I pack my husband's lunch daily. It's kind of a big deal to me... a labor of love as they say. I am sort of picky about the kind of lunches I pack. Maybe it's a little bit obsessive but I try to pack one item for each hour of the work day... okay that's weird, I know. He's been working long days lately and I've only been including about eight things so I need to step it up a bit but basically, I just want him to feel satisfied all day long. Lunch usually includes a drink, sandwich, granola bar type thing, fruit snack type things, fruits and/or veggies, crackers and/or cookies, etc. Normal lunchbox-y things.
Packing lunches is one of the things that makes me really thankful that my eyes were opened to the world of using coupons and not spending unnecessarily. I cannot imagine how much money it would cost me to fill his lunchbox with at least eight items for which I paid full price! There is absolutely no way I could justify paying full price for lunchbox snacks. For instance, it amazes me that you get so few granola bars in a box that costs so much... especially when you multiply the cost of that box by four weeks in a month, 12 months in a year, etc etc etc. So I try to stock up on things like granola bars, fruit snacks, and peanut butter when it is free after coupons or pretty close to it. That way I don't get stuck having to pay full price. But, sometimes I run out when the sale cycles do not cooperate with my lunch packing needs! It's these times that I'm forced to get creative and turn to the internet (namely Pinterest) to come up with a way to make what I need by myself, with things I already have in the house, for less money than what I would spend driving to the store and buying a box.
You can see my post on homemade fruit roll ups here.
This past week I embarked on a homemade granola bar recipe finding mission. I came up with a few possibilities and chose to go with this one for my first try. I needed a recipe that called for things I already had in the house so that I wouldn't have to spend a penny! When these first came out of the oven I wasn't convinced they were what I was hoping for, but after cooling off, and giving them a taste test, I was very impressed! They are chewy, hearty, and yummy. I'll continue to do some recipe hunting, but in the meantime, we like these and will definitely make them again. You can find the original recipe here. Here's what I did...
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 1/4 cups multigrain cheerios (I just used what I had, original recipe called for any whole grain cereal)
- 3/4 cup chopped peanut m&m's (I just used what I had, original recipe called for 1 cup chocolate chips)
- (original recipe called for 1/2 cup wheat germ, optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In large bowl, cream brown sugar, white sugar, and softened butter with electric mixer until fluffy
- Add honey, vanilla, and egg and mix well
- Blend in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt
- Stir in remaining ingredients (oatmeal, cereal, m&m's)
- Press firmly into the bottom of a greased 9 x13 pan (it was a little sticky so I sprayed a spatula with cooking spray and then resorted to using my hands)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes (it did not look or feel done, but firmed up nicely... you don't want to bake too long that it gets crunchy on the edges)
The original recipe here also gives instructions for cooking in the microwave and some other mix-in options.
We've been storing these in a tupperware type container on the counter and I wrap one in some wax paper and add to the lunchbox in the morning.
Let me know how yours turn out! If you have a favorite granola bar or lunch box treat recipe, I would love you to share it. The more options the better!