Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hiking Sustenance ~ Recipe

It's raining today. Actually it's freezing rain, to be more specific. We were planning on attending the last Dog Gone Snow Stomp of the season, but it's really too dangerous to be out right now. If it was just rain, I would totally go; I'm not afraid of getting wet, and neither is Charlie. But the sidewalks are glare ice and every step could result in a fall. I'd just rather not take any chances!

Charlie seems content to be lazy today, so I'm going to take advantage of this reprieve by working in the kitchen. In yesterday's post, you may have seen me refer to home-made granola bars. I'm going to share my recipe for these today, and if you like them as much as I do, you'll probably never buy store-bought ones again! I love taking these along hiking with me because they're full of good stuff like nuts and oats and also very satisfying to my sweet tooth. Plus you can modify the recipe for your own tastes.

Granola Bars
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toast the following ingredients for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup oat bran (or wheat germ)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

Mix following ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat stirring constantly:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey (up to 1/2 cup if you like them sweeter)
4 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

The sauce pan mixture will start to get bubbly and that's how you know it's ready.

Mix the toasted oat mixture with the sauce pan mixture and stir together in a large bowl.

Stir in a cup of chocolate chips or dried fruit during this step... be creative! Sometimes I use chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried blueberries or raisins. You can also leave it plain.
Pour mixture into a 9x13 cake pan lined with parchment paper or wax paper sprayed with cooking spray and press down firmly with a spoon or some extra wax paper.
Let pan cool for 2-3 hours then remove from pan and cut into bars. Store them in a covered container.