

Give ‘em a whirl and let me know what you think!  Also, if you have more ideas for healthy “grab food,” I’m all ears!

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html.  I challenge you to eat with me for a month – you’ll love the results!


Anonymous said...

These sound great can't wait to try them out! I have a 3 year old health nut that loves to cook with me :)

Anonymous said...

Just made these, my kids loved them. I put in a hand full of chocolate chips.

Anonymous said...

Would like to make this form my son (who has multiple allergies) I'm still learning how to substitute etc. I'm just wondering what you think I could sub the egg white for?

Anonymous said...

Would like to make this form my son (who has multiple allergies) I'm still learning how to substitute etc. I'm just wondering what you think I could sub the egg white for?

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Hello! Honestly, just try leaving the egg white out completely. I put it in there to help them stick together, but it isn't adding any flavor. They may be more crumbly, but they'll still taste the same! Good luck -- let us know how it goes! =)

AngieZ said...

Found these on Pinterest! Just made them, and they are awesome:) I will use the base liquid and bananas and try adding something, maybe blueberries, raisins, walnuts would be good. Thanks so much.

Melissa said...

Not a banana fan... Could I use peanut butter instead?

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Worth a try! I've also had great success with chopped apples. Let me know what you try!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Splenda..what could be substituted?

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Well, you could always try a stevia-based sweetener or a smaller amount of real sugar (to keep calories in check). To increase the sweetness, add raisins or another type of dried fruit or coconut!