One More Item Off the Grocery List

3 10 2009

The more I experiment with cooking and baking, the more I realize that I can make almost any of the “processed” foods I would normally find on the grocery store shelves.  It’s a blessing … and a curse.  I remember it being an epiphany back in 1999 or so when I first realized that a packet of Old El Paso seasoning was not essential for making tacos.  With the exception of an occasional bottle of Rao’s, we never buy tomato sauce for pasta; it’s so easy to make!  I never have bought flavored yogurts since it’s so much cheaper (and more delicious) to flavor plain yogurt myself with fruits and other ingredients from the pantry or freezer.  And more recently, I’ve had to add bread and crackers to the list of things I CAN make (although it’s handy to have Triscuits in the pantry!).  But here’s where the curse kicks in:   Who has the time????  Every time I realize I COULD be making something myself from scratch, I start to think that I SHOULD be making it myself from scratch, but … the fact is that we can’t make everything … unless we were all living in a happy, little commune where we would all be cooking all day while the kids all played around us together all day … and, um, we’re not.

So, the question becomes:  What’s really worth making yourself?

Luckily, I have the answer.  Granola bars.

Heating up the butter-honey-sugar mixture

Heating up the butter-honey-sugar mixture

Toasting the oats, sunflower seeds, and wheat bran

Toasting the oats, sunflower seeds, and wheat bran

Smushing it all together (a.k.a., the fun part!)

Smushing it all together (a.k.a., the fun part!)

OK, ignore the fact that I may have gained 5 pounds in the last month since I started making granola bars.  They are delicious and SO easy to make!  Spurred by a friend who said she’d recently made mushy granola bars, I started out by referring to this recipe.  Since I didn’t have wheat germ, I substituted some wheat bran, and I decided to use coconut and a cup of chocolate chunks (cut from a big bar) for the dried fruit and peanuts.

I realized my lapse in judgment as I was pouring the hot butter-honey-sugar mixture over the toasted oats and other ingredients:  How would the chocolate chunks be able to withstand the extreme heat to which I was exposing them???  And, as in all things relating to the kitchen, all’s well that ends well — even though I didn’t do it on purpose, I made me some mighty delicious chocolate granola bars.

And there you have it.  The hubby said it was the most delicious thing he’s ever eaten, but he’s prone to hyperbole whenever I use a decent amount of sugar in anything.  And Masher loves ’em.  And they’re very portable, keep for at least a week on the counter, and use up dried fruit that we might not otherwise eat.  The perfect snack, you might say.  And you might be right.  So, one more item off the grocery list.  Not that I was purchasing granola bars on a regular basis.  But now?  They are quickly becoming a family staple.

Chocolate coconut granola bar

Chocolate coconut granola bar

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2 responses

3 10 2009
Joyful Abode

Wow, those look really yummy! I’m glad the chocolate and coconut worked out for you and that you have one less processed boxed junk food to buy!! 🙂

13 02 2010
Stale Bread Ain’t Just for Ducks « Drink of Water

[…] made this French toast particularly ‘wishus was a heavy sprinkling of homemade granola (like the bars I’ve blogged about before, only with less honey and no smushing everything together). […]

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