Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Granola Bars

 Happy Wednesday everyone!  I am feeling pretty happy as I tackle another project.  Yes you heard  me, another project.  I am revamping our menu for the coming fall.  I am tired of it and although our recipes are tried and true, I feel like there is room for improvement and well we need a change.

Man, it is super hard to feed everyone a lunch or snack that they like.  I feel satisfied if we get it 95% right.  Meaning only a few children don't like what we are serving.  I have come to the realization after taking hours and I mean HOURS out of my weekend time to make fish sticks from scratch that there are things worth spending the time on and some not so much.  I was telling a parent this morning after watching the majority of the home made fish sticks I made go in the compost I was done spending my Saturdays making those from scratch.  Yes I know about bad oils and trans fats and  fish that isn't sustainably caught.  You have to cut me some slack, because I just reached my limit on that one.  It's painful to watch $80.00 worth of beautiful fish go in the compost.  So we are back to the store bought kind.  My only consolation in all that is that it is served up with home made potato wedges and a healthy side of raw veggies.  At the end of the day, waste is a problem but greater then that are the cranky children with hungry tummies.
 Here is where I think I can redeem myself though.  Home made Granola Bars!!  I have been on a bit of a journey with food since March.  My daughter can not have refined sugar at all.  Actually, do you know how bad that stuff is for you?  Holy cow, I had no idea.  A little bit of knowledge is a powerful thing.  I think because it is made from scratch we are good but I really never stopped to look at the sugar in some of our home made things.  That has changed for me.
 At the end of the school year I end up with many chapters gift cards.  I really love this teacher gift and I never get tired of it.  I go and get all the books on my wish list that I have complied during the year.  One of those books was a cook book titled, The Oh She glows Cookbook.  I can not even begin to explain how life changing this cook book is.  Not only are the recipes really good and tasty but the it makes me feel a million times better knowing I have some great alternatives when it comes to meals and snacks.

Every year we have children that come into the program will allergies.  That is fast becoming a greater challenge.  More and more children are coming to us with significant allergies.  Life or Death allergies.  No gluten, milk, eggs, nuts, legumes and the list goes on.  One year we had eight children each with a different allergy or food sensitivity.  I try so hard to rise to these challenges.  In-fact I love them because I get to come up with something different.  What I don't love is making 4 or 5 different lunches and the stress that comes with making sure they get out to the correct children and we are not making anyone feel different.

So Granola Bars or Glo Bars as Angela calls them.  They are vegan.  They are raw and they are so incredibly tasty.  Who knew?  Lat night I made two batches at home to test run them and today I made a batch at Maple Tree.  They honestly take no time to make and they are super good for your children.  They are made with chia seeds, oats, sunflower seeds, dairy free chocolate chips, sun-butter and brown rice syrup (Brown Rice syrup it amazing and really low on the glycemic index).
 You are buy all these ingredients in the health food section of the grocery store or the Bulk Barn.


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup rise crisp cereal
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup sun butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


    Line 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, rice cereal, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt.  In small saucepan, stir brown rice syrup and peanut butter together until combined. Cook over medium heat until mixture softens and bubbles slightly around edges, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour sun butter mixture over oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape it all out of the pan.    Stir together well with large metal spoon until all of the oat mixture is coated in almond butter mixture.Stir together well with large metal spoon until all of the oat mixture is coated in almond butter mixture.  If you decide to use chocolate chips, let mixture cool a little before folding them in to keep from melting.  Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Using spatula, press down mixture firmly to compact. The harder you press and more evenly you spread the mixture, the better the bars hold together. You can use your fingers to press down the edges. Place dish in freezer and chill for 10 minutes or so, until firm. {If you have more time, you can just put them in the fridge and cut them when you are ready to eat.}  Using the parchment paper as handles, lift the mixture out of the pan and place on cutting board.  Slice square into 5 or 6 rows using pizza roller {or knife} and then slice them in half to make 10 to 12 bars total.  Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze for up to 1 month.  ~Enjoy!

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