I always seem to surround myself with people who I refer to as planners. You know the type. They don’t leave home without a to-do list, they schedule vacations a year in advance, and their Christmas shopping is completed well before November 1. I don’t know about you, but if I’m ever going to take a cross-country road trip in a snow storm, I’m riding with them.
Flashlights? Check. Extra clothing? Check. First aid kit complete with groovy metallic “space” blanket? Check. These friends think of everything in impressive detail and it comforts me.
So I guess I don’t exactly need to state the obvious. I am NOT a planner. I’ve always tra-la-la’ed out the door under-hydrated, without a proper jacket, and on the edge of hunger. Never a good thing.
Having to live gluten-free and with a child with multiple food allergies has forced me to become a planner. I admit that in the beginning there was some kicking and screaming, but it does get easier. I now know that our health depends on taking the extra time to be prepared. If we get hungry on the road, or because soccer practice runs late, we must have provisions.
Recently I’ve spent some time thinking about what helps people successfully transition to gluten-free living and I know that it’s just this. Be prepared. Have a plan. Carry snacks…..and lots of them.
In a snowstorm, these granola bars have got your back.
Homemade Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free certified)*
- 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
- 1/2 cup ground flax (I use “golden flax”)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup dried fruit of choice (I usually do a mix of cherries and raisins)
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life Mega Chunks are good for corn-free bakers)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (butter will work too if you eat dairy)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* If you are on a gluten-free diet please double check with your doctor before consuming oats. Even gluten-free certified ones can cause tummy troubles for some.
Notes: If you can’t find quinoa flakes, feel free to substitute them with a ½ cup of any of the following: sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or additional oats. Use this recipe as a general formula, plugging in your favorite items and combinations. Just make sure to keep the same ratio of “dry” ingredients to “wet” ingredients. For instance, if you want to skip the chocolate, you can add 2/3 cup nuts or additional dried fruit instead. Have fun and invent your family favorite!
→ Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a 9X12 inch pan with parchment, allowing the edges to hang over (so that you will have “handles” when you lift the cooled granola bars out of the pan later).
→ In the bowl of your electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) place the oats, coconut, quinoa flakes, ground flax, sea salt, and cinnamon. Mix on lowest speed for about 1 minute or until thoroughly combined.
→ Add the melted coconut oil, honey and brown sugar. Mix for 1-2 minutes on low speed or until the dry ingredients are well coated with the honey and oil.
→ Add the dried fruit and chocolate and mix on low until evenly distributed.
→ Scrape the granola bar mixture out into the center of the lined sheet pan:
→ Working with wet hands (I work near my sink) firmly press the granola mixture until it is a tight, even layer. Make sure to keep an even thickness and press all the way to the edges and into the corners. Leave the extra parchment so that you have a good way to lift the baked bars out of the pan.
→ Allow the bars to cool for 2 hours (don’t rush this part!) in the pan. Then lift the slab out onto a cutting board and using a serrated knife cut the bars into your desired shapes and sizes. To get neat bars and to avoid shattering, score the bars with a knife first. Continue to run the knife through the scored grooves until they will almost snap apart by hand.
→ Store in a heavy duty ziploc bag in the freezer.