Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Starting from Scratch and Vanilla Almond Apricot Granola Bars

I have three kids,each with their own food issues. My oldest needs food around the clock, my middle son is very underweight, and my baby could live on fruit snacks alone.
My husband and I have our own issues, but let's not get into that. (Ahem. Taco bell.)
It's a convenience thing for us. 
Fruit snacks, granola bars, gogurt, chicken nuggets, the list of boxed and bagged foods in this house is endless.

There are a bazillion reasons to cut out processed food. I'm not going to go into a lot of details because a, I don't know everything and b, you can google just as well as I can.
But I'll give you my reasons for going "clean".

1. It tastes better.
Fresh is always better. There's a reason why everything from the Farmer's Market tastes so much better than anything from Walmart. 
2. Those empty calories aren't doing ANYBODY any favors.
Like I said, my son Jared is skinny. Not the good kind of skinny that I wish I was, but scrawny. When I was thinking of ways to give him extra calories, I started thinking about the calories he was already getting. Yeah. Not good. All those chips aren't helping him grow, and they're sure as hell not helping my diet either.
3. It makes me happy.
The feeling of cooking or baking something from scratch is incredibly gratifying. Watching my kids devour the food I made with my own hands is just a bonus. Plus, it keeps me busy and makes me feel productive, both of which make me happy.
4. The cost.
I don't care what anybody says, processed food is not cheap. A freaking box of fruit snacks is over 2 dollars and it lasts about 3 days. 
5. Skill.
The only thing I can make consistently from scratch is chocolate cookies. (um, they're amazing.) I want to add to that list. 
6. My kids.
After reading about what I'm really feeding them, I can't turn a blind eye. I really love knowing that I'm feeding them food that is nourishing their bodies and allowing them to grow physically and mentally. Plus, I definitely want them to think I'm the best cook ever. Their wives won't ever stand a chance.

So this summer we're starting from scratch. Get it? Yeah, ok...
Food isn't the only thing I'm trying to make myself, I'll be doing tons of other projects as well, all which I will blog about, so stay tuned!
Who knows, maybe we'll love it, get a few chickens and move to a farm. (In my dreams) Maybe I'll try and sneak a cow into the garage and get fresh milk. I'm kidding, but look at these Mini Jersey Cows. I DIE.

Ok, so without further adieu, here is my first from scratch recipe!
(I made this recipe up, mostly based on ingredients I already had in the house. I'm definitely going to make another batch, so I will come back with more tips!)

Vanilla Almond Apricot Granola Bars

Makes 16 bars

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup sliced almonds (not pictured)
2/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish. (That's what I used, and I made 16 bars. You can use a different size pan, but the thickness of your bars and the baking time will change.)

2. Mix oats, sugar, cinnamon, flour, apricots, and almonds together in a large bowl.

3. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, and pour in the egg, honey, oil, and vanilla.

4. Use your hands to mix the egg and oil into the oat mixture. I put my hand in the middle and kind of scrunched the dry mix into it a little bit at a time. Those probably aren't the best directions, but just try it.

5. Press the mix into your greased dish. Try to make it flat, but it's not the big of a deal.

6. Bake for 20 - 25 min. Every oven is different, so just watch them. If they are getting brown around the edges, they're probably done.

7. Let the bars cool about 10 minutes before you cut them. Don't wait too long, or they'll be too hard to cut. 

Then, eat! They are seriously delicious. 

Kid approved!

I wrapped mine in wax paper, which the kids seem to enjoy ripping off. They could be stored in a Tupperware container or a baggie.
As for me, I plan on crumbling one up in yogurt for tomorrow's breakfast!


  1. Excellent first blog entry, Kit! Sounds like a worthy experiment that may just turn into a lifestyle.

    1. Thanks! The kids are loving it already, (minus the avocados) so I think we're going to have a good time.