Friday, August 18, 2006

Leaving store-bought in the dust...

I have been wanting to do a few granola-type bar recipes so we could have some on hand for quick snacks rather than buying them. I wanted the bars to have a lot of flavor, be filling and use pantry ingredients we normally keep in stock so we can make them whenever needed.

Thick, dense, chewy, quite filling and a little sweet, these Nutty Breakfast Bars are the ones we have been enjoying the most. To bring out their nutty flavor, sliced almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds are first toasted while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. To add to the nutrition of the bars, the bulk of the ingredients are rolled oats, soy flour (I used full-fat), dry milk and toasted wheat germ. Cinnamon spiced dried apples and plump golden raisins add to the chewiness. The binder for these bars is a heated mixture of fresh ground peanut butter (I grind my own every couple of weeks, but I would use natural style if you don't want it make it yourself), brown rice syrup and pure maple syrup. Brown rice syrup can sometimes be hard to find (and expensive), so you could use honey or an even better choice would be golden syrup. This mixture is pretty sticky, so when you press it into the pan, either wet your hands or place some plastic wrap on top to keep from making a mess.

Jeff's first comment was "Since they are so healthy, why not drizzle some melted dark chocolate on top to make them seem at least a little naughty..." So, his wish is my command!

Tonight's dinner, Creamy Three Cheese Macaroni, jumped up the ladder to become one of our new favorite ways to make Mac 'n Cheese. White cheddar, Parmesan and ricotta are the three cheeses we used. The silky thick sauce that coats the tender macaroni is made from butter, flour, dry mustard and soymilk with dollops of the cheesy mixture stirred in to melt. Freshly grated nutmeg is also stirred in, but don't be afraid to use it. While you probably would not be able to pick it out, it adds such a depth of flavor that works well here. Before being popped under the broiler, crisp panko bread crumbs are laced with melted better and scattered on top to create a rich golden crust.


  1. Ooh....the mac and cheese looks great!

  2. I love the mix of healthy/unhealthy in this post :)

  3. Barbara - Thanks!

    Wheresmymind - Well, we tried to balance it out!

  4. That mac and cheese looks and sounds soooo good! I'm gonna have to make some this week!

  5. Nicole - Let me know what you think!