One of my biggest life cheerleaders is my BFF, Stefanie, who has been my BFF since I was in fourth grade. When you have a great friend like that for so long – you kind of share everything such as secrets, thoughts, laughs, ideas, and even recipes! She has tried all my recipes that I have posted and I am forever in debt to our friendship for the kindness she has always given me throughout the years.
I can recall, that at the end of each day in middle school, we used to walk FAR to Taco Bell and order the same thing, a double-decker taco and a soda. Sometimes we used to sit and talk over a bowl of ice cream or watch TV to chips and cheese whiz, (may I add, we used to squirt the whole can of cheese whiz in our mouths until it was gone!) We used to talk endlessly about nothing (or should I say a long list of boys, haha) while lying on her bed and munching on a can of Pringles, and we would walk to “Triangles,” a local neighborhood store, to purchase a milky way bar, Mountain Dew and some candy smokes all while enjoying each others companionship. We even snuck in a few swigs of Triple Sec from her parent’s basement a few times… Yes, food and our friendship (including drinking!) have always went well together!
But at last, and most unfortunately, my metabolism doesn’t like me as much as it used to and instead we now swap recipes – healthier recipes! She made a great granola bar recipe that I recreated and fell in love with. To make a healthier version, add pumpkin seeds, walnuts, any kind of nuts, applesauce or even dried fruit! Here’s from my best friend to you, my new friend. May our bellys be full and our friendships grow deep!
· 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
· 1 cup all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2/3 cup butter, softened OR APPLESAUCE **note when subbing applesauce also add ½ tsp salt**
· 1/2 cup honey
· 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
· 2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc.
3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.
Very slight changes in mine:
- 4 1/2 cups Old Fashion Style Oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- · 1 teaspoon baking soda
- · 1 teaspoon almond extract
- · 2/3 cup butter, softened
- · 1/2 cup honey
- · 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- · 1 cup Peanut butter and milk chocolate morsels
- 1/2 cup vanilla granola
- 1/2 cup almonds
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. I very lightly greased my stoneware – seriously I’m so funny about things sticking! If I take all this time to make something, I don’t want it to stick! Okay, or you can grease a 9×13 pan.
3. In an electric mixer, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, almond, honey and brown sugar. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Place mixture into prepared pan. If your pan is long and skinny, you will have smaller uniformed granola bars. I used my stoneware so it was thick and chewy.
5. Place in oven for 23-25 minutes (stoneware longer by 2-3 minutes, keep checking for the top to be firm). Pull out and WAIT until it cools. I waited 15 minutes and flipped, well, it all fell apart. I have to admit, I didn’t mind, it was great in all different pieces on its own.
6. When cooled, serve and enjoy
NOTE: Next time, I’m going to melt some chocolate and pour it on top!