Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homemade Granola Bars & More

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A few years ago I decided that I wanted to eliminate processed food from my family's diet.  I started out thinking we would be so healthy and eat wonderful food.  What I didn't realize is that I would have to learn how to make quite a few foods from scratch that I use to just buy at the store.  During my learning curve (my poor family) I made graham crackers, yogurt, grape nuts cereal, bread, crackers, pretzels, pasta (which really is easier to just buy), and many dinners.  What I learned is that this all ties into food storage.  How many of you have buckets of wheat, flour, sugar, oats, etc in your basement and have them for a "just in case" type incident?  I know I did, but now I have learned how to make really fun things with my food storage.

This month we are storing baking goods.  This includes yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oil, chocolate chips, etc.  Along with baking items I feel that we may all need a lesson in baking from scratch.  I know I have said it before, but we all need to know how to make food with our stored items before an emergency and we have to cook everything from scratch.  It took me MANY attempts to get my bread right and with 5 hungry children the bread needs to come out edible.  

Now I know we are all busy and we all can't spend hours every day (which is what pioneer women did) making all our family's meals from scratch, but I want everyone to make a goal to try one new food item a month and practice making it from scratch.  During my "from scratch" months I made marshmallows and graham crackers for our vacation.  Those were yummy s'mores!  If you couldn't run to the store what would you need to know how to make? (oh, and P.S.-I do buy some boxed items at the store now.  I couldn't keep up with the demand. :)

If you would like to try graham crackers click HERE to view my favorite recipe.  

This post has my favorite granola recipe. Click HERE to read. 

**A great way to learn anything is to google it.  This is how I got many recipes and learned how to make many items that I didn't know the first thing about. ** 

Every week I make bread, and I also make granola bars for my kid's lunches.  It is simple and quick and you don't even have to turn on your oven!

Easy Granola Bars
In a large bowl mix 2 C oats & 2 1/2 C crispy rice cereal and set aside.
In a small saucepan melt:
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C corn syrup
Let it come to a boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat. Add:
1/2 C peanut butter (crunchy is a must!)
1 t vanilla 
Stir until the peanut butter melts.  Pour over the oat mixture and stir quickly because the sugar mixture will harden.  Pour into a 13x9 greased pan and press with your palm until flat and even.  I like to press on it until it is quite compact so it doesn't fall apart when you cut it.
Melt 1/2-1 C chocolate chips in the microwave and smooth over the top of the granola bars.  Once the chocolate has cooled cut into bars.

November Goals:
  1. Cooking essentials-yeast, baking powder, baking soda, spices, oils, flour, sugar,salt, etc. 
  2.  Personal Hygiene supplies.  Watch for sales and buy enough to last for 3 months.  This includes all feminine hygiene items, diapers/wipes, soaps, shampoo's, deodorants, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, hand sanitizer,etc.  And if you don't have a portable potty, this is the month to finally get one put together.  Click HERE to view a previous post on luggable loo's.  

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