Is it just me, or is feeding your family just SO MUCH WORK? Every morning, they wake up, and they want to eat. So I make food, and then I clean it up. Then we repeat the drill every two hours or so. Then, finally, at the end of the day, right around 5 pm, when I feel like I am going to melt into a puddle of desperate exhaustion - they have the audacity to demand yet more food. And every night, I'm like, are you even kidding me right now?!?
So clearly, I have zero suggestions for supper solutions. Look elsewhere for your meal time magic. However. Snacks? I've got a snack that makes at least the eating times between the actual meals an absolute breeze.
Are you ready for this?
The Best Granola Bars Of All Time - Chewy, No-Bake Goodness
These handy little guys are so great to have around for quick and easy grab on the go snacks. They freeze really well, so I always make a double batch. That way I can have one to chop up, put in baggies, and throw straight in the freezer. Pull them out and in a few minutes they will thaw and be ready to go. The recipe below is for one batch, which makes 16 bars in a 9 by 13 pan.
All that being said, I wouldn't exactly call these a health food. They're similar to the Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars. Maybe not super low calorie or whatever, but really, really tasty.
Here's what you're going to need:
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/4 cups oatmeal (I like quick best)
1/4 cup ground flax seed OR wheat bran OR additional oats
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup peanut butter (if you avoid nuts, Sunbutter works fine here)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
First. This recipe only takes about 15 minutes to throw together, which is awesome. However, it's not a great one to do with littles. Most of it is done on the stovetop, and you need to work sort of quickly at the end. So, there ya go.
1. Dump the first 3 ingredients into a big bowl. That last one? Flax seed OR wheat bran OR additional oats? Doesn't matter what you choose. You're the boss. I just use whatever I've got - usually flax. If you happen to have wheat germ, or oat bran - any of these will work. Probably nutritional yeast too? Whatever. Stir em up.
2. In a small pot on the stove, mix the next 3 ingredients. Let them melt together over medium heat. It will take some time - keep a close eye on it and stir it pretty often.
3. Once it starts to boil, set the timer for 2 minutes. Stir and boil until the timer beeps. Don't cut corners here. There's something about the boiling that helps the bars stick together.
4. After the required 2 minutes, take the pot off the heat and stir in the peanut butter and the vanilla. Now here's the deal with the peanut butter. Measuring it is sort of a pain. So I...don't. I seriously hold up the measuring cup and eyeball it. Trust me, it will be fine.
5. Dump the honey mixture in the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir it all up. Keep stirring until everything is evenly coated.
6. Wait about 3 or 4 minutes to let the mixture cool, and then mix in the chocolate chips. Don't wait too long, or it will cool too much and it will all have a hard time sticking together.
7. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 by 13 pan. Want to use cooking spray? Go for it. Want to put your hand in a baggie and dip it into butter and smear it around in the pan? That works too. It's also more fun. ALSO! If you want to, you could use muffin tins, mini muffin tins, or even a melon baller/cookie dough scoop to make these into whatever shape your heart desires. Again, you're the boss
8. Use your hand (the baggie! Use the baggie!) to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Really press it. The goal is to get it all to stick together so that the granola bars don't fall apart.
9. After about an hour, you can cut and eat them. So tasty. Kids love them. Adults love them. You are now a snack time winner.
Okay one last thought - this recipe is based on one I got from a little website you may have heard of called Pinterest (aka How to Spend an Hour of Your Precious Time Feeling Like a Failure) (kidding - sort of). Here are my two big tips for using recipes from blogs:
1. Read the recipe ALL THE WAY THROUGH. I can't tell you how many times I've started a recipe and then realized that it has to be refrigerated for 3 hours before serving, or that the beans need to be soaked overnight, or something else random that means I can't serve it when I thought I was going to.
2. Read ALL of the comments. Even if there are a hundred or more. Wasting time or ingredients is so very frustrating, and sometimes there are super helpful comments that can save you that trouble.
Okay, please let me know if you try these! I bet you will love them!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.