Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Are you every looking for a recipe that is quick, easy, and has a short ingredient list? How do Peanut Butter Granola Bars sound? This is great for everyone: big kids and little kids! Peanut Butter Granola Bars were created when I felt tired of buying the store-bought granola bars and wanted to have a quick snack for my kids. Yes, there is 'sweet*' in it, but there are wholesome ingredients too. In my world of parenting sometimes the simple bowl of oatmeal does not get consumed and having a little fiber, protein and fat in their diet is a better snack then just a piece of fruit or plain bread. My daughter (age five) recently told me she would only eat these if I put chocolate in them. I tried to create something delicious and still fell short in her mind. The last couple batches I have refused her request, but maybe some day I will sneak some in or even melt a few chocolate chips and spread on top for a frosting. That is surely to get her right?

I usually make up recipes in my kitchen because I rarely have time to find the recipe or the attention span to actually follow them with my kiddos running around. I also love it because it taps into my creativity and is faster than following a recipe. I have my go-to recipes and this is one that is easily in the mix. My next goal in the recipe department is how to sneak in veggies and other goodness into recipes so my kiddos will actually have some of the good guys (veggies/fiber) to feed their guts. I also love these Peanut Butter Granola Bars because they are EASY and FAST and makes a good amount. You can also get creative by making different variations. If you want them sweeter you can add in dried fruit. If you want more of a crunch you could add in other nuts or sub out for the coconut. And then there is the chocolate addition that would make a nice compliment to the rich peanut butter. I know my daughter is waiting for the day that I try the chocolate frosting version. If you do not like or eat peanut butter you could try with sunflower butter. I personally keep them as simple as possible because again, if there is anything crazy like a nut that is bigger than the almonds in there, the kiddos might think they are good for them. :)

Also, this is one of the recipes that I haven never tasted myself. Right now oats rip up my stomach (or that is my last reaction to them) and peanut butter and maple syrup were high on my Mediator Release Testing (MRT) results. This is a food sensitivities test I did last fall (2015) as a part of my healing journey and will be writing more about it. For more on my story go to my About Page. If you want more information on the MRT test click here. My most recent personal experience was In December: I ate a few of our vegan Christmas cookies and the maple syrup and spices made me not feel great. I am not sure if it was the maple syrup or the gluten-free flour or just perhaps too many sweet things at once; however, I was reminded of the freedom of choice and how each food choice is made for different reasons. Some are for our health and physical body and others are for the soul. This example for me felt like a choice to fill up my soul.  It felt really good to actually eat a cookie with my kiddos while making our annual cookies with Nana and Baba. And it also made me not want a cookie for a while because I indulged AND it didn't make me feel good. And that is where the freedom comes from. Your choices are INFORMATION that teach you something to learn from and use for future choices. And sometimes you decide feeling not so good after a baking session with the kiddos is okay because it feels good for the soul to eat a cookie and experience the process with your kids. I am just understanding the importance of this freedom in my own healing journey and I encourage you to ask yourself what your body and soul need in your food choices and food experiences.

I hope you give this Peanut Butter Granola Bar recipe a try! And if for some reason they don’t turn out, you can always turn them into cereal and pour in a bowl. We have done that a many times at our house when I am trying to attempt a new granola-bar recipe. Enjoy in the morning for breakfast or for a snack and with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate.

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

P.S. *Sweet - If you wonder why I reference sweet vs. natural sugar it is because I want to speak and share the language we use at our house. "Sweet" is simply is our code word for saying there is natural sugar in food. We are doing everything in our power at home to try to talk about food be what nourishes and fuels are body and stay away from good and bad. I also tried very hard to make a granola recipe without dates or dried fruit because sometimes that can be too 'sweet' in our world. Even though I know they make a great bar and hold together amazing.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Serves: 8 medium bars; 16 small bars

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free oats
¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds (toasted or raw)
¼ unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup organic natural peanut butter (salted)
5 tablespoons maple syrup
5 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

1.  In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, and coconut
2.  In a small saucepan, mix together maple syrup and coconut oil and stir over medium-low heat. Once melted, add in the peanut butter and gently stir (I like to use a whisk) ingredients until melted and fully incorporated.
3.  Remove from heat and pour and stir into the dry ingredients until evenly mixed in.
4.  Pour mixture into a well-greased (I use coconut oil) 8 x 8 pan (I prefer glass).
5.  Chill bars covered in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
6.  Remove and cut into 16 bars. For larger bars slice into 8 bars.
7.  Enjoy! If they are not gobbled up immediately, store in refrigerator. Use the same pan or remove and stack in a different container. For individual portions, wrap in wax paper or saran wrap to keep fresh for easy on-the-go bars!