Friday, June 25, 2010

Yummy Homemade Granola Bars

I've tried a lot of granola bar recipes since we started this natural eating adventure and these have been by far the closest to the chewy store-bought kind. This has now become a staple in our home with two young kiddos snacks are a must. I have made a few changes to make it a little more healthy but it hasn't changed the taste or the texture. They freeze well so you can make a double or triple batch and have enough for a month.

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
original from

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup dehydrated sugar cane (use more for a sweetness like most purchased bars or use less for a mildly sweet bar) I use 1/2 and it tastes sweet to me.
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed until finely ground in a blender, if using flax stick the flax in the blender too.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits, nuts and seeds
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp melted coconut oil or melted butter (sometimes I use half butter half coconut oil)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp raw honey or grade B maple syrup
1 tbsp water

1. Pre- heat oven to 350 degree's
2. Mix all dry ingredient's together
3. I like to stick the fruits and nuts into the food processor to make them bit size
4. Melt the coconut oil or butter in a sauce pan and melt. As soon as it has almost melted put in the honey and peanut butter stir until combined. *
5. Mix the wet and dry ingredient's together until well combined.
6. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper, or tin foil, use enough so that the liner comes up over the short sides of the pan making a sling.
7. If using tin foil butter the bottom and sides.
8. Put your mixture into the pan and push down using a spatula or plastic rap.
9. Bake in oven for 25 - 30 minutes, the top should be brown.
10. Remove from oven and put onto a cooling rack. Leave the granola bars in the pan for 20 minutes.
11. Use your sling to take the granola bar out of the pan and put them on the cooling rack. Wait until they are cool then use a serrated knife to cut into bars.
12. Store in an air tight container in the frig.

*It has taken me a while to get the hang of working with coconut oil because when it cools down its turns solid again. So for these I melt the coconut oil, honey, and peanut butter in a pan it seems to stabilize the oil. It also makes the bars chewy. Coconut oil melts at 70 degrees so if you use raw honey it's not heating the raw honey so much that it breaks down the minerals. If you are using butter this is not needed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Year's Experiment

I wanted to see just how much food we could grow on our lot.  We live on less them 1/8th of an acre and our house takes up a good part of the lot. But even though it's small with some thinking we have managed to fit 4 chickens, 4 semi dwarf fruit trees, 5 types of berries and a whole lot of veggies. Not to leave out many herbs, flowers and a place for my two kidos to play. I'm here to encourage you, even if all you have is a patio, balcany or a small space by your front door there is a way to provide some healthy, fresh and organic produce for yourself and family. Even if its just herbs on your counter or by your front door.

When I was trying to decide what and how much to grow I asked myself some questions:
What do we eat the most?
What do we eat the most of out of the dirty dozen?
What do I want to can and preserve?
Do I really want try cucumbers again? (I have the worst luck with them)

After all those questions were answered I sat down and researched things like:
How many tomato pants I need to grow in order to make salsa, tomato soup, tomato sauce to last until next harvest?
What kind of tomato's are best for these types of recipes?
This is just an example of the research I did on each veggie I wanted to grow. In my mind that is the only good thing about winter it gives me time to figure out what new thing to try in my garden in the spring.

Next I figured out just how much space I had by measuring my spaces and making and drawing a plan of each spot. I used the square foot gardening book to figure out how much space each veggie needed.
In my next post I will show you some pictures of what we did with our small city lot.

You can find a list of what I'm planting and some pictures of our garden here.