Thursday, April 12, 2012


Homemade Fruit, Fiber and Nut Bars
Life has been so hectic lately that most of my sustenance has come in the form of a bar. And I'm not talking about the place where everybody knows your name. There was one day last week where I was doing my mental checklist of 'what did I eat today?' and the list included:

7:30 am- Fiber One Bar & coffee
11:00 am- post work-out smoothie
All day- sugarless gum
2:00 pm- Fruit and Nut Bar & coffee from Starbucks
5:00 pm- Special K bar and cafe con leche at work
9:00 pm- curry chicken sandwich


I realize I have no idea what is actually in those "healthy" bars that I eat all day out of convenience and/or necessity. Sure they boast healthy claims on the front, but if I dare flip the package over I would be shocked.

Today's recipe rocks. It tastes great, is easy to do, and you can control your ingredients-so you know exactly what is going in there. The brilliance is how versatile it is. You can substitute any dried fruit you want, any cereal you want, any nut you want and any binder you want. I made mine with tons of fiber-rich ingredients, so now I can kiss those store-bought Fiber-One bars bye-bye! Even the Mister got into it. He and I had a blast preparing this together and talking about new flavor combinations. His next try will be perfecting the perfect protein bar, so be on the look-out all you meat-heads out there.

Homemade Fruit, Fiber and Nut Bars
Cast of Characters: Oats, shredded wheat cereal (or anything), nuts (any), dried fruit, cinnamon, salt, eggs, honey (I used agave nectar), vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips.

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Combine oats, cereal, nuts, dried fruit (I used diced prunes!), cinnamon and salt. 

Pulse the mixture in a food processor or blender. Here I am with my all-time favorite kitchen appliance, The Magic Bullet! Don't pulse it too fine, it should look like gravel.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, honey and vanilla. I got Mr. *From Scratch to help out here.

Whisk wet ingredients and set aside. Pour the dry chopped mixture back in bowl and add chocolate chips. I found some shredded coconut and added it last minute here!

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Press FIRMLY into a grease baking dish.

This is optional, but I lightly scored the bars half-way through with a knife before baking. Pop in the oven for 15-18 minutes.

Let cool completely before taking out of pan.
At first taste, I was kinda disappointed, but as the days have passed, the flavors have gotten better and better. In fact, I'm eating the last one right now and am planning on making a second batch this afternoon. I know that after a few more times I will have this recipe memorized, this is definitely a new staple in the *From Scratch household. Sidenote: the coconut was the all-star ingredient in flavor and texture. I would highly recommend it even though it's not called for in the original recipe. What flavor combos would you enjoy?

Here is the original recipe from What's Cooking With Kids, in parentheses I will add my personal modifications:

1 cup oats (*GirfFromScratch used Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Rolled Oats)
1 cup shredded wheat cereal (*GFS used F-Factor High Fiber Skinny's Cereal)
1 cup walnuts (*GFS used sliced almonds)
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (*GFS used Plum Amazins diced prunes)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey (*GFS used organic agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Light oil or coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (we wiped ours down with oil instead of using spray) and set aside.
  2. Place the oats, shredded wheat, walnuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.  (The dried fruit should be the size of lentils.)
  3. Whisk together the eggs, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add the oat mixture and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and flatten gently with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake about 18 minutes, or until the edgest turn golden brown.  Let cool completely in the pan before slicing into 12 bars.