You just can't trust what's in food these days. Chemicals, hormones, additives, and crazy DNA that shouldn't be there. I try to cook from scratch as much as possible for my day to day cooking so I know what goes into my food. A lot of store-bought granola bars claim to be healthy and natural, but they're anything but.
More and more, I am trying to use organic as much as possible in my everyday cooking, which are things we eat on a regular basis. I am very limited in my rural area and yes, organic items cost a lot, but I do try. So if you want to really up the healthy aspect of these, use organic ingredients. I was excited to see some organic Smucker's natural peanut butter the other day.
PS. Mississippi Kitchen is getting a makeover and a brand new home. We have been feverishly working behind the scenes to make this happen, and by we I mean the person I have hired to do all this tedious work. Stay with me please because some good things are coming soon. (Like a recipe index, hallelujah!) I am still here, alive, and cooking up a storm, but trying to hold off a lot of blogging until my transfer is done. You understand, don't you? I *knew* you would. :)
Here are my notes:
--I use both almond butter and peanut butter. If I make them with almond butter, I use chopped almonds, and if I make them with peanut butter, I use chopped walnuts. Both of these nut butters will require stirring before measuring.
--I leave the nuts raw because I have read they are better for you this way. I LOVE the flavor of toasted nuts, but this is a great way to get my share of raw nuts since I don't love eating raw nuts plain.
--I am sure you could use whole oats. I just usually have quick oats on hand.
--I try to use raw, unprocessed honey which is so much better for you.
--Press the mixture in tightly with the back of a spatula or you can even use the bottom of a measuring cup.
--The chia seeds. Yes, they are weird but very nutritious. They form a gel like substance around them when they get wet. It's strange.
--I have found the easiest way to wrap these is to stick one in a cheap sandwich bag and fold it over, the kind that are not zip lock (because you would use too many and that would be expensive), but fold over instead. I think they are sold about a 150 to a box.
Chewy Peanut Butter or Almond Granola Bars
5 cups quick oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups chopped raw walnuts or almonds
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup honey (preferably raw organic)
6 heaping tablespoons natural style peanut butter or almond butter (preferably organic)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, chia seeds, and nuts.
- Place the butter, honey, peanut butter or almond butter, brown sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until melted and smooth, whisking often.
- Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir well. Line a 13 x 9 inch metal pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Press the mixture well into the bottom of the pan using a spatula.
- Freeze for several hours before cutting into squares. I like wrap these individually and store them in the freezer. They can be eaten cold or brought to room temperature.