My fondest childhood memories take place in the kitchen. Whether it was helping my mom stir the broth into the cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving, melting chocolate for Christmas candies, or making jelly with our summertime haul of blackberries, I was always in the kitchen with the adults, learning and experimenting. Amidst the laughter, the mess, the cramped kitchens, and the mouthwatering smells that filled the room, I found my home.
A lot of my feelings towards the kitchen changed, however, when I was told I needed to eat a gluten-free diet. Suddenly, I was in a new world with a strange new language – and I did the easiest thing I could. I stopped cooking and just grabbed the pre-made gluten-free items. I didn’t even want to think about cooking with so many odd flours and grain-free substitutes. With one diagnosis, I allowed my joy of cooking to be taken away.
Over the last few years, my feelings towards gluten-free cooking have once again changed. Now, I look forward to experimenting with coconut flour, almond flour, and even flax seed meal. I look forward to converting traditional recipes into something that is not only safe for my body, but pleasing to my mouth as well.
Why Homemade Granola Bars?
Most store-bought bars contain chemicals and additives that I am just not comfortable giving to my daughter. However, when I make my own, I can control what goes into her body; and honestly, these couldn’t be easier. All you need is coconut oil, honey, your choice of nuts, fruits, and nut butter – and whatever else you want to throw into your bars. You can mix up the ingredients in under 10 minutes.
Healthy, Grain Free Granola Bars
- 2.5 - 3 cups of nuts
- 1 cup chopped no-sugar added, dried fruit
- 1/3 cup golden flax seed
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 Tbs coconut oil
- 3 Tbs nut butter of your choice
- Roughly chop approximately 1.5 cups of mixed nuts. Chop the remaining nuts in a food processor, being careful to not turn it into nut butter.
- Combine chopped nuts, chopped fruit, and golden flax seeds.
- In a small sauce pan, combine honey, vanilla, coconut oil, and nut butter. Over low heat, bring mixture to a boil.
- Pour immediately into nut mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour granola mixture into a 9x9in dish, lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting.
- Keep granola bars refrigerated.
In the recipe pictured above I used peanut butter, walnut, cashews, almonds, and dried apricots. But remember, this recipe is very versatile and you can use whatever nut butter, nuts, and dried fruit you have available!