If I had it my way, my daily breakfast regimen would consist of egg whites, and spinach. There'd be freshly ground coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a croissant from Bread Line.
The reality of my daily breakfast is much different – I cram a granola bar in my purse as I rush out the door, down 14th Street. I get to work and make standard issue office coffee (oh, but wait! We have vanilla Coffeemate!). I start my day.
If you're like me and long for a taste of home made something (anything!) during the daily grind, all it takes is a little planning ahead and proper utilization of your leftovers. No, I'm not talking about “surprise omelets” (or funky casseroles or anything else you usually whip up with refrigerator refugees). I'm talking about granola bars.
A quick Google search will reveal about a hundred different recipes. My theory is that a lot of people are on to my little secret – you can make them with just about anything you've got lurking in your cupboard. All those little things left over from your Christmas cookies, office pot lucks and bread machine experiments. Oats, cinnamon, wheat germ, chocolate chips, almonds, dried fruit, walnuts, peanut butter, honey, agave nectar…you name it. They all add up to a lot of protein with a little bit of effort. And that's the most I could ask for on an average Monday morning.
After digging around in my own cupboards and then settling on the proper ratio of goo to dry ingredients, (because you have to make sure these things stick together properly) I give you
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (use natural or make your own peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups toasted oats
1 cup chopped, toasted almonds
1 1/4 cup raisins
Generously grease an 8x10 inch pan and set aside. In a sauté pan, brown chopped almonds and oats till golden. Set aside.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine brown sugar and honey until they're completely dissolved. Simmer this sauce for 1 or 2 minutes, or until it gets bubbly. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir until combined. Add peanut butter and cinnamon, and stir until well combined (be sure to get all the lumps out.)
Add to this mixture the oats and almonds, wheat germ and raisins. Stir until the mixture is well blended. Pour the mixture into the greased pan and firmly press until the mixture is evenly distributed and level.
Bake for 10 to 20 minutes, but be careful not to burn. Keep an eye on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the mixture cool completely before you cut the bars. While the mixture is cooling, press down a few times with a spatula to help it keep its form. The bars should be stored in an airtight container.