8/18/15 Homemade Granola Bars

Power Bars for School Snack..

Today was Eli’s second day of school. Yesterday I packed him a snack but he had some trouble with it, so today I did not pack him one. I regret doing that. Picking him up today, his teacher told me to pack a snack for him each day, because the kids do get hungry. I am so new to him being in school I was not sure, but I will never make that mistake again.

I am now going to make a full effort to have a baked snack for Eli, and some dried and fresh fruit for him everyday. I am excited now to keep up the responsibility of taking care of his snack time. I am fairly good at feeding him throughout the day, so I do know his favorite snacks. I now feel like I could definitely earn some ‘mom’s cool’ points, if I pack him a great snack each day for school now. And maybe we can even have some fun baking them together.

Today when he got home, I went through my cooking journal for my master granola bar recipe. I was counting on packing the most nutritional punch that I could into a hand held bar, with the minimal ingredients that I had on hand. I had some banana flour, some flax meal, peanut butter and a can of kidney beans, also some brown sugar, maple syrup, and a whole lot of dried fruit. I knew I could do something good. I will list the recipe at another time. its in my protein bar post.

I stuck with the recipe (in the beginning) and even had to go out and buy a cup and a half of oats.

Here is the ingredients I used for the master protein bar recipe. I used a 1 pound can of beans, drained and rinsed, ½ a cup binder-I used peanut butter, ¼ of a cup sweetener; I used a combination of sugars and maple syrup, ¼ cup soft sweet fruit; I used canned pumpkin puree from my neighbor, 1 teaspoon extract; I used vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon dry spice; I used a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg, (should have used more, you cannot taste them), ¼ of teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cups of oats; I went out and got some in bulk for 40 cents, 1 cup dry base; I used a combination of flax meal and banana flour, and finally one cup stir ins; I used golden raisins, chopped dried dates, and cranberries.

I started by draining and rinsing the beans, and mashing them up. I combined them with the peanut butter, until they were mixed smoothly. My recipe notes did not say to use kidney, in fact, it listed just about every other kind of bean but kidney, but I used it anyways. I figured if I added enough other flavors the taste of the beans would get lost. I incorporated them together and set the bowl aside. It was a crumbly texture and I think that could have been a huge problem for the recipe.. it was supposed to be the wet component of the bars.

I kept going anyways. I mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; the banana flour, the flax meal and the oats, and even added some brown sugar for good measure. I then crumbled in the peanut butter-bean mixture to the dry ingredients. It was really dry, but I thought it would work. I then added the pumpkin, I thought it would really help, so I added more then it called for. I also added a teaspoon or two of maple syrup at this point. I added in the mix in’s and pressed ½ into a lined pan, and baked it. I put it in at 350 for like 18 min.

Earlier when I got this peanut butter, I drained the layer of top oil, so thing is, I think my peanut butter was too dry. It was like a homemade pie crust mix without the water…if you can understand that. =)

I baked the first pan, then when 15-20 minutes went by, I took it out to inspect and cool. Then put the other dry pan in the heated oven. After about 10 minutes of cooling, I went to cut the ‘granola bar’ and figured out, it never set.. so really it was just really good, dry, floury toasted granola.

I wanted to cry, but my bakers instinct got a hold of me. I knew exactly what it needed. Wet stuff, more binder, for that peanut butter was drained of its oil. I grabbed the little jar of peanut oil that I drained from it the other day, grabbed some eggs, and some water. I took the second pan out at the same 15 minute mark, so I would have the same toasted oat consistency. In fact my mistake, may have toasted the oats better.

I poured the first cooled pan into the mixing bowl, it was still dry as all heck, so I added half the oil, an egg, some more maple syrup, and a teaspoon or two of water. It mixed up really well, the flour, just wanted that moisture and I knew it was going to bake better. I relined the pan, a 9×13 each, and poured and pressed them back in. I baked again and this time, they stuck together. I was able to cool them and cut them like granola bars. Elijah loves them.

I asked him if they were good for a snack at school, and he replied,

“Yes, mom. I love granola bars!”

I am just happy, that I got it to work! I am so happy that I did not waste any ingredients. I used the last of my flax meal, and my banana flour, and most of my dates, and half of my golden raisins for this! I did not want it to go bad, I wanted a great power bar to get my son through his day at school.

I am pretty happy with the results, I will now be looking for more cans of beans and all the ingredients to make this every week. I want to either have a homemade granola bar, or muffin each day for him. I would be happy if I could stuff a whole bunch of ‘good for you’ ingredients into his baked good snacks each day, and I am starting strong with these. I will be happy if when we pick him up later, he says he enjoyed his homemade snacks.

I did get one picture of the bulk amount of most of them, besides the three I packed for his snack today. I will try and get better pictures when I charge my camera. I cannot locate my charger.

homemade bars
homemade bars

I also made homemade taco seasonings for tacos for dinner. I combined a whole lot of paprika and salt and pepper and a little bit of cayenne pepper and it worked really well!

Here are a picture of some tacos.

leftover tacos
leftover tacos
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