Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cooking Up Fuel: Homemade Granola Bars

I love food. And I love to cook. Growing up, my father, a chemist, said, "Good chemists are good cooks." The science is strong in my family tree. My dad and my brother are chemists that have 'food' at the end of their names - Phd. There were dinner conversations I just didn't understand. In turn, it gave me a greater opportunity to savor the food. I thought I was going to pave a new path getting my degree in biology teaching. I've never taught biology as a job. I was hired to teach chemistry and loved teaching it. Consequently, I married a chemistry teacher. Our poor children.

My husband and I have a deal. The first time I try a recipe I have to follow the directions. I'm a tweaker. Or an adapter. I have a hard time not substituting. I sub for taste, health, fat, eggs, even dairy. So our rule is the first time is by the book. After that, I have license. The deal does have some flex of course.

Target has these chocolate graham knock off Zone Bars that are delish! I love to eat them before a long run. They are yummy and don't irritate my tummy. However, a few of things became a problem. One, my mileage went up a lot last year and 'long' could mean 4 miles up to 14 miles. Two, they are pricey. It's four dollars for five bars. I was going through a box a week. Three, I don't go to Target very often, not often enough to sustain my consumption.

I could make my own. I've been doing that a lot more lately. We try something and I say, "I bet I could make that." We now make our own potstickers, sushi and a variety of dishes from around the world. I don't deep fry and avoid recipes with lots of butter. I'll eat it if somebody else makes it. I'd rather not know how oily it is.

I was going to put my three favorite recipes in one post but looking at it now, it would be too long. This is the most popular recipe at the house. The girls love it too as you will see.

Jo-Ann's Power Bars on AllRecipes.com

  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat and barley nugget cereal (e.g. Grape-Nuts™)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (7 ounce) bag chopped dried mixed fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cereal, and cinnamon. Add the egg, applesauce, honey, brown sugar, and oil. Mix well. Stir in the sunflower seeds, walnuts, and dried fruit. Spread mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 30 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned around the edges. Let cool. Use the foil to lift from the pan. Cut into bars or squares, and store in the refrigerator.               

Today I didn't have applesauce so I substituted pumpkim.

It goes easily in the toaster oven.

First piece - pumpkin, chocolate, raisin, sunflower seed & walnuts

Perfect size for little hands

This recipe begs to be tweaked. I've made it gluten free, sugar free and definitely included chocolate. I've added protein powder. Combos of cranberries and white chocolate or raisins and dark chocolate. It's quick, yummy and easy. Smear some peanut butter on it. Add more sunflower seeds instead of walnuts.


Oh the problem of sharing! Must make more :)


  1. Thanks for posting this - I can't wait to try it. We can't buy granola bars anymore because of Micah's peanut allergy. I've been looking for a good homemade replacement!

  2. Miriam, I hope these work for you. The egg is really the key to keeping it together. You can add almost anything you want. Sorry about the allergy. I'm assuming it has a huge impact on what you can eat or buy.

  3. Making these right now - thank you so much for this!