Thursday, June 12, 2014

Homemade Peanut Granola Bars

I love cooking. I know, SURPRISE!! You never could have guessed it, right? But I really, really do. I just love to cook. You see, cooking is the thing that I can do no matter what mood I am in and it finds a way to make my day or the circumstances around me even better. Sometimes I am in the best BEST mood and having friends over for a dinner party is the absolute most fun. Sometimes when I am sick, getting in the kitchen and baking a cake makes me feel a bit less sniffly and miserable. And on this certain occasion, when my hubby has just left me as the sole caretaker of four scruffy mutts for the next three weeks while he is in Portland working, cooking completely turns my frown upside down. Well, maybe not completely upside down, but things are starting to look up!

There is just something so soothing about taking simple, lonely ingredients and creating something wonderful with them. Richard takes words and turns them into stories... and I? Well, I take nuts and raisins and turn them into granola bars!

Ok. These energy bars are really good. Like, really really good. They are protein packed, contain all natural ingredients, don't require any baking, and best of all, they only take about 15 minutes to prepare. They are perfect for on the go snacks or for a quick breakfast!

Homemade Peanut Energy Bars

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels or other chopped nuts (such as walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit
2 cups quinoa flakes or rolled oats
2 cups toasted rice cereal
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey (or light corn syrup)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The great thing about this recipe? You can substitute whatever you want for whatever you want! Switch out the honey for maple syrup, the rice cereal for cherrios, leave out the coconut, add some hemp seed, or ground flax seed... you get it. Get creative, you can't mess these up!

Coat a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick spray. I used coconut oil spray.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, honey, and peanut butter. Microwave for two minutes until melted and bubbly. Stir in the vanilla extract and pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Press down firmly. Let stand for about an hour before cutting into bars. I store the bars in the freezer because the recipe makes quite a few!

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