by Courtney Westfall
When our family began the journey to clean(er) eating, I started examining the staples we kept in the pantry. Much to my dismay, pre-packaged granola bars had several ingredients that I wasn’t happy with. That, coupled with the high price tag on “healthy” granola bars, gave me the idea of making my own granola bars that wouldn’t break the bank and were easy to make.
After trying several recipes, I started mixing and matching until I came up with a recipe that I loved. An added bonus is that you can substitute and add ingredients until your heart is content! Here’s the basic recipe, with Brody Boy as my sous chef:
6 cups quick oats (rolled oats work great, too)
1 cups raisins
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Optional things I substituted or added for this batch:
- 2 Tablespoons Flax seed
- 1 Tablespoons Chia seeds
- 1/2 c sliced almonds
- Substituted half the raisins for 1/2 c mini chocolate chips
- Substituted one cup plain Cheerios for 1 cup of the oats
Preheat oven to 350°
Using a spoon or hand mixer, combine everything very well in a big bowl (Pro tip: It helps to warm the can of sweetened condensed milk in a bowl of hot water before pouring it in).
Spread onto sprayed cookie sheet (I use the biggest one I have, 17.25” x 11.5”) and press down very firmly with wax paper (to keep your hands clean). I’ve tried baking it on parchment paper instead of spraying the cookie sheet and it comes out a little gooey on the bottom.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then cut with a sharp knife. I cut mine into 3 rows of 9, making 27 bars. Turn the cookie sheet upside down on a cutting board (lay the board on top of the cookie sheet and flip) to cool the rest of the way. Store in fridge or freezer once completely cooled.
This is by no means a low-calorie or low-fat snack, but I know and can pronounce all the ingredients and save some money doing it myself!
These are certainly kid approved but I’m eating one with my coffee as I write. Whole grain oats, flax seeds, a little crunch, a little sweetness. Mom-approved, too!
Let me know if you give these a try. Cinnamon sounds like a good addition, what else would you add?
Courtney is a mom of three kids, ages four and under. She loves baking, playing outside with her kids and wandering aimlessly through Target. Try her other recipes for Hulk Muffins and Fruit Leather. Read her ways to save money in Tulsa or her great article about slowing down.