It’s been a while… I know. I haven’t tried many new recipes and have been resorting to some tried, tested and true meals I know the whole family will eat. Most of these recipes already appear on the blog. Also, with the end of summer, vacation and back to school keeping me busy, time to blog about the few new recipes I have tried has been sparse.
Speaking of back to school, that means back to packing lunches. This is the first year I have to pack full-day lunches for my eldest (who is now in grade 1… where does time fly?!) and in order to make my life a little easier, I decided to try prepping as much as possible ahead of time. Today, I made a full batch of ham & cheese wraps to keep in the freezer along with some banana chocolate chip mini loaves and these fabulous homemade, nut-free granola bars with oats, flax-seed, pumpkin, cranberries and chocolate chips. I’ve been making these for a few years; the recipe is dead-simple and the kids (and I!) enjoy them.
The recipe is based on Looneyspoons’ recipe, GRAINola Bars, but excludes any form of nut since the boy’s lunches must be nut-free.
Homemade, nut-free granola bars
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (don’t use instant!)
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (make sure you use pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/2 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Let the paper overhang on two sides, that way it’s easier to lift the granola bars out of the pan after you’re done baking.
Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until all the dry ingredients are coated with the pumpkin mixture and pour everything into the pan.
Spread the mixture evenly, using your hands to press the granola down firmly so it’s tightly packed in the pan.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the top turns a golden brown and feels dry to the touch. I’ve found that I can really tell it’s done is when the edges of the granola start to shrink away from the side of the pan.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, lift the slab of granola by holding on to the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the granola into about 16 bars (about 1 1/2 x 4 inches each)
I freeze the bars in a freezer bag and separate each bar by a piece of wax paper. Otherwise, you can store them at room temperature or in the fridge in an airtight container.