My cupboards have been boring lately. I feel as though I'm stuck in a "snack rut". It's like every day presents the same old same old with our kids and their snacks and my goal is to constantly be creating and re-creating healthy snacks and meals. So when I look in the cupboard and see walnuts, almonds, cashews, raisins, rice crackers and the odd pretzel I just feel like it's bland. We don't buy pre-packaged, period. So the pre-made items are scant.
We mix it up with muffins quite often - always different kinds. And granola bars are pretty common around here...but tonight I wanted to make them fun.
I think that's possible.
And in the same breath I didn't want to see other food items go stale because I wanted to make something "fun". So, I did what I've done before but took it a little further...let's call these "everything but the kitchen sink bars". Because, I think we need to get creative in our cooking (or baking) and think out of the box...way, way, out of the box. And if a certain four year old hadn't been fast asleep, I likely wouldn have let him (randomly) chose some of that "everything" which now make up these good lookin' bars.
The recipe (I use that term loosely) went something like this...
3 cups whole oats
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
1/4 cup coconut
1/8 cup bran (original)
2/3 cup trail mix (including dried pineapple, mango, dates, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, banana chips, raisins)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup (real!) butter
1/4 cup organic agave nectar
Mix and spoon (and press down) into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for approx 15 mins, until edges are brown or your husband finds you out in the yard gardening to let you know the timer has been beeping for a few minutes...oops. Perhaps it was closer to 18 mins.
Aside from the "getting creative with cooking" side of things, the fact of the matter is this folks: If we set aside those small handfuls of crushed shreddies, those broken pretzel pieces at the bottom of the container, those annoying little sunflower seeds leftover after all the "good stuff" has been eaten from the trail mix we would quickly realize the amount of waste actually occurring in our households. Those of us who take consumerism and serious waste quite seriously, fail to realize that we are often still wasting. The saying "there are children in Africa who are starving and didn't have any supper tonight" holds major weight around here and we intend to practice what we preach by being better stewards of blessings.
So if your celery is gettin' a little bendy, stir-fry it up instead of throwing it out. Compost it if you must - at least your garden will reap the benefit. If your kids are whining about the cereal being mushy in the milk because of all the little crumbs at the bottom, store the crumbs and use them in your next batch of granola (bars) or cookies...they add a little extra crunch. Trust me.
Get creative. Use it all up.
Waste less. Dream more.
Have fun. Involve the kids.
Branch out (seriously...pretzels broken into granola bars with bran cereal?!).
Be. Good. Stewards. With. What. You. Have.
And as a side note, I found this site tonight and can't wait to give it a little more attention tomorrow...enjoy!