Monday, January 14, 2013

Oh So Simple DIY: Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars!



Do you ever get a snack attack at the worst time? Does this snack attack make you gravitate towards the candy bar aisle stocked with evil little snacks wrapped in colorful wrappers and laced with unhealthy high fructose corn syrup? Have no fear snack-speare! These delectable protein-packed granola bars will make the answer to snack or not to snack easier than ever!

Making your own granola bars may sound like a daunting task, however don't just push it aside and leave it to the professionals at Kashi or Special-K just yet. You can harbor the culinary expertise to craft your own healthy and delicious treats! Stocking up on the ingredients to make these yourself is cheaper and healthier! This way - you now exactly what you're eating, because you made it yourself, not some factory worker god knows where.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of Sunbelt low fat granola cereal (with cinnamon, almonds, and raisins already included)
  • 1/4 of a cup of Trader Joe's "Better'n Peanut Butter" spread
  • One banana
  • 1 cup of splenda/light brown sugar mixed
  • 1 tablespoon of dry roasted peanuts
Big picture: Sunbelt lowfat granola cereal. Top: Trader Joe's "Better'n Peanut Butter. Middle: Splenda. Bottom: Domino Light Brown Sugar


Procedure:

First things first, Preheat your oven to 350.

1.  Most granola bar recipes call for honey, however I found my house to be honey-less. So, I improvised and made a light brown sugar simple syrup. The thicket simple syrups are made with equal parts water and sugar. In a medium saucepan, simmer 1 cup water and 1 cup of combined splenda and light brown sugar. Mix for two minutes. 
2. Stir in 1/4 of a cup of Trader Joe's "Better'n Peanut Butter spread. I use this because it's 85% less fat than peanut butter (peanut butter can get fatty), 40% less calories (100 calories for 2 tablespoons), it's all natural, trans fat and saturated fat free, gluten free, you get the point. Anyway, stir this in for two minutes or until it is totally melted and mixed with the simple syup and it's all one solution.
3. Pour this solution into a bowl.
4. In a seperate bowl, mix two cups of Sunbelt low fat granola cereal, one banana, and 1 tablespoon of dry roasted peanuts.
5. Like any other good baking recipe, combine your wet and dry ingredients by pouring the simple syrup over the granola. Mix until it's all combined, wait a little for the oats to absorb the simple syrup completely.
6.  Pour into a tin-foil lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it begins to dry.
7. Take out and chill in the refrigerator until they are however you want them.
8. Cut up, serve, and enjoy!

Exactly how many calories is each satisfying and savory bar? Let's do the math!
2 cups granola: 600 calories
2 tbsp better'n peanut butter: 100 calories
1 banana: 80 calories
handful of dry roasted peanuts - 83 calories
I made 8 bars, so divide 863/8 and you get... only 109 calories per bar! A delicious snack only for about 100 calories!

Left, the mix right after adding the simple syrup. Drain at this point if you want. Right, the mixture spread on a tin foiled lined baking pan.

Ta-da! The finished product. Share these with friends or hog them all for yourself - either way healthy snacking is happy living!

Listen:
Melrose Diner - The Wonder Years
Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia
Better Than You (feat. Rita Ora)  - Conor Maynard