I knew the last Monday of this month would arrive at a particularly busy time, when we would be barely moved into our  new home, trying to adjust to the new environment.  I didn’t want to miss the party, so I had my  contribution  to “The Secret Recipe Club” taken care as soon as I got my  assignment.  This month I was matched with the blog  “Life and Kitchen”,  hosted by Lindsay, a super-busy young mom with a full-time job and a master’s thesis under way.  In other words, she struggles with a gazillion commitments, but still finds time to keep a great blog going!   Her writing is quite refreshing, I caught myself smiling all the way through reading many of her posts.  I finally settled on a recipe I’ve always wanted to make: granola bars.  They were a major hit in the Bewitching household, as I married a former-hippie.  Hope you try and like them too!   😉

(from Life and Kitchen, originally adapted from Ina Garten)

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 12 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Toss the oatmeal and almonds together and then toast them on a sheet pan by baking them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When you take the toasted mixture out, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the toasted wheat germ.  Then add in the honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt while it is still warm and mix it all together.   Add the raisins and dried cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and press the mixture evenly into the pan.   Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours at room temperature before cutting into squares.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  No matter how frantic your life might be, it’s good practice to read a recipe carefully before attacking the preparation.  It’s called common sense. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for trouble, like some people.

Indeed, I started by toasting 2 cups of rolled oats instead of oatmeal.  Once everything was nicely toasted, I realized my mistake, and did the only sensible thing to do: frantically ran around the house screaming at myself  “I am SUCH an idiot”;  “I am THE QUEEN of the idiots”!   Where’s George Costanza, my long lost brother?

Crucial decisions had to be made.  I had no time to start all over, and found only about one cup of oatmeal in our pantry.  I grabbed the baking sheet and scooped the mixture with one of those handy Chinese type tools, that kept the almonds and allowed the oats to fall back in the baking sheet.  By the way, oats that fly and fall on the kitchen floor will cool enough during their journey so they won’t pose a risk to your pets. Quite the opposite, they will be happy to do the cleaning for you.  

Once I got toasted rolled oats separated from toasted almonds, I saved 1 cup for the recipe, and mixed with 1 cup of oatmeal.  Proceeded without toasting the oatmeal, as the clock was ticking, and we had tickets to go see Prometheus at the IMAX. No way we could miss that.

As a result, the bars were a bit more crumbly than they should, as oats don’t bind as well as oatmeal, for obvious reasons.  But, you know what? The crumbled pieces made FANTASTIC granola!

I ended up with enough squares to last us for a while, nicely wrapped (just make sure to let them dry well for a full day before wrapping).

Lindsay, it was great to “meet” you through this month’s Secret Recipe adventure!

And a reminder for my readers:  if you click on the crazy looking frog at the bottom of this post, you’ll see the contributions of all other members of Group D for this reveal day.  Make sure to check them out!

ONE YEAR AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

TWO YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

THREE YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes