In an effort to resolve some ongoing issues with inflamation, hormonal imbalance, and food allergies, for the past six weeks, I've been doing a cleansing diet. (A few months ago, I started seeing a super-fantastic nurse practictioner whose focus is functional medicine, and she has been guiding me on this journey).
While there are many, many foods I can eat while cleansing, the one area that I have struggled with is snacks and things to eat when I don't have time to prepare a full meal.
I started making these granola bars before I started the cleanse (with some modifications), and I just made a few more changes to make them appropriate for my current diet. These are so fast and easy to make - and great for little hands to help too. They are a favorite in our house, so I thought I would share our recipe. I hope you enjoy them!
favorite granola bars.
adapted from smitten kitchen.
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (I use gluten-free oats from Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup rolled oats (I also use gluter-free oats here)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces. I use coconut and chopped walnuts - I'm not a fan of dried fruit in my bars, but pretty much any chopped nuts, seeds, chopped dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. would work)
1/3 cup sunflower butter or another nut/seed butter (I used homemade sunflower seed butter to avoid added sugar) (optional - if you omit this, you may want to add a little extra water to the mix)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons canola oil (before the cleanse, I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or agave (I use agave)
1/4 cup water
**The directions below are taken pretty much from the smitten kitchen blog, with adaptations for the indredients I used above. I did omit all corn syrup and sugar from the original recipe.**
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, nut/seed butter, oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. [Updating to note, as many had crumbling issues:] If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.