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Homemade granola bars are easy to make and can be mixed up in no time!
For real. Homemade granola bars are truly so easy to make and are delicious. My kids have actually gotten to the point where they grab boxes at the grocery store and decide they don’t want whatever is inside after all because they don’t feel like reading the ingredient list. Enter Jif Peanut Powder, the new peanut product in town with just one delicious ingredient as my son excitedly shouted down the aisle – roasted peanuts.
This homemade granola bar recipe uses Jif Peanut Powder for extra protein and is literally so easy to throw together even the kids can do it for you. Or you can make it in the time it takes to do a 1 hour morning prep-ahead to make weekday routines go that much easier.
One of my goals this new year is to start my morning off on the right foot and that means I need to start my week off on the right foot. I am the queen of last minute rushing, which ends up stressing me out, so I needed to figure out an easy organization system that helps me without adding a ton of stress. I thought it would be nice to share my prep-ahead strategy with other people who might be trying to dethrone me as Queen of Last Minute Rush. Perhaps I can turn us all into slightly organized people this year.
Breakfast, snack, and lunch prep always seems to take a chunk of the day and I skip eating way too often because it’s just a hassle. Did you know that in just 1 hour you can prep-ahead for a week of morning time bliss? Oh wait. That would mean lazy mornings sleeping in with no bus to catch, no hurry to gather up homework, lunches, jackets, and hustle out the door, or in my case, no 3 kids waiting anxiously for teacher mom to start the homeschool day so it can end quicker.
Yup, in all that busy you forgot to eat breakfast again, but you don’t need to grab breakfast on the way or remember to eat breakfast at 3 PM! Not if you whipped up this granola bar recipe while you organized your week.
Thanks to Jif Peanut Powder, which I found at Walmart several weeks ago when I was buying groceries, these granola bars are an easy way to get a little protein with less fat and sugar without compromising on FLAVOR! Seriously, my non-crunchy husband can’t get enough of these bars.
Before we start I want to make a quick note that I like to use agave syrup because the sugars are lower than honey, but feel free to use honey if you wish. Both taste and work great in this recipe. Are you ready to get started?
- 3 cups quick oats
- ⅔ cup Jif Peanut Powder
- ½ cup agave syrup or honey
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup dried apples, diced
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries, loosely chopped
- ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup melting chocolate, optional
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Mix all dry ingredients, except chocolate.
- Mix sweetener and water, then add to dry ingredients.
- Mix together for 1-2 minutes until well incorporated.
- Press granola bar mixture on cookie sheet that is lightly greased or has parchment paper.
- You want the mixture to be well packed in a rectangle that is ½-3/4 inches thick, approximately 9 inches long, and 7 inches wide.
- Bake 15 minutes.
- Set to cool 15-20 minutes.
- Cut into 1 inch thick pieces width-wise then cut each piece in half.
- Melt chocolate and drizzle over bars if desired. Set to let chocolate harden.
6 Easy Steps to Prep-Ahead for Weekday Mornings
Step 1: Gather Ingredients (5 Minutes)
- Ingredients for 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 10 snacks
- Fresh vegetables
- Ingredients for any breakfast recipes
- Dried fruit
- Agave syrup or honey
- Jif Peanut Powder
- Melting chocolate (optional)
- Baking tray
- Measuring cups
- Snack bags
- Lunch boxes
- Knife (or 2)
- Large cutting board
- Parchment paper (optional)
- Snack bags
- Preheat oven to 375°
Step 2: Mix Granola Bar Ingredients (5 Minutes)
- Follow the directions in the recipe above
- Press granola out on baking sheet – tip: parchment paper makes for easy clean up
- Slide into oven and set timer for 15 minutes
Step 3: Prep Breakfast (10 Minutes)
- Create a rotating breakfast and lunch meal plan, such as I do in my monthly meal plan
- Premeasure all ingredients for breakfast (i.e. oatmeal into a plastic bag or container with salt, cereal in kid-sized portions, pancake recipe in a container for easy mixing)
- Label all prepackaged containers/bags with directions if you need them or have kids who can help.
Step 4: Prep Snacks (10 Minutes)
- Chop and package vegetables in snack-sized containers or bags (You get to cheat a little here. Want to make sure YOU have a well balanced lunch? Chop veggies for some salads too.)
- (After 5 minutes the timer will go off to set granola bars out to cool for 15-20 minutes.)
- Set aside all morning and afternoon snacks – if not in individual bags, repackage them. An easy way to let kids help with morning routines is to add their name and a number to the package – 1,2, 3, 4, 5 – depending on what day the snacks are for. This way they can pack their lunches every evening or morning even if they can’t read.
- Organize one shelf in a cabinet and in the refrigerator with the meals and snacks for the week.
Step 5: Prep Lunches (20 Minutes)
- Salads, sandwiches, soups, oh my! If you don’t use leftovers for lunch throw ingredients for an easy vegetable soup in the slow cooker for overnight. In the morning you have soup for the week. I don’t recommend making sandwiches ahead of time because they get soggy and yuck-o, but you can make sure all sandwich fillings and condiments are ready to go.
- Chop more vegetables if you need to for hearty lunch salads.
- Prepack whatever you can in the kids’ and/or your lunch box.
- Oh, oh, oh! Those granola bars should be all ready to cut. Melt some chocolate in the microwave while you cut your granola bars then put the melted chocolate in a piping bag or plastic baggie and snip a tiny corner out. Then pipe chocolate across the top and let the bars sit to harden.
- Done with lunch prep? Awesome! We’re ahead of schedule. If not, let’s get it wrapped up and move on.
Step 6: Put Your Feet Up Or… (10 Minutes)
- It’s time to put your feet up for a few minutes or finish this hour out strong!
- Gather clothes for everyone for the week ahead – even if you just gather socks and underwear. I can’t be the only one who finds out they “couldn’t find clean underwear FOR THREE WHOLE DAYS AND NEVER SAID SO!
- Relax and enjoy the fact that in just under an hour you did so much prep-ahead that your morning week day routines will be that much easier. Plus, you have super yummy granola bars to throw in your bag for those all too frequent days where you forgot to grab a bite of breakfast before heading out for a busy day.