First order of busines… our Giveaway of an Allerbling Medical Alert bracelet for kids with food allergies has ended. And the winner (drawn using random.org), is… comment #4, Jennifer K! Congrats Jennifer!
“I have had my eye on this for my 5 year old son. He has multiple food allergies and will be going to camp this summer – this would be a perfect way to help remind camp staff exactly what his allergens are. It looks fun and waterproof too – extra pluses for camp!”
So excited for her son to be able to use this at camp. I hope it will be a great reminder for his camp staff and that he has a wonderful time!
The second order of business. Granola bars! My husband, aka the Gentle Giant (he’s 6’7″), is a very active man who could easily put away 5000-6000 calories a day and not gain an ounce. He needs food and lots of it to keep him going every day. Well, his work often makes it so that he doesn’t have much time to eat, or he’s out hiking and can’t bring much with him. So – he likes to have easy, accessible and filling snacks that he can take with him. Enter, the granola bar.
So – a few weeks ago, we went to our local natural food store, and he proceeded to pick out a couple dozen different bars to test. He was looking for good flavor, texture, but most important the ability to keep him going. Well, besides the massive chunk out of the grocery budget, I hate to say that none of them passed the test. If they tasted good, they didn’t keep his energy up very long. Others just weren’t big enough. Some tasted nasty, others didn’t stick together very well, or had a weird texture.
So – we sat down and came up with his criteria for a granola bar, and then I tried to devise a recipe that might work. I had made some granola previously that he really liked the flavor of, so I based my bars somewhat off of that recipe. He wanted something that was packed with protein, good fats and would keep him going with energy. He wanted the flavors to meld, no large pieces of fruit or nuts sticking out, and he wanted it to be easy to carry with him. Couldn’t crumble or fall apart in his pocket. That would make it a lot harder to eat on the run.
I am happy to say that I succeeded, and that even his co-workers were impressed. Now, before you see the recipe, know that this is a quite time-consuming recipe, but it produces massive amounts of bars, which is what I needed, because I don’t want to be making this every couple weeks. Maybe once every couple months!
The Gentle Giant’s Granola Bars
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together the following until well combined:
- 2 c. GF oats
- 2 c. quinoa flakes
- 1 c. chopped walnuts
- 1 c. chopped pecans
- 1 c. chopped almonds
- 1 c. unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. flax seeds
- 1/2 c. chia seeds
Divide mixture into 2 large roasting pans (or 9×13). Toast in oven about 30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Stir every 5-10 minutes, more often as you get closer to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together the following until well combined:
- 1 c. chopped dried apricots
- 1 c. chopped dried cranberries
- 1 c. chopped dried cherries
- 1/2 c. chia seed meal (I grind mine in an old coffee grinder)
- 1/4 c. flax meal
- 2 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Once nut mixture is toasted, mix the nuts and fruit mixture together in a very large bowl. Line one roasting pan with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, mix the following and bring to a rolling boil, let boil 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly:
- 3/4 c. raw honey
- 3/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/4 c. maple syrup
- 1/3 c. grapeseed oil
- 1/3 c. coconut oil
Remove from heat and let cool about 3-5 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp vanilla. Pour over fruit/nut mixture and stir to coat well. Press mixture into pan.
Now, there are two options. If you like chewy granola bars, place this in refrigerator for about 1-2 hours until cool. Cut into bars to your liking (I made different sizes, small ones for me and big ones for the gentle giant). If you like crunchy bars (that fall apart a little more if you are rough with them), bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the top is just golden brown. Cut and enjoy!