Then I realized this was stupid. Here I was, endeavoring to make frugal, healthy, whole food meals, but eating expensive junky granola and protein bars. Seriously, that was the largest part of my food budget. Those things are freaking expensive.
And I thought, I can make soup from tomatoes I've grown myself. I can make bread and pasta and enchiladas and cookies from scratch. None of this stuff is actually hard to do. Why the heck am I shelling out all this money on granola bars when surely I can make healthier ones myself for much cheaper?
Yeah. It is ridiculously easy to make these things from scratch. I seriously probably spend as much time on prep for these as I used to spend dithering in the aisle at Sam's Club trying to figure out which box of bars provided the best nutritional value for the money (answer: none of them).
I bought the e-cookbook Healthy Snacks to Go by Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship, and the below granola bar recipe is adapted from there. I highly recommend the book (I mean,
Alternatively, you can google a lot of this for free. So. You know.
Without further ado:
Homemade Granola Bars
Melt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, 2/3 cup honey (Katie's recipe calls for a full cup but that was too sweet for us), and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl in the microwave (or on the stove if for some reason you'd rather handwash a pot than dishwasherify a bowl). I do this at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, and it takes maybe 2-3 minutes.
(If you want peanut butter granola bars, substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for 1/2 cup of the butter.)
|It will look like this.|
(I'll try and remember to take a picture of the finished bars and stick that in here.)
They should last a month or so on your counter just fine (depending, I guess, on what you use for mix-ins) or longer in the fridge.
The DDH loves these things. He thinks they are more filling and satisfying than my homemade protein bars (strangely) and on par with the big Power Bar things he always requested before.
I love them also, but they are definitely sweet. Skipping the chocolate chips would help, but a lot of it is the honey, too. I'm not sure if you can cut back on the volume any more without affecting the consistency of the bar. You could try substituting unsweetened applesauce maybe for some of the honey, or coconut oil maybe? Things to experiment with. ^_^