Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eating Clean {A Homemade Granola Bar Recipe}



I absolutely LOVE having healthy cereal bars, or quick-to-grab whole food items on my kitchen counter top. Most early mornings I am at the bakery, and it's not always the easiest feat for my husband to make a healthy breakfast for our babes. And to be honest, it's not always easy for me to find extra time to make sure I'm eating well, too. That's exactly why I try to plan meals ahead of time, so I'm not scrambling last minute to find something good to eat.

"God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I'd better take care of it." - Rick Warren 

As I've shared before, I like to use as many organic/non-gmo food brands as I can. I am a firm believer in taking care of the body you have. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy junk food just as much as the next girl :-) I bake cake for a living, for crying out loud! However, the majority of the food I make at home for my family, and pack for lunch, is typically made with whole, cleaner foods. I indulge and enjoy treats often, but I try to keep it all within balance.

Another thing that I would like to share is that it is OKAY if you aren't able to purchase all organic foods. It is expensive. I get it! There was a season when I was still a stay-at-home momma that we just could not afford organic foods. The idea of it was laughable. But, as I learned more about what I was putting in my body (as well as my family's), I started feeling more of a burden to do my best to nourish the bodies God gave us, and take care of them to the best of my ability. I prayed for a few years, and it took awhile, but God did answer my prayers to help teach me knew ways to prepare meals, and to finally be able to afford cleaner foods. 

Can we always afford all organic food every week? Nope. Not always. And you know what? It's okay! I just get what I can, and fill in the gaps with non-organic whole foods. Even if you start just adding more veggies in your diet, that's a start! Start small, take baby steps, google clean recipes, buy new cooke books, etc. You'll get there! And with time, you will see how much better you feel after fueling your body with REAL food.

Homemade Granola Bars 

Ingredients:

4 cups whole grain rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 Tablespoons Wheat Bran (nice fiber filler)
2 Tablespoons Flax Seeds
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil (preferably organic)
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips (you may substitute with white or semi-sweet, whichever you prefer)
1 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Baking: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl until very well incorporated. Press into a parchment lined 13x9 dish {be sure to use parchment paper--your bars will NOT come out if you don't}. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let entire pan cool for several hours, or even over night. This lets all of the ingredients settle together nicely. If you don't let them cool completely your bars will crumble when cutting.

Cutting & Storing: 
Turn your pan over and cut into standard cereal bar sizes. You may wrap them with plastic wrap, or use parchment paper and a small piece of tape. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. Enjoy!

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