Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sara Bars

It's the beginning of the year, everyone is determined to lose weight and be healthy. Sadly, I don't think I've ever been "in shape" in my life. I used to be skinny without trying. But I've never been big on exercise, and I love food (two habits that are starting to take their toll).

One healthy activity that I do enjoy is backpacking. I don't get outside enough in my daily life, but my husband and I are determined to start taking to the woods more in our free time. In fact, we are currently planning a short trip to San Mateo Canyon to celebrate our fourth anniversary this weekend!

Backpacking has opened up a whole new world of DIY projects that I plan to share in this blog as I am able. Today's project is a granola bar recipe. I have tried a few different approaches, all of which my husband has lovingly named "Sara Bars." I think this recipe is the best so far.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sara Bars
(Print Recipe)

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped, dried apricot
2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup honey
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted

Toast the oats and almonds on a cookie sheet at 350° F for about 10 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.

Microwave the peanut butter for 1 minute to soften. In a large mixing bowl, stir together everything but the chocolate.

On a greased cookie sheet, shape into a 1-inch thick rectangle. It helps to press it into a corner to get everything compressed sufficiently.

Let stand until firm, or freeze for an hour. Cut into bars.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

Drizzle the top with the melted chocolate and let stand or freeze for another half hour.

Store in the refrigerator with parchment paper in between the layers to prevent sticking.

Makes approx. 20 bars, depending on how big you like them.

The psyllium husk powder is optional, but it does help bind the bars together. Without it, they will crumble easily. These bars have a high fiber content because of the psyllium husk, which is great if you plan to spend a few days in the outdoors. Just remember to drink plenty of water with them.

Psyllium husk powder adds a great fiber boost.

I've tried adding other dried fruits and nuts to this recipe as well, with mixed results.

Dates do really well, as do dried cherries. Crystallized ginger is good if you leave out the chocolate and add in some cinnamon or nutmeg.

Whatever you do, don't leave out the peanut butter. You can substitute it for some other kind of nut butter, but if you leave it out, the bars don't hold their shape at all. Even with the peanut butter, they will crumble a little in your pack, but at least you won't have granola bits all over the place with no bar to speak of.

Toss some in a plastic bag for a great trail snack. Also makes a fantastic no-cook breakfast option.


  1. Delicious!!! Going on the recipe list for the weekend! :-)

    1. Great! I just made another batch this weekend with Nutella in it. Yum! :)