I haven't been buying a lot of junk finger foods since we moved. That certainly doesn't mean I haven't been tempted in the grocery store. Even stopped and gave some things a hard look. But I've done a pretty darn good job of resisting. Think money. Think chemicals. Think health! (It's not 100% effective, mind you, but does do the trick most of the time.)
My point is this: I realized that the body's desire to snack is rarely there. As long as I eat a bit of breakfast and a lunch, I'm usually good 'til dinner. Which must mean, at least for me, if it's in the pantry (cupboard, fridge, whatever) I. will. eat. it.
But, ya know, cravings do come. And they've been swirling around me the last several days. I usually have some sort of fruit around, but I eat it with breakfast or lunch. So I didn't want that. I did make myself some popcorn one day, and that was good. But I still wasn't satisfied, and I'm sure you know what the problem was – I wanted something "sweet."
So finally I went through my Pinterest boards to find a homemade granola bar recipe to try. One of those things that's been on the to-do list for some time, but haven't felt the urgency until now.
I settled on some Oatmeal Energy Clusters because I already had all the ingredients, save one. The basic recipe is from The Chew's Clinton Kelly. I just made one addition. You'll need:
- 2 cups quick oats
- 2 tbsp chia and/or flax seed mixture (I use Decadent Blend Chia & Flax Seed with Coconut & Cocoa)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used minis)
- 2/3 cup shredded coconut (try to get unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
Now. If you follow Clinton Kelly's recipe, you would put the mixture in the fridge for a while, pull it out and roll pieces (roughly 1-inch in size) into balls.
I knew that would not work for me. Popping a 1-inch "cluster" in my mouth would not result in a craving satisfied. I know that's my brain talking, but it doesn't matter. I need more than one bite to my snack. If you're like me, you'll want to make bars.
Take something akin to a 9"x9" pan and line it with parchment paper. (I used a toaster oven baking tray that measures 10"x8".) Press the mixture out evenly to the size of the pan. You could add another piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin, if it'll fit. But, again, I just used my hands.
Lift the bottom parchment out of the pan and square off your gonna-be bars, if necessary. The pan was really just a guide. Then let everything dry for at least an hour.
Now it's time to cut the bars. My pizza cutter worked well. I made a single cut down the middle long-ways. Then another cut down the center the opposite way. Then each half (which is quartered) into thirds. Does that even make sense? Lord, help me. Let's just say I got a dozen bars. Each one measured approximately 4-inches by 1 1/2-inches. The image below only shows eleven bars because I ate one already! (She sheepishly grins.)
Another good thing about these bars, in addition to requiring more than one bite to eat, is they are relatively healthy. They're full of fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, including Vitamin E. Chia and flax seeds also add Omega-3. You can also customize them even more. Maybe add dried fruits or nuts. Go crazy with it!
These bars should last about a week in a sealed container on the counter. You could put them in the fridge to extend the shelf life a bit. Give them a try! Real food with no added chemicals is a good, good thing. From my mountaintop to yours.
Shared at Art of Home-Making Mondays, Homemade Mondays, The Homemaking Party, Thrifty Thursday, Happiness is Homemade, Coffee and Conversation, Wonderful Wednesday, From the Farm, and Tuesdays with a Twist.
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