Cherry-almond granola bars.
Am I crazy because I make my kid’s and husband’s lunches?
I used to make my own lunch for work and it just seemed logical to make one for my husband as well. Now I’m making a lunch for my son (his school does not have a cafeteria) to take to school, and it’s not much more effort to make for two. So throughout the school year, I go ahead and make Doug’s lunch. He would gladly make his own lunch (and I must say that he has no expectations that I do this for him), but it gives me great pleasure to know that my people have what they need to get through the day. I also should mention that my son is 15 and is capable of making his own lunch, but what he chooses to take is often inadequate. And so I fix the lunch bags. The lunches are simple, and we try to hit all the food groups: 1 sandwich of either a nut butter with homemade jam, or maybe a meat and cheese always on whole wheat bread; 1 raw vegetable; 1 fruit; 1 dessert or snack bar; 1 yogurt for Doug.
Doug enjoys a sweet with his morning coffee and is fond of cereal/snack/granola bars. Unfortunately we are sometimes reduced to buying the over-the-counter, highly processed varieties. These doughy, fruit filled or chocolate-infused briquettes are sad little candy bars in disguise. I do not eagerly purchase these. And our son, Max, is growing so fast that his caloric needs are huge, so I try and include a lot of protein-rich, calorie-packed items in his lunch sack.
So tonight I am lovingly making homemade granola bars, filled with peanut butter, oats, coconut, almonds and dried cherries. I know I’m going to receive more comments regarding the corn syrup, and just as I promised with the cookies the other night, I will try this with honey the next time. I also stir in a few chocolate chips as a teaser for a certain small person in our house.
These are not low-cal granola bars. They are high in fat and packed with sugar, to be sure. They are also loaded with real fruit and nuts, wheat germ and oats. One bar a day is plenty.
Tomorrow morning I will happily make the nut butter and homemade jam sandwich, and plop it in a well-used lunch bag along with a bag of raw carrots, a fruit, a yogurt and a lovingly prepared homemade granola bar. I’ll even send one off to school with our youngest, Joe, and take one for myself to have with my morning coffee.
Cherry-Almond Granola Bars
1. Mix together:
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. corn syrup
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2/3 c. almond butter or peanut butter
- 2 tsp. almond extract
2. Stir in:
- 3 c. quick oats (or 2 c. quick and 1 c. old fashioned oats)
- 2/3 c. packed coconut
- 1/2 c. wheat germ or wheat bran (omit if you want it gluten-free)
- 2/3 c. slivered almonds
- 1 c. dried cherries
- 1/4-1/3 c. chocolate chips
3. Press into a greased 9 x 12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Score lightly while still warm; cut through when cool.