Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breakfast of champions

We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We also hear how we should always eat breakfast. Yup, makes sense. No, I don't have time for that!

So, in my effort to eat better (I'm still at it, believe it or not) I tried hard to eat breakfast. But, since I felt like *making* something was too much work, I ended eating a lot of cereal bars. I was all happy doing that for a while, until I mistakingly read what's in them... With that much sugar I might have been eating pancakes or something else yummy instead of something "healthy". (Ok, there's still a lot of good things for you in them, but wanting to drop a few pounds, the bad things were not helping)

Homemade granola bars

So, all this resulted into an odd moment of hippiness from my part and I bought a ton of ingredients to make my own. I did a lot of research, read tons and tons of recipes and a lot of them seemed somewhat complicated. Until I saw once sentence in one of the recipes (I can't remember which one, I'll add the link if I find it again):

1 cup of "glue" to 3 cups of dry ingredients

That was the one that made the most sense to me (honestly, it was the easiest), so I decided to try it out. Lo and behold, it worked! And it keeps working! Fantastic!

Let me explain; "glue" in this case is what binds the bars together. I've used unsweetened applesauce, either with just apple or apple-strawberry, apple-mixed berry or any other combo with a few tablespoons of honey.

Healthy shopping

Here's what you need:

3.5 cups of rolled oats
2.5 cups other ingredients
- dried fruit
- nuts
- seeds
- dark chocolate
- flax seed / wheat germ (only a few tablespoons if you use either one of these)
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
honey to taste
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon

First measure the rolled oats into a bowl. Start adding your other ingredients. This is not an exact science, so use what you like in amount you like. I basically just started filling a measuring cup with different things, first a few tablespoons of wheat germ, then a few crushed pieces of dark chocolate (I used organic 70% chocolate) and top off the cup with sunflower seeds. Then I added 1/2 cup of raisins. Finally I added 1 cup of finely chopped dried fruit. I love dried peaches, so I added those, but whichever you like will surely do just fine (not sure about dried banana, since it's hard, I'd use any soft fruit/berries). I've used apricots, kiwi and cranberries. Just test out what works.

Then throw in a pinch of salt and some cinnamon. Finally mix the honey into the applesauce and mix everything together. To make sure your bars stick together, make sure you pack the mixture tightly into a pan lined with parchment paper. (The parchment paper is there to make it easier to remove the granola block from the pan after)

Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes. Once it's cooled, cut into bars (squares, whatever shape you like).

Homemade granola bars

Score! You're done!

Have you tried making granola bars yourself? What's your favourite combination?


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