I have a confession.
After a full year of trying to find ways to eat more naturally I still succumb to the guilty pleasure of the bar.
I suppose that could be taken several ways; that I sit at our local bar swigging tequila until late at night or cannot resist fried bar food, but neither one would be correct.
Houston, we have a problem. Even though I know that I can make something akin to a Larabar in my food processor and have a great granola bar recipe that most of our family will eat, even though I no longer buy boxes of granola bars or nutri grain bars for the children I cannot resist the lure of the bar.
There is something about the presentation, the bright colors, the many flavors, that seems to beckon. Eat me! They cry. I am interesting and fun and come in my own individual wrapper. I have as much protein as a chicken breast but taste like fake cookie dough coated in fake chocolate. Eat me and you can skip taking your multivitamin! I can make you happy!
Okay, maybe I know that they won’t make me happy, but there is something decadent about having my own special bar as opposed to one of the 24 homemade clones in our tupperware on the counter. When they go on sale (particularly for less than twenty cents apiece) there is an override that happens in my brain and I must, MUST buy Cookie Dough Balance Bars. You can’t stop me. It doesn’t matter that they have lots and lots of ingredients and not even reading this (fish gelatin, anyone?) has been able to deter me.
Ingredient Details: Balance Pro 5 Protein blend [soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, partially hydrolyzed casein and whey (from milk), calcium caseinate casein], fructose, cocoa (processed with alkali), corn syrup, evaporated cane juice invert syrup, soy protein isolate, ground almonds, roasted soybeans, honey, soy lecithin, contains less than 2% of natural flavor, cocoa butter, sugar, fractionated palm kernel oil, salt, lactose, oligofructose, dextrose, glucose, fish gelatin.
Vitamins And Minerals: calcium phosphate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), vitamin E acetate, beta carotene, copper gluconate, niacinamide, ferric orthophosphate (iron), zinc oxide, biotin, phytonadione (vitamin K1), potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, chromium chloride, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), folic acid.
Not even the fact that I can no longer savor my snack and usually have to stuff the bar in my mouth as soon as the boys see me and come begging (This is mommy’s bar, I say with mouth full of soy protein isolate and roasted soybean product.) has kept me from eating Balance Bars and the like for a quick mid-morning snack, even though I could drum up a bunch of perfectly healthy, natural, and filling snack options that don’t contain oligofructose and corn syrup.
I can’t seem to quit the bar.
On the other hand, I have tweaked our granola bar recipe to a version that both husband and I think is a winner. At first I would make these only for the family while I sneakily ate my own special bar out of my purse, but now I enjoy them too and we can easily go through a 9×13 pan of these a week (husband is on the go a lot and these are quick and easy to pack up). I may end up cutting more of the sweetener (the original recipe called for 2/3 cups packed brown sugar plus 1/2 cup of honey) but the adjustments I have made so far have gotten the bars to a good consistency and flavor. However, there is no calcium pantothenate involved, so you may be disappointed!
Mix together 3 cups quick cooking oats and 3 cups rice krispy type cereal, throw in a dash of cinnamon (I like that) and mix.
In a saucepan, stir together 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup natural peanut butter, and 1/4 cup butter. Melt all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium/low heat. Stir for a minute or two and take off the heat. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and dump into the dry ingredients. Mix everything together quickly and spread into a greased 9×13 pan. Pack the mixture down with your fingers and then refrigerate for about an hour. Cut into pieces and store in the fridge or at room temperature. Makes 24 bars that weigh in at 102 calories each with 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat. Also, if you are the only one making them, be sure to go back and eat whatever remains of the butter/peanut butter/honey/sugar mixture stuck to the pan. YUM.
They are really good and I am happy to snack on them. As long as I can horde my brightly colored ridiculously processed bars and break them out once in a while!