Homemade Granola Bars

Late last summer, as we were preparing for our oldest to enter kindergarten, I started making some intentional shifts in how and what we eat. I knew I would be sending a packed lunch every day for him (and eventually two more behind him) and I wanted to avoid sending prepackaged goods in those lunches. So, I began making changes in what we buy and started making a lot of things at home with better ingredients.

While I like being in the kitchen, the reality is that life is busy so I’m all about healthier homemade items that can still be quick to grab and go. This granola bar recipe is one that I’ve had for years but I made changes to take out the refined sugars and add some healthier options.

These make school mornings easy because they freeze great. When I make a batch, I take what we don’t immediately gobble up and freeze them. That way I can just grab one out of the freezer in the morning, throw it in our son’s bag and it is ready to go by lunch time.

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Ingredients:

• 2 cups oats (I use Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats – wheat free/gluten free)
• 3/4 cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
• 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1 cup sliced raw almonds
• 1/2 cup coconut sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 4 TBSP butter
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• dried fruit of your choice (about a cup)

ingredients

Directions:

Prepare a 9″x13″ glass baking dish for your granola bars by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray (I use a coconut oil spray). Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix together oats, flaxseed meal, sunflower seeds and almonds. Spread into large pan and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

In a saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, honey, butter, vanilla and salt. Melt together on low/medium heat and stir continually.

Remove oat mixture from oven and pour back into bowl.
Add melted mixture to bowl and stir everything together.
If you are adding dried fruit or anything else, add at this time
(some ideas are cranberries, raisins, coconut flakes, etc).

Carefully (as bowl will be hot) spoon the granola mixture onto the sprayed wax paper in your baking dish. Press firmly, packing everything down tightly.
(I do this with a piece of wax paper on top of the bars and use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down)

Let bars cool for at least an hour.
Then pick up sides of wax paper and lift the large pressed granola piece out of baking dish. Using a knife, cut your granola into whatever size pieces you like.

I typically get at least 18 bars.
Enjoy!

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