Another favorite snack of hers is cereal. She's a total cereal monster! She likes all kinds of cereal but she is particularly fond of Honey Nut Cheerios. Again, I think it's the mix of the sweetness of the honey with the healthiness of the nuts and oats that appeals to her.
This past year I became more conscious of the kinds of foods that I prepare or purchase for my family to enjoy. Through my Mothers Only Book Club group, I read The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollen. This was a popular title up for discussion among many of the mom/food bloggers I follow. If you've not yet read the book, it does offer some interesting insight into the foods that we as Americans consume regularly. The book chronicles the journey of four meals - an industrial meal from a fast food restaurant, an industrial organic meal from ingredients found at Whole Foods, a local sustainable meal from food grown from grass in a local area, and a do-it-yourself meal from hunted, gathered, and gardened food. Many of the bloggers ran challenges for themselves and their followers to abandon the fast food industry and move toward consuming more organic, sustainable, or self grown/gathered/hunted foods. It was interesting to read their journeys and learn right along with them as they pledged to incorporate more healthy habits into their daily lives.
I like to consider myself more of a middle of the road kind of a person rather than an extremist, so some of the ideas in the books and on the websites seemed a little out there for me. However, I'm always up for baby steps towards improving the health of my family. I would like to decrease the amount of processed sugars that we consume. I would like to buy less pre-packaged snacks. I would like to find simple, budget friendly recipes that I can make and share with others.
So, when I saw this recipe for "No Bake 5 Ingredient Granola Bars" in the 2011Top Ten Recipe Roundup post by momonamission.me, I decided to check it out. You can see the post about her version of homemade granola bars here: http://momonamission.me/?p=2175.
After reading her recipe, I decided that the recipe fit my criteria - it was budget friendly, easy to fix, and would match the tastes of my family. Like always, I decided to change it up a bit to fit what I had in the pantry and also combine two of the 8 year old's favorite snack ingredient components - Honey Nut Cheerios and chocolate chips. The 8 year old and I whipped up a batch of these tasty snacks in less than 10 minutes. She gave them two wiggly thumbs up as did the 7 year old neighbor boy who came over to ask her to play.
Here's what you need from your pantry:
And here's the recipe:
No Bake Honey Nut Granola Bars
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/3 cup chocolate chips
In a medium saucepan, mix the brown sugar and honey. Heat and stir until boiling. (You want all the sugar crystals to dissolve). Remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the cereal and oats and mix until all the cereal is covered. Press into a greased 9x13 pan. (Use a spatula to press the mixture down somewhat firmly). Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the top and press them in slightly so that they still retain their chip shape. Cool. Cut into bars and enjoy.
**The bars will stay fresh in a sealed container in the pantry for 3-4 days. I would suggest cutting them and putting them into a smaller container to save space. Separate the layers of bars with wax paper so they don't stick to each other.
**You can also freeze the cut bars. Place them in a container, separating the layers with wax paper. They are difficult to eat frozen, so allow enough time for them to thaw. We have taking one out in the morning as we pack lunches and it's perfect by mid-morning snacktime at school.
Here's the finished product:
(Sorry for the glare on the plate; I have some work to do on my food photography skills!)
|Sorry Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars, but I think the days |
of your presence in our pantry may be coming to an end!
We brainstormed a list of other flavor combinations that would be tasty. We can't wait to share those with you in the weeks to come. In the meantime, whip up a batch of these healthy, homemade treats. You'll get two wiggly thumbs up from your hungry snackers!
How can you make one of your family's favorite snacks just a little bit healthier?