Over the holidays, my husband watched Bag It, a documentary about plastics. He now has a new passion for eliminating plastic from our life. I already try to limit it, using my own shopping bags, keeping plastic out of the microwave, etc. We don't have a lot in our house, but we do have some. No more. I am tasked with finding replacements. Works for me. It's healthier and more environmentally friendly. The thing is, eliminating it altogether is darn near impossible. Still, I like to see the silver lining. Instead of buying meat at the grocery store, I know have justification for the more-expensive-but-tastier butcher. Yay!
Anyway, the point is that I am really trying to make more things myself. I like to do it anyway, but sometimes I get lazy. This has motivated me to be better about homemade, more homemade. Ironically, even making things at home to skip the plastic (and additives), it still involves plastic. Anyone ever seen a glass food processor? Let me know.
Over the next few weeks, I want to share my go-to recipes for some of our favorite staples. The first one is a must-have around here - granola bars. The hub originally pulled this recipe out of a Family Fun magazine. Original form isn't bad, but it could be improved upon. Who better to do that than moi?
Chewy Granola Bars
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, soy, etc)
1 cup dry milk powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups granola (or any combo of chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts, crispy rice cereal, etc - just get 3 cups dried goods)
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment, and set it aside.
Over medium heat, stir the brown rice syrup and brown sugar together. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for about 30-60 seconds.
Remove from heat and stir in the nut butter, milk powder, and extract. Stir until the nut butter is melted and everything is incorporated well.
In a separate bowl, stir your granola and cinnamon together.
Add the granola to the nut butter mixture. Really get in there and combine this well. You need even distribution for even bars.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly in the pan. I find it easiest to use my hand, but you can use a spoon, spatula, whatever strikes your fancy.
Perhaps you are like me and look for any excuse to add chocolate. If so, now is a good time to sprinkle some chips on top of your flattened bars. This batch has mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Lightly press them into the bars. Set aside, cooling completely before cutting.
Not sure what happened to my fancy finished, cut product picture, but it's gone. I am too lazy to take another and upload it. I am pretty sure you get the idea. At any rate, keep these in an airtight container in the fridge. They are great snacks for 3 year olds, dads, moms. They taste especially yummy with a morning coffee or tea...or afternoon cocoa...or chocolate milk...or before bed...or in the car...on a walk...