Granola Bars

My children love snacks, and homemade granola bars never last long in this house.

They are a simple thing to make, and what I love about them is that they’re so versatile; I can use what I have on hand and they always taste great.  They start with a few basic ingredients, and you can be creative from there.

Begin with 1 cup of margarine or butter

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Melt the butter and add 2 cups brown sugar.

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Pour in 1 cup light corn syrup

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and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

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Next, add 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter.

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Stir the ingredients together until it forms a sort of smooth paste.

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Add 1 cup shredded coconut

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and 5 cups oatmeal.  (You can also do half oatmeal and half rice krispies for variety.)

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Stir together, and then start adding whatever your family will like.
In this batch, I added some chopped smoked almonds (about 1/2 cup)

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I also added 1/2 cup flax seeds

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and 2/3 cup sunflower seeds.

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Finally,  I added about 1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips.

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Stir well.  The key is to have the mixture sticking together in large clumps.
As long as you do that, you can add whatever you’d like.
I like to add wheat germ, but I’m out of that today.  My family likes nuts, so I always add some.
You can also add raisins or other dried fruit, or any other flavor that you love in granola bars.

Next I dump the mixture onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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I usually save the wrappers from the butter and I use them to help spread and pack down the mixture a little before I bake it.

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Spread the mixture to the edges of the pan.

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Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the granola bars are just beginning to brown a little bit.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Now, my family always manages to get permission to cut them while they’re still a little bit warm.
They’re yummy warm, but I must warn you that they fall apart more.
If you let them cool for several hours or even overnight, then they will cut well and hold their shape without crumbling.

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These granola bars are really yummy and they’re also filling.
Granted, they have brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in them.
But I also tend to pack them with other healthy nuts so my kids are eating something with a lot more substance then most store-bought granola bars.  Furthermore, the children love them because they’re delicious!

These store well.  When school is in, I usually make a bunch and wrap them individually for quick and easy lunch assembly in the mornings.  If I don’t cut them up and store some quickly, the whole pan disappears before I know it!

Hopeful Homemaker’s Granola Bars

1 cup melted butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
5 cups oatmeal (or a combination of oatmeal and rice krispy cereal)
sunflower seeds
wheat germ
nuts of any kind
raisins
chocolate chips
any other flavor you’d like to supplement!

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease cookie sheet.  In large bowl, melt butter and combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and peanut butter.  Stir well until mixture forms a good paste.  Add coconut and oatmeal and stir well.  Start adding in whatever ingredients you want, as long as the mixture sticks together in large clumps.  Press onto cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are bubbly and it is beginning to turn golden brown.  Cool completely and cut into bars.
For a 9×13 pan, cut this recipe in half.

Free at last!

Some mothers dread having their children out of school for the summer.

Not this one.
I didn’t want to send them back after spring break.

Yesterday was our last day of school, and let me just tell you how good it feels to be done.

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I realize that it means lots of noise all day long and nonstop trips to the kitchen for something to eat.
(But, you see, with 3 preschoolers and a kindergartener, I already have that every day.)

What makes me jump for joy is that now I am free to do what is best for US, not what is best for someone else’s schedule, priorities, and so forth.

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Sure, summer brings its own brand of busyness, but it’s the kind that allows us to do what meets our needs, and let everything else go.  It means my little ones can nap until they wake up, not until it’s time to get in the car and pick someone up from somewhere.

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It means I can quit accumulating hundreds of new freckles on the left side of my face simply by not being in the car for several hours every afternoon!

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It means we can read until the book ends, play until it’s dark outside, work until the job is done, and generally experience good, old-fashioned childhood for a while.

Worth celebrating?   YES!!!!

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And let me tell you, as happy as the kids are, THE MOM IS EVEN HAPPIER!

(P.S. My daughter is wearing a skort, so any questionable views are of the shorts underneath, nothing more.  Just so ya know.)

Grapefruit Slush

This is a recipe that my Aunt shared with me a few years ago.
In my recipe book it’s written on a 3×5 card in her handwriting.  I like that.
I’ve modified it just a little, but it’s super yummy.  It has more substance and less sugar than the  Slush that I grew up eating.

And it’s so pretty!

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The recipe is very simple.  You just have to make it at least 24 hours before you want to serve it so that it has time to freeze.

First, combine 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water in a saucepan.

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Bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat to cool.

Meanwhile, open two cans of grapefruit.  With a fork, remove the grapefruit from the cans while preserving as much juice as possible.

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Place the grapefruit sections on a cutting board.

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Slice the grapefruit into small pieces.

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Put the grapefruit back into the cans.  Drain the juice from a bottle of maraschino cherries.
Pour them onto a cutting board.

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Now chop them up!

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When the sugar syrup has cooled, add the grapefruit to it.

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Then add the chopped cherries.

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Now open two cans of crushed pineapple and dump them in.  No draining!

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Stir it together.

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Pour the slush into a large freezer-safe container.
I like to save the big plastic buckets that we sometimes buy ice cream in.
They are perfect for freezing things like this.
Now freeze the slush for 24 hours or until firm.

To serve, remove from freezer and let soften until you can scoop it.
Place slush in a cup and add some 7-UP or Sprite.

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Grab a spoon and enjoy!
This is a great summertime refresher.

Here’s the recipe:

Grapefruit Slush

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 cans grapefruit sections (around 14 oz.)
1 jar maraschino cherries
2 cans crushed pineapple (20 oz.)
2 liters 7-Up or Sprite (you could also use ginger ale)

Combine sugar and water in large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Boil for 2 minutes and remove from heat to cool.
Remove grapefruit from cans, reserving juice, and chop.
Drain jar of maraschino cherries.  Chop cherries into small pieces.

When sugar syrup has cooled somewhat, add grapefruit and grapefruit juice.
Add maraschino cherries.  Open cans of pineapple and add.
Stir well.  Pour into large freezer-safe container and freeze 24 hours or until firm.

To serve, thaw slush at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Spoon in to glasses, top with 7-UP or Sprite.
Enjoy!

Makes about 1 gallon of slush.

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