Friday, January 9, 2015

DIY Homemade Granola Bars

Audrey’s DIY Homemade Granola Bars

8x8 pan
1½ cup Oats
½ cup Brown Rice Syrup
½ cup Crunchy (nuts, graham crackers etc.)
½ cup Sweet (chocolate, marshmallows, dried fruit etc.)
½ cup Other (pumpkin seeds, sesame sticks, cereal flakes, etc.)
Optional tablespoon of peanut butter, coconut oil, etc
Optional teaspoon vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa powder etc
Makes 8 bars
Bars stay fresh for two weeks
1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. Mix ingredients in a bowl (rice syrup may need to be heated for 30 seconds to make it pourable)
3. Use parchment paper or lightly grease pan before pouring in the granola mix. Distribute evenly
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes
5. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting
For Christmas 2014 I have made a few batches and will be giving my loved ones granola bars with this recipie. Some of the flavors I made include: Cranberry-Walnut-Pumpkin Seed, Dark Chocolate-Walnut-Cranberry, Peanutbutter-Chocolate chip, Smores(chocolatechips, marshmellows and graham crackers), and Dark-Chocolate-Coconut-Cashew. This recipie is great because there are so many options and different things you can do. I also would suggest useing parchment paper to line the pan, makes it easier to remove the granola bars, but make sure you grease the paper so the granola dosent stick to it. I wrapped the bars in waxed paper, labeled them by flavor and put them in cookie tins with the following note:
Granola Bars might not seem like ahealthy, snack but when you make them at home they can be! This semester I completed my first cooking class, Food Science 101. I learned a lot, the greatest lesson being the confidence to cook and try new recipes. Through my studies of organic chemistry and human physiology, I have gained a better understanding of foods impact on the body which I can now apply to my cooking. I am really interested in antioxidants and urge everyone to get more in antioxidants in your diet.
Brown Rice Syrup is a complex carbohydrate like honey or maple syrup which can all be used to replace simple carbohydrates like sucrose (table sugar) or fructose (in fruits and high fructose corn syrup) in the diet.Complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index meaning they take longer to enter the blood stream. Simple carbs provide a ‘sugar rush’ while complex carbs provide a longer-term energy source for the body due to the time required to metabolize them.
Oats are another complex carbohydrate that contain high levels of protein and magnesium. About 60% of Americans are believed to be magnesium deficient which can lead to diabetes, hypertension and other issues. Magnesium is a mineral that makes up some important enzymes inour bodies. It’s involved in bone formation as well as muscle and nerve function. The recommended daily intake for Magnesium is 420mg
Cranberries contain the polyphenol Ellagic Acid.This antioxidant is also found in pomegranates, blueberries and goji berries.Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. They dissolve into the bloodstream quickly, hunt down loose electrons and neutralize them. In every cell in your body, you have mitochondria. These mitochondria take in oxygen and food particles andproduce energy (ATP) and a by-product of free electrons. As you age,the number of free electrons or radicals in your body increases. High numbers of free radicals are known to be linked to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants are believed to help prevent these illnesses.
Did you know that Pumpkin Seeds are more protein dense than ground beef? They are a great plant basedsource of protein! They are also high in fiber, iron, antioxidants and magnesium. The proteins in pumpkin seeds contain two great amino acids: Tryptophan which makes serotonin in the brain, needed for mood and sleep regulation and Glutamate which makes the neurochemical GABA which has calming, anti-stresseffects
Walnuts have nearly double the number of antioxidants as other nuts like pecans or hazelnuts. They are also considered a superfood for their highlevels ofthe omega-3-fatty acid alpha-linolenicacid which is essential for brain health. Walnuts also contain proteinmagnesium and B vitamins making them a good food for vegan/vegetarian diets.
Dark Chocolate: contains many antioxidants that milk chocolate doesn’t. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and is high in iron and magnesium.
Cashews: are another good source of magnesium and antioxidants. They also contain potassiumironprotein and unsaturated fats which are good for you!
Coconuts: contain antioxidants as well. Another good source for iron and magnesium. Coconut oil is awesome because it has so many uses. It can be used in place of other oils in cooking and it’s also greatfor the skin, used in many lotions and washes.

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