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Granola Bars!

The desire to cut out processed/convenient foods has greatly impacted our lives. I think that most of us dread  and are turned off by the time that is involved in making things from scratch. And I'll be honest, it does require a lot of time in the kitchen...but I honestly don't think that whipping up a batch of granola bars takes any more time than running to the store to pick up a box of granola bars...and you skip all the extra junk that is in store bought granola bars!

I will say that I prefer to send a piece of fruit and in the winter when our orange tree is producing, that's pretty much our staple school snack. But I like to mix it up a little sometimes with some homemade goodness.

The thing I love about these granola bars is that I know exactly what is in them, they are sturdy--they can survive a backpack and still remain intact, and it's easy to "mix it up".

Here's what you'll need

4 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup (you could substitute brown sugar, if you prefer...use the same amount either way)
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cups total of whatever "pieces" you want to add--chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts

Preheat your oven to 325 and prepare a 9x13 pan (butter/flour whatever you want to use to keep the bars from sticking).

Mix all of the dry ingredients together (I don't bother with a mixer...a pastry blender would work well...I use a spatula). Create a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the well. Mix everything together and spoon and press into your prepared pan.

Bake around 20 minutes or until the edges are a golden brown.
Let me know if you try them and tell me what you think or how you improved them!

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