Around the Holler, we have had a tiny problem making sure that everyone eats. And not only eats, but eats something tasty and nutritious. A certain person who shall remain nameless, but we’ll call her “J”, was known for going many long hours working on this or that project and forgetting to eat. Either that, or she’d suddenly realize that she was unable to think clearly because of a massive blood-sugar crash and mange on a pile of whatever food-ish thing was available. Don’t ask me how I know this.
The first solution to this problem was to always keep handy those nutrition bars. You know the ones: Luna, Odwalla, Tigers Milk, or whatever. They were bought by the case, kept in the purse, backpack, glove compartment, pantry, everywhere. Okay for avoiding the crash, but there’s the very real issue of the mountains of plastic wrappers.
The *good* solution was to make something at home that would serve the same purpose: to keep a person from starving to death when they’re not being thoughtful enough to make an actual meal.
But if we are going the homemade route, this recipe should be able to respond to changing conditions, i.e. whatever’s available at the time of making. It should be perfectly good in its simplest form, but also able to be dressed up for company.
You know, like the little black dress of nutrition bars.
Well, there are a LOT of recipes online which were pretty good, but I just like messing with stuff, so I did some tweaking of this and that and now I present to you:
What ya need:
2/3 c. flour (or GF baking mix works just as well)
1/4 tsp. each of baking soda and baking powder
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. oats
4 cups of nuts, any combination of the below:
6 cups of dried fruit:
(The basic version of this has only raisins and almonds. Or apples and cashews. You get the idea. The ‘company’ version has cherries, blueberries, macadamias, and so forth. I prefer to use at least 1c. of prunes in either one because they make the bars very moist.)
3 or 4 eggs depending on how big your eggs are
1/4 tsp. vanilla
How ya do:
Preheat oven to 325°
Chop up all those nuts, with some sort of processor if you’re strapped for time, or by hand if you like getting your juju all over every aspect of your food, like I do.
Do the same with the fruit. I usually cut them so they’re about the size of a raisin or just a big bigger. Cut a prune into quarters, for instance.
In one big bowl, mix up the nuts and fruit.
In another smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
Pour the dry stuff into the nut/fruit mixture and stir it around so it’s pretty well mixed.
Go ahead and use that smaller bowl to mix up the 3 eggs and the vanilla.
Pour that over the dry stuff/nut/fruit mixture and mix it up good.
You might have a little dry this or that in the bottom of the bowl. If you do, beat up another egg and put it in there. Mix it up.
Put some parchment paper in the bottom of a 9×13 pan for thicker bars, or a 12×18 pan if ya like them thinner.
Plop the whole mess into the pan and press it down with your fingers so it’s even.
Put in the oven for 30 minutes and then check on it. You’ll want the edges to be just barely dry looking. The center should still feel a tiny bit squishy. When it’s done, take it out and let it cool before cutting and removing bars from the pan. Sometimes I use the parchment paper to lift the whole tray of bars out before cutting, if I want them to cool faster.
When they’re cool, they should be moist enough that you don’t need a glass of milk to make them go down. If they’re too dry, feed the edge pieces to the chickens and only eat the middle! And next time, turn the heat in the oven down lower. And try, try again!
Many blessings on your kitchen witchery adventures!