Simply Healthy Family: Home Made Banana-Chocolate Crisp Granola Bars {and a Secret-Under Cover Give Away!}


Home Made Banana-Chocolate Crisp Granola Bars {and a Secret-Under Cover Give Away!}

I'm always thinking of healthy, home made snacks I can throw together for myself and the troops. I love a good snack that is loaded with good ingredients. One that will keep you feeling satisfied and energetic (not too energetic when it comes to the kids, there's a fine line...) and most importantly, one that is grab and go! Go. Go. Go. We are always on the run here; play dates, park outings, sports, practices, errand running, Dr. appointments and so on and so forth. There's nothing worse than being out and about with cranky hungry kids (and mommies) and having to go through a drive-thru or stop and a 'convienience' market for a processed, uber unhealthy, over priced snack. *yuchh! 

At the very least I try to grab a re-usable/home-made bag {snack bag} of mixed nuts and dried fruit and maybe some cheese sticks to take with me. Keeping a bag of mixed nuts in your cars center console will come in handy for emergency snacking and help you keep off that weight and save money! All good things in my book.

Then there's the issue of healthy school snacks. You know how I feel about that right?  Passionate.
I've mentioned my thoughts on sending processed and sugary snacks to school for my kids. It really, really isn't very hard to make home made granola bars, whole grain cookies or fruit bars. They come in so many forms your bound to find one that works for your family.

Also, again at the very least send fruit (yes, your kids will eat it if they are hungry and they know that holding out and whining will get them 'fruit' gummies or twinkies). Some of our favorite school and at home snacks are; Whole fruits, veggie medley with hummus or buttermilk-poppy seed dip,  mixed nuts and dried fruit, cheese sticks, Greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds and dried fruit, whole grain crackers with nut butter etc. These all work for you too! All are wonderful mid-afternoon pick-me-up's!

There are lots of  simple, school box friendly snacks for you right........ here on my blog. Go on, try one!

Let me know what you think and your favorite ideas for school snacks, I'd LOVE to know!

The secret to these granola bars is this cereal. It's very gently kissed with chocolate.
Who doesn't want to be kissed by chocolate?
I'm not talking about the 'other' chocolaty cereals that are loaded with sugar.
This brown rice cereal is just ever-so-slightly sweetened and a whole grain to boot.

Secret Under Cover Give Away!
O.K. If any of you can tell me what type of  plant I have dangling in the background I will send you TWO of my home made, super cute reusable snack bags! (pics coming soon)
 {To the first person with the correct anwnser!}

For the Banana-Chocolate Crisp Granola Bars

You Will Need:

1 cup slivered almonds
1  cups cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup banana chips, chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I use Coach's Oats)
1 1/2 cups {chocolate flavored} brown rice crisp cereal
* 1 cup brown rice syrup (sold at Whole Foods and other “natural” stores)
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Putting them together:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the oats, almonds and cashews on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for  8-10 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit. Remove from oven and let cool.
In the meantime, line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside {can use butter or coconut oil}. Now, mix the rice cereal, banana chips and cinnamon in a big bowl. Add the oats and nuts once they’ve cooled.

In a small saucepan, heat the syrups, salt and vanilla extract over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a gentle boil, continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts mixture. Mix everything together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl.

While it’s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so it’s nice and compacted (I did this again after about 10 minutes to make them nice and compressed). Let cool to room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a bit since this’ll make cutting easier.

Cut them into square or rectangles as you please.  Store them in a airtight container in the refrigerator.

recipe very slightly adapted from Bitchen Camero

*Brown Rice Syrup

* brown rice syrup = rice syrup = rice bran syrup = rice malt = yinnie syrup  

Notes:   Health buffs like this because it contains complex sugars, which are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream.  It's about half as sweet as ordinary table sugar. Some rice syrups include barley malt, and may pose a problem for people with gluten allergies.  Substitutes:  maple syrup (substitute 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons liquid for each cup of brown rice syrup) OR molasses (substitute 1/2 cup for each cup of brown rice syrup) OR barley malt syrup (substitute 3/4 cup for each cup of brown rice syrup) OR honey (substitute 3/4 C honey plus 2 tablespoons liquid for every cup of brown rice syrup)
The Cooks Thesaurus

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{Healthy Mamma}
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  1. (And I would love love love a reusable snack bag!)

  2. definitely going to try this one! i've been dreaming up some new granola bars and these look perfect. thanks gwen!

  3. I would love to be kissed by chocolate...and I would love those snack bags, but I'm terrible with botany! But thank you for sharing your sweetness with me. This was a great way to end my Monday. I hope you have a safe and happy week!

  4. Homemade museli bars like these are my favourite! The ingredients you've listed are delicious. My favourite school treat was always dried fruit or carrot sticks with dip.

  5. i don't keep ANY processed foods around and I can't see that changing when I have hopefully they won't know what a twinkie is until they're at least 25. Which is when I'll let them leave the house on their own :P

    These granola bars sound delicious! I want them as a school snack!

  6. I'm going to say bamboo.

    I love your ideas Gwen. They are so creative. I love keeping almonds with me. I just buy the raw ones from Costco and dry toast them. Also, I like to take a little flat bread thingy (they are called "Flatouts" at Costco) and I stuff it with dijon mustard, roasted turkey and a huge handful of baby spinach. That's know around here as "mommy's breakfast". I like it because I can take it in the car and it sticks with me so much longer than cereal or even oatmeal. It would be a good take along lunch too.

    A snack the kids love are the organic dried figs from costco. They are delish. I give them that and some pretzels or wheat crackers. They love that for afternoon snack...and we mommies know it keeps the poos regular;)

    Oh! and I voted! Good luck Mama, I love your blog! I've never heard of that before. Where have I been?

  7. Look fabulous! Can't wait to try these! I know they will be a hit!

  8. Great idea for a granola bar. I don't have kids at home anymore, but my husband loves treats. This looks like a terrific alternative for him and me.


  9. Your granola looks fabulous... just voted for you!

  10. Thank You Everyone!
    @Lauren, I love those things!
    @Monet, Mother Rimmy and Monet, there not just for kids! They're perfect to take to work, on a hike whatever! ;)
    *Oh, and no correct guesses yet! ;)

  11. This is fab, because I make granola bars all the time but I've been tweaking my recipe recently to get it blog-ready (it's popular with the family but somewhat crumbly) and I have been wondering how brown rice syrup would work to hold them together, since my very favorite granola recipe ever also uses brown rice syrup with great success. And how is that for a run-on sentence? Anyway, now I know I should give it a try. :) Also, I love the addition of banana chips! That's one dried fruit I don't think I've ever put in my granola bars.

  12. Ditto Joanne (though when is there ever a moment she and I don't think alike?) I really hope to keep up with healthy homemade meals and snacks and avoiding processed foods - this is great inspiration! The only problem might be if I ate 'em all myself and didn't save any for the lil' ones, which I could totally see happening... oops.

  13. Hi Gwen, I have an award for you. Please drop by to collect when you can. Thank you!
    Is that a bamboo plant?? :)

  14. Thank you! No, sorry not Bamboo. Not Eucalyptus. ;)

  15. i love anything home made - thanks for sharing :O)

  16. Anonymous3/17/2011

    I would really love to make these, however, I have everything on hand except the cereal. Do you think I could use plain brown rice cereal with good results? I would think the brown rice syrup and maple syrup would make it sweet enough. Thoughts? Thanks.

  17. @ Anonymous, Yes, absolutely. Brown rice cereal (or even rice Krispies) would work fine. The syrups and banana chips do make them sweet enough and the nuts saltiness make them perfect.

    If you really wanted you could add a tablespoon of cocoa powder or carob or choc chips. but the chocolate is really not important to the taste of these.

  18. Hi Gwen,... is that the picture of the "Balloon Plant"... now you got me really curious!

  19. No, sorry not a Balloon Plant. Good guess.
    I'm going to give a hint in my post tomorow so stay tuned! If no one gets it after that I'll give it up. ;)

  20. Alright, I have no idea what that plant is. But I've been looking for brown rice cereal for quite awhile. Where did you find your box?!

  21. Here in Phx I find it at Sprouts, Fry's Marketplace & Whole Foods.

  22. Looks delicious! Will try it out! Thanks a lot!

  23. Hi Gwen

    I have made similar museli bars before. I love your version.

    You have a great blog. I am now your follower. I invite you to follow my blog.

  24. Hi Gwen

    I have made similar museli bars before. I love your version.

    You have a great blog. I am now your follower. I invite you to follow my blog.

  25. Looks delicious! Will try it out! Thanks a lot!


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