One thing about me that has always been true, I love food! Now, I cannot be put into either the health foodie or junk foodie box; this may sound strange, but I am (almost) as equally obsessed over both of them. In any given day in my kitchen you could find homemade yogurt setting in my cooler, bread rising in the oven and vegetables chopped on the counter for our dinner; however, you will also find me and my husband chowing down on bowls of ice cream after the kids are in bed (many nights don’t go by where I don’t have something sweet, however small), and don’t put a bag of chips and dip in front of my and expect to have any leftovers!
My food love is something I really enjoy, I like cooking shows, cookbooks, food blogs and menu planning for my family. I thought I could share this love with you. I will from time to time (no promises of once a week, or anything like that, we’ll just kinda see how it goes) post recipes that I just discovered or favorites that are my go to’s when I need ’em.
Anyways, having a toddler has really motivated me to find creative ways of getting healthy ingredients into his little active and wiggly body. He does not like to sit still for very long and would rather “eat on the go.” I still do try to have him at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but there is no telling how much real food he will ingest as he’s using his fork as a rocket, asking a billion times if he can blow out the candles or imitating Houdini climbing out of his chair. He also has an incurable sweet tooth, so healthy options are not always his top choice.
So last week for the first time I tried my hand at homemade granola bars. The ones in the store are so often laden with sugar that I felt like I was feeding him a candy bar instead of real food. Enter a more healthy option made with ingredients I often have on hand; whole wheat flour, oats, banana (I always have an abundance of over-ripe ones in my freezer), and peanut butter. There is only a quarter cup of sweetener, I’ve used both honey and brown sugar and I’m guessing maple syrup would work too. I bake it in a 9 x 13 inch pan and then once cooled cut into bars and individually wrap. They are also completely customize-able with mix-in’s. Whatever you have on hand works! All this together makes for one soft, chewy goodness that my toddler loves (I admit, I like them too and they make great on-the-go snacks).
Banana Peanut Granola Bars
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats (I have only used old fashion)
1 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice, such as brown sugar)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mix-in’s (such as craisins, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, etc)
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9×13 pan with parchment or foil, having edges hanging over for easy removal of bars. Lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients. In a second bowl mash bananas and add sweetener, yogurt, peanut butter and vanilla. Whisk until fairly smooth.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients until they are uniformly mixed. Fold in mix-in’s of choice.
- Transfer to prepared pan and flatten lightly with hands or back of spoon.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for soft chewy bars and up to 30 for slightly firmer bars.
- Allow bars to completely cool and then remove from pan and cut into 16-20 bars. Wrap individually if desired.
Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (one of my favorite food blogs).