Back-to-School Bars

By Katherine Sumner

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. 

~ Malcolm S. Forbes

As summer comes to an end, and school begins I start planning for lunches, snacks, and dinners so both my boys are nourished during the school year.  Of course, we always start with stocking up on fresh veggies cut-up into bit size slices - red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and green beans which we can pull out with hummus dip or a white bean dip.  I also like to have fresh seasonal fruits on hand such as peaches, plums, clementines, and apples -- giving us a good source of vitamin C.

But another treat my boys enjoy are our favorite granola bars which are packed with protein, good fats, and energy.

Here is the simple recipe -

1 T of extra virgin coconut oil

1 1/4  cups oats (we like Bob's Red Mill GF Oats)

1 1/4  cups sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of sesame seeds

1/2 cup of dried unsweetened coconut

1 1/2 cup of unsweetened  gluten-free crisp brown rice cereal

1 cup of dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins

1 cup of brown rice syrup

1 cup of peanut butter (or another seed or nut butter)

1/4 cup of ground chia seeds or ground flax seeds

1 T of vanilla

1/2 t sea salt

grease a 9 x 13 pan with extra virgin coconut oil

mix oats, seeds/nuts, oat bran, cereal, chia seeds, sea salt, and coconut in a large bowl and set aside

combine brown rice syrup, peanut butter, vanilla over low heat until it thickens-about 3 minutespour over oat mixture and stir until evenly incorporated.

Spread into greased pan and cool in the refrigerator 15 minutes then bring to room temperature before cutting.  These are perfect for after school snacks, lunchbox treats, or even a hurried breakfast for mom or dad!

And feel free to add whatever is in your pantry -- here are few other foods we have added -pumpkin seeds, pistachio nuts, dried cherries, cacao nibs, carob chips, organic chocolate chips, pecans…

The boys added some extra cacao and organic chocolate chips which made them extra tasty this week!