It’s Monday and it’s the start of a brand new month. I’m excited… why? Well, we dodged a rather bad snow storm (sorry to my friends south of us who weren’t so lucky). My training is going very well and I’m feeling stronger and stronger. And despite life not being perfect, I see glimmers of hope and promise of wonderful things in the future.
As Monday comes, I always start baking or creating snacks for my kids and family to snack on all week. Fruit and veggies are always at hand but let’s face it… grab a tea or coffee and a baked good or treat, right? Yes! Dessert. After-school snacking? Of course. I always try to put the best options forward and this is no different. We all train hard and need to rebuild and refuel. This snack does that and it makes a lot so you are covered for a week of snacking.
1 cup of almond butter (I used Justin’s maple) or whatever nut butter you have in your pantry
1/2 cup of maple syrup (honey or agave will also work)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt (I used sea salt)
2 cups of gluten free rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill) – you can use regular rolled oats if you don’t have a gluten allergy
1/2 cup mixed colored raisins (you can use apricots, dried blueberries etc.)
1/4 cup of dried tart cherries
1 cup of raw white quinoa
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (I used black walnuts)
1/2 cup of pepitas
1/4 cup of hemp seeds
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of toasted coconut flakes
1/4 chia seeds (white or black)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Using a regular size cookie/baking sheet with sides – place a large piece of parchment paper (with an overhang) to cover the entire sheet OR use a Silpat for easy removal. This will allow you to remove the granola bars after cooling. Set aside.
In your stand mixer, blend nut butter, syrup, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Blend well. Then add the oats, dried fruit, quinoa, walnuts, pepitas, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut flakes and chia. Blend until everything is coated well (low speed). This takes about 1 minute or so.
This mixture will be heavy and thick. Cautiously removing from your mixing bowl, add the granola batter to your baking sheet. Try to add the mixture evenly. I then add another piece of parchment over top and roll out with either a glass or rolling pin. The dough will be a bit firm but keep on working to create a leveled amount across the baking pan. Press with your fingers into the corners if need be. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown (the parchment will allow you to pick up the corner to check the underside of the granola bar). Let cool. This was easy today as I just placed the sheet outside (it’s 19 today) and let it cool.
Remove the parchment carefully with the granola block on it. Transfer to a cutting board and slice.
This is my favorite shot from this baking “excursion”. You can feel the energy from the food… the vibrancy of the colors energize you.
— Knead to Cook