I just have to say: Oh my stars it is December first and sunny (and, yes, freezing) in the Northwest. This makes me happy for so many reasons.
For one thing, I have recently begun running again (I stopped when it was "too hot" about three months ago and for some reason just never started back up when it cooled down) and I have so far only run in the wind/rain/cold/dark. Which just isn't a ton of fun. But now that it is clear and dry, I will be much more excited about my 20-minute-if-I'm-lucky little jog.
In college, I ran a lot. As in four to six miles a day. Way back then, I ran because I knew it was good for my body, and to relieve stress. Those were the days. Now, I have started
I know that I eat healthy for the most part, but snacking is difficult. We all want something that won't require a lot of preparation and is available to eat right away, but no one wants to fill their bodies with the sugar and chemicals that store-bought snack foods are loaded down with.
Enter homemade granola bars. However, I have even had my struggles with these. When I first started recipe searching for granola bars, all I could find were instructions to make granola, then add sugar and fat to make it stick together. If this were a dessert, I may have been okay with that. But I don't want a granola bar to be something I feel like I can only eat once all my veggies are cleared from my dinner plate. I want a healthy, filling snack. The recipe I found and adapted is from Jessica Seinfeld's doitdelicious website. I omitted the chocolate from it and increased the dry to wet ingredient ratio because I felt the bars were a little too gooey and tasted too sweet to snack on.
The resulting recipe requires that the bars be left in the pan for a while too cool and harden before they can easily be transported as bars, but you can totally pick away at the corners while you wait. I did.
Quick and Simple Trail Mix Bars
adapted from Jessica Seinfeld's No-Bake Energy Bars
2 c oats
1 c nuts, chopped (I used slivered almonds and halved peanuts)
1/2 c dried fruit, chopped if needed (I used dried cranberries)
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes
2-3 tbsp flax meal
1/2 c brown rice syrup
1/4 c nut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
Cover a 9x9 (or similar size) pan with a sheet of wax paper. Coat with cooking spray.
Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Heat rice syrup and nut butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until well-combined and creamy. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly coated, scrapping the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly until bars are densely packed into the pan. Let the bars cool for one hour before cutting into squares. Wrap individually in wax paper or saran wrap for easy transport. Enjoy.