Homemade Granola Bars

With a cold glass of milk, these granola bars make for a perfectly nutritious breakfast – AND THEY’RE SO RIDICULOUSLY EASY TO MAKE!

Considering June 1st has ended up landing on a Friday, which happens to be “Fight Back Friday” for Food Renegades, I thought I might post a quick, easy and nutritious breakfast recipe for those on the go (which is pretty much ALL OF US :))…

To give you a little background on why I thought of sharing this recipe – the three of us are just about to take a 14 hr flight back home tomorrow, as a Skinny Food Addict the hardest part for me is the fact that you really don’t have access to nutritious food whenever your hungry. Another thing I totally don’t like about travel is airplane breakfasts – there’s something really unappealing about steam-table eggs!

So smart as we are (and keeping in mind that we don’t have any stopovers where we’d be asked to hand over our foreign food), we usually pack a bunch of stuff that we can munch on throughout the trip including a few sandwiches, mixed nuts and dried fruit. This year I thought of also taking along a great breakfast – homemade granola bars!

Since I was using toasted wheat flakes, I just had to toast my pumpkin seeds and oat flakes

I actually stumbled upon this great recipe on Eating Well and have made a few adjustments keeping in mind that I really don’t like using too many processed foods (also one of the reasons that I was looking for a substitute for store bought bars :)). I have basically substituted the cooking spray for a pan greased with olive oil, and rather than using a pie pan I prefer to make bars instead. I also feel that you can use whatever combination of nuts/seeds and dried fruit/chocolate chips depending on your personal preferences. The thing I love most about this recipe is the fact that you toast the grain first – I definitely am NOT a big fan of raw grain granola bars (which is my biggest complaint with the Be Natural bars- though they are one of the healthier ones available here in Dubai)

Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients: 1 cup rolled oats1 cup wheat flakes (since I couldn’t find these @ our grocery store I used Nestle’s FORCE – Traditionally British Toasted Whole Wheat Flakes instead)1 cup seeds or chopped nuts1/2 cup honey (preferably a local honey if possible)1 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 400°F.Spread oats, wheat flakes and seeds (or nuts) on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, about 10 min.Coat a 8″x12″ pan with first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.Cook 1/2 cup honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until large foamy bubbles form and it starts to darken at the edges, 2 to 4 min.Immediately turn off stove and pour the toasted oat mixture into the honey, add dried fruit and stir until completely coated.

Quickly press the granola into the prepared pan using a heat-resistant spatula coated with oil. Let cool for 30 min.

Cut into wedges and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Makes 8 Servings)

Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

I know it’s challenging to find dried fruit that hasn’t got sulfites added to it, that’s especially true here in Dubai. I was lucky enough to get a hold of craisins by Basse that were sulfite-free and I opted to make my bars with pumpkin seeds this time around. The last time I made a batch of these babies I used semisweet chocolate chips with walnuts which were DELICIOUS!!  I usually have one of these with a glass of milk in the morning for a complete breakfast :)

If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think AND how you made it to suit your taste buds…

Toastabags = Delicious Deli-Style Sandwiches in a Flash

How much do I love my TOASTABAGS? These guys are pure genius. I’ve never been a person to like cold sandwiches – give me a panini anyday! Now you can enjoy a deli style sandwich at home or at work without all the hassle! And that’s not all – I use my toastabags to warm up anything that I want to be nice and crispy including oven baked fries, pizza slices and even the occasional pastry – pretty much anything that would be disgustingly soggy in the microwave!

I bought my bags from ACE in Dubai, but you can buy them on Amazon for $9.99. They are definitely worth the price in my opinion. I say this mainly because it really makes planning lunches for work so much easier. When I have 5 minutes I can whip up a quick sandwich with veggies – something I would never dream of doing before due to the sogginess factor – and pop it in the toaster at work.

NOTE: Don’t assemble your sandwich until you are ready to eat it!