With three boys, our schedules can get pretty busy, especially during baseball season. We just finished another year of baseball, and one of the biggest challenges for me was feeding my family. We had several games an hour away from our house, starting at 5:15. That meant no time for dinner until afterward. These granola bars (or "gralala bars" as we call them in my house, since that's how my oldest used to say "granola") were a good solution. The boys could have a couple of bars and a drink on the way to the game, and they had the energy to play and make it through until we got home for a late dinner.
My friend Marcy brought these bars to a Cub Scout potluck dinner, and nearly everyone asked her for the recipe! They taste better than any store-bought granola bar, and best of all, you know exactly what's in them. They may not be considered a "health food" per se, but at least they aren't over-processed. Plus, you can add whatever your kids like. Skip the chocolate candies and add raisins. Or add walnuts or almonds. The sky's the limit!
Peanut butter gralala bars
5 cups oats (I use old-fashioned)
1 cup puffed wheat or puffed rice (I use puffed red wheat)
1-1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup candy-coated chocolate pieces
2/3 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
Here comes the best part of this recipe ... just dump all of the ingredients into your standing mixer, turn it on, and let it go until everything's mixed together. If you don't have a standing mixer, just toss everything into a big bowl and mix with a hand mixer until combined well.
Grease a 9x13" pan well. Dump the mixture into the pan and press it into the pan. I spread it around, then set a piece of waxed paper on top. Then I use the flat bottom of a measuring cup or something similar and really push hard to smash it down and compact the bars.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars. Let set until completely cool, then cut clear through into bars. The pan I use to bake these has a lid, so once they're cooled and everyone has had a bar, I just pop the lid on and store the pan on the counter.
Note: If this is too much for your family, cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8x8" pan for 18-20 minutes.