Granola bars, which make a quick and easy snack or in my case breakfast on the run, were one of my weekly grocery expenses. But not anymore, now I make my own which are much healthier and budget friendly.

Here I will share my recipe which was inspired by the Barefoot Contessa (Food Network star Ina Garten). Keep in mind that you can personalize this recipe and make it your own, which is what I did.

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup wheat germ

1 cup flax seeds

1 cup honey

½ cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Other things you will need:

Parchment paper

Baking dish

Large mixing bowl

Large spoon or spatula

Knife

Measuring cup

Measuring spoon

Timer (most ovens or microwaves have one)

Oven glove

Small saucepan

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 10 x 15 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl add rolled oats, almonds and sunflower seeds and mix with a large spoon or spatula. Once all three ingredients are well combined toss on to lined baking dish and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, stir occasionally.
  3. Once ingredients are lightly browned, take baking dish out of the oven and transfer on to your large mixing bowl, stir in wheat germ and flax seeds, combined well. (Set aside baking dish lined with parchment paper will be needed later.  See step six).
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees (immediately after completing step three).
  5. In a small saucepan add butter (or margarine), brown sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and honey and bring to boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble, then pour over the toasted oats and almond mixture in large bowl (step three ingredients). Add the dried apricots and cranberries and mix well.
  6. Pour mixture into the previously lined baking dish.
  7. Lightly press the mixture and spread out evenly into the baking dish (you can use your fingers, spatula or another sheet of parchment paper, but remember the mix will be warm, be careful) and bake for 30-35 minutes, until light golden brown.
  8. Cool for about 2 to 3 hours before cutting into bars.

After cutting the granola into bars (or squares) they can be wrapped with saran wrap (plastic wrap) and stored for future consumption.

Hope you enjoy this recipe; remember to personalize it by adding your favorite dried fruits, seeds or nuts.

 ~~~CAT~~~

Additional information: all ingredients were bought from bulk (non-packaged items sold separately at most grocery stores), which were less than $5 (honey not included). Also, this recipe makes about 14 good size bars, feel free to reduce the ingredients or increase depending on the size of your family or needs.
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