Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trash-free lunches, with a side of granola bar

About halfway through this Year of the Boxed Lunch, fell Christmas. And one of my main issues with Christmas is the trash. Have you ever driven through the neighborhood on trash day after Christmas and noticed the mounds and mounds of stuff people through out after the holiday? Mostly packaging.

Well, I started to see a box full of granola bars as a box full of trash with a little granola thrown in. And I got to thinking. How hard could it be to make my own granola bars? That would probably be cheaper and for sure produce way less trash. Then I remembered my trusty Super Baby Foods book by Ruth Yaron.

What follows is a variation of her recipe for Granola Balls.

1 1/2 cup rolled oats (oatmeal)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground nuts (I use peanut butter)
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup melted butter or oil
5 tablespoons honey
1 beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (normally I use raisins or cranberries, but this time I must have been feeling tropical because I used dried mango and a handful of coconut)
optional: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, or 1/4 cup Grape Nuts cereal for crunch

Mix all this in a medium bowl. Add more honey to moisten or more oats to dry, if necessary. Press into an 8 x 8 glass pan or pie plate.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

I was feeling very virtuous about the trash-free aspect of these granola bars until I realized that I'm covering the dish with plastic wrap. Hmm. Next batch I'll cover with a plate.

Anyone want to join my Trash-Free Lunch Campaign?

Update: we like these granola bars so much that I make a double batch in a 9 x 13 inch pan, keep it in the fridge, and snack off of it all week!

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