Friday, March 18, 2011

Lenten From-Scratch #1

Granola Bars! 

Ross and I have our first overnight field trip with the Mountaineers this weekend to Pine and Cedar Lakes, so it was the perfect time to make the classic on-the-trail snack - from scratch! 

This is perhaps the simplest from-scratch I have ever tried, and I am absolutely stymied as to why I hadn't ever done this before. Now I know - and will never go back! PLUS, the combinations are endless, which means I can be creative and use whatever we have around the kitchen. And like I always say - when you make it yourself YOU control the ingredients. Any diet/allergy/moral concerns SOLVED. 

These are No-Bake Granola Bards from Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Basic recipe that I used, with substitution suggestions for your own pantry and creative desires. 

3/4 cup honey (or agave)  
1/2  cup almond butter (or any nut butter, or brown sugar) 
1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed 
3 cups crunchy granola (or 2 cups granola and 1 cup _____, i.e. dried fruit, chopped nuts, etc.) 

Side note - I was stoked to find local honey from Guilmette's Busy Bees IN A HONEY BEAR!!!!! 

To make, but not bake: 

Mix the honey, almond butter and oil in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. 

Do you ever measure out honey and start to hate your life? I used to! A couple tips: if the recipe calls for the same amount of oil and honey, measure out the oil first, then it coats the measuring cup and the honey will come right out - like magic!

 If not, then use a heavy duty clip on the handle of the pan and let gravity do the work without you. 

Then add the granola (and I threw in some chocolate chips too) into the pan and mix to coat. 

Press the mixture into a 9 x 9 or similar dish and let it cool in the fridge. 

Cut up in desired shape, and they are good for about 4-5 days! If they last that long...

SOOOO great - can't wait to try other combinations! 

I have been wanting to make my own granola bars ever since my friend Brandi made them as part of a project in our graduate program. Last fall, we all had to temporarily change a behavior in some manner to a more environmentally responsible behavior. Brandi gave up using any single-serving packaging, meaning no store-bought granola bars or ketchup packets or coffee creamers or a can of soda or yogurt in the smaller cups... you get the point. 

This is another of the many example of how homemade foods are more environmentally responsible than store-bought foods, and also less expensive! 

As I mentioned earlier, Ross and I are going to be gone camping this weekend... and then I will be at Holden Village with Hayley from Monday-Friday of next week for my spring break... what I'm really saying is that I probably won't post again until after March 25! 

It will be so long with out blogging... but Holden's kitchen is absolutely incredible and all from scratch, so I promise I will come back with lots of pictures and stories from my time time there. 

Until then - happy eating!