15-minute homemade granola bars

Finding a way to navigate life in these ever-changing times can be paralyzing. The advent of technology and explosion of 24/7 media means we have more information at our disposal than we can ever really hope to digest.

A simple trip to the supermarket requires the stealth research of a journalist, armed with credible sources.

But what is credible in this day and age, since news—be it in print, online or television is not objective? You know where someone stands immediately whether they watch Fox News or CNN, reads the New York Post or New York Times.

The best advice I can offer is to take a moment and consider the effect our collective purchasing power has on what makes it to supermarket shelves. Perhaps if we truly pondered the big picture—the world beyond our borders, the planet we are leaving to our children, then there would be only one real convenient way of eating.

I find my curiosity piqued as my eyes wander over the ingredients strewn across the conveyor belt just ahead of my own items. Is it fair to cast judgement based solely on one’s grocery purchases? I know deep down the answer is no. Food is a complicated ingredient in all of our lives. The decision of what to buy is often compromised by budget and time available.

I sometimes question if I’m over-thinking my own approach to feeding my family. Then as I peruse labels, I realize cooking from scratch is the only way I can peacefully co-exist with the planet.

This article from NPR’s Public Radio Kitchen is a glimpse of what is inherently wrong with today’s food system. Then I read this piece in the New York Time’s and it reminded me I’m not alone in my struggles with decisions when it comes to politics of the plate. I find myself raising many of the same questions as Yoon does in her article.

As those moments creep into my daily life, I stop myself and take a long, deep breath. Rather than feel overcome with helplessness, I retreat to the kitchen and go on with life the only way I know how.

15-Minute Homemade Granola Bras

Makes twelve 1 ½” x 3 ½” one ounce bars

Since I make fresh granola every week, I just double the batch so there’s extra to use as the base for these bars.  Starting with homemade granola is also an easy way to ensure your bars are gluten-free, provided you use certified-gluten-free oats.

If you’re using store bought granola, be sure to read the ingredient label. Just because it says granola doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The first few ingredients should be oats, nuts and dried fruits if they are included. Avoid any that have high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils.

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 ½ cups granola (one that includes nuts and dried fruits)

Preheat oven to 350º. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper.

Combine the brown rice syrup, oil and sugar in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Add granola to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour syrup mixture over granola, stirring well with a non-stick rubber spatula. Using same spatula, spread mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 12 equal-sized bars. Store in an airtight container for up to one week, though they’ll likely disappear in a few days time.

Note: In my haste one day, I dumped all the ingredients into a bowl and totally forgot to melt the sugar with the syrup and oil first. Don’t worry if you make the same mistake. Just give it an extra good stir to mix well, and bake an additional 5 minutes, for a total baking time of 20 minutes.

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7 Comments to “15-minute homemade granola bars”

  1. Cooking from scratch is the only way I can go as my husband recovers from a heart attack. Hidden salt is my number one enemy – sugar and fat I can usually spot, but sodium levels astonish me in items I never had really thought about, such as ketchup!

  2. So true! I’ve been contemplating food ethics and what I buy, cook, and eat. Is there a right and a wrong? I’m convinced there is. But what about all the factors that go into it? It’s a big question, and one I think not enough people take time to consider. It’s much easier to be ignorant than thoughtful, but what kind of life would that be?

  3. Una ricetta perfetta…. bella e veloce ☺ ciao

  4. Food ethics are so tough. I buy local as much as I can and I love doing that and also cooking from scratch, but what are the best methods? I always question myself as I move through the grocery store or farmer’s market and choose what I’m going to eat each week. Thanks for a thoughtful post and a yummy-looking recipe!

  5. Oh my gosh!!! These look fantastic!!! 😀

    xoxo
    Kathleen

  6. Can I substistute honey or maple syrup for the brown rice cyrup?

  7. What is brown rice syrup?

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