cooking for kids – granola bars (technically, sloppy joes)

15 Apr
April 15, 2015

so…i used to love to cook. and food. and going to restaurants. and, let’s be honest, anything involving calories, and chewing, and tasting delicious new foods. in case you need a refresher- cheese, croissants still warm from the oven, fresh beignets, oysters, smoked salmon, carbs, the food groups, you name it.

and the big ‘but then!’ is kids. of course it is. i’m all, *wah, wah* then i had kids. and although it’s slowly getting (incrementally) better, making food, and eating is such a chore. i buy the same 30 things at the grocery store. i can make a meal out of goldfish, yogurt covered raisins, and applesauce. that’s not horrible. but it becomes horrible the 364th time you do it.

i’ve decided to (once a week) try to make a homemade snack. we buy a lot of bars, we buy a lot of crackers, and i’m not going to get all soapbox and say- but do you know what’s in those!?! let’s be honest. i look at labels, but i don’t always know ‘bad stuff’ vs ‘good’. do i try to moderate sugar- sure. do i wish i had a personal chef? daily. do i have the time to make everything from scratch? uhm… no. wait. maybe? but i also like to have a life. or, my version of a life right now. it mostly involves getting through the day, everyone alive, and then spending the 2 hours before i pass out via exhaustion, doing something for myself- drawing, reading, watching every episode of miss fisher’s murder mysterious. and yes, i am an 84 year old lady.

ANYWAY. this is all to say, for my first mom-made snack, i’m on this quest to make granola bars. i personally don’t often get breakfast, and the last few times i’ve grabbed a nutri-grain bar, i’m starting to see why my kids are addicted to them. overly sweet goo, cookie-esque tasting…thing. there cannot be anything redeeming in this bar. i get them because they’re easy. i’m all for easy. but…. i just can’t anymore. and i want something that i will also eat, and get benefit from. so i set about finding recipes. and i found this one. which is good. relatively easy, not too many ingredients, and pretty straightforward. browning oats. YUM. brown sugar, honey, vanilla, YES. and i followed the directions, and i put it all together, added craisins, and… no. didn’t work. delicious pan of crumbly granola topping that i can easily put on my yogurt, yes, totally. pan of granola that i could cut up into portable bars? not so much*. i will try another day.

so- here’s another recipe that you can feel good about. and i’m going to tell you, this was DELICIOUS. i’m not kidding when i say- it took the time it takes to brown meat, if you get the steps right. i subbed ground turkey for hamburger, i reduced the sugar just a bit- we’ve eaten every single bit of the leftovers, and that’s huge. (don’t you hate yourself when you throw away leftovers that you’re just not sure about, because you forgot there was food back in the back of the fridge behind the 12 gallons of milk?). i bought some local made brioche rolls that i browned with butter under the broiler. i made the sauce while the meat was cooking. DELISH. make it for dinner now, you won’t regret it. and check back about the granola bars. who knows. all my good intentions might pay off some day**.

* to be fair, i do not think it’s the recipe. i was a little loosey-goosey with the measuring, and my coconut oil may have been questionable. and by questionable, i mean old. like, embarrassing old. UPDATE- as of last night, my coconut oil was old, and when they say ‘1/3 cup honey’ don’t just squirt what you think is a lot, in the pan. it was WAY more than i thought. measuring helps. 😉


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