For The Press
Back to school season can be challenging for parents as they struggle to find healthy snacks to add to packed lunches. It can be equally difficult for adults to take something nutritious to the office to avoid the donut shop. Solve those problems with this recipe – make your own nutritious and tasty treat.
Oats pack a powerful nutritional punch. As a wonderful source of energy they can help keep you going during your busy day and oats are high in cancer-preventing fiber and contain essential minerals and vitamins.
Add some nuts to intensify not only the nutritional value, but the flavor as well. The underused flax seeds, which have been cultivated for centuries, provide alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid and fiber. People have long recognized the benefits of using flaxseeds. Indeed, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseeds that in the 8th century he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume them.
The combination of fresh blueberries and dried fruit creates both texture and taste. The eggs help bind the ingredients of the squares together. The touches of honey, brown sugar and vanilla add just the right amount of sweetness. Be sure to pack some of these granola fruit squares as part of a healthy brown bag lunch or a great snack at school or the office.
From the American Institute for Cancer Research
Granola Fruit Squares
•1 cup old-fashioned oats or quick oats, uncooked (not instant)
•1/4 cup almonds
•1/4 cup walnuts
•1 tablespoon flax seeds
•1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 cup canola oil
•1/4 cup honey, softened by placing the jar in a pan of water over low heat
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla
•1/2 cup fresh blueberries
•1/2 cup combination raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and leave 2-inches of foil hanging over edges.
In large nonstick skillet over medium heat stir oats, nuts and seeds and toast for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, in food processor, pulse mixture until coarse. Avoid making the mixture too fine.
In mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk until blended. Set aside. In another mixing bowl combine oil, honey, sugar, vanilla and eggs and mix well. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Gently add oat mixture, fresh blueberries and dried fruit.
Lightly coat baking dish with cooking spray. Pour granola batter into dish and spread evenly. Bake until mixture is set, about 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool. Use overhanging foil to lift granola slab from baking dish to cutting board. Cut into desired size bars.
Makes: Approximately 16 squares.
Nutrition information per serving: 198 calories, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 77 mg sodium.