Avoiding store bought granola bars that are just thinly veiled candy bars
Many of my trips for work involve working huge events for either internal employees or the company’s clients, which means I spend a LOT of time in hotel ballrooms and meeting break out rooms. It also means a lot of running around in a panicked state because things can and will go wrong, and more often than not, every single second of my time from sun up until sun down is booked up.
As you can imagine, it is hard to sneak a meal in at all when my schedule is that crazy, nonetheless even harder to actually have a gluten free meal that I KNOW I can eat. The stakes are a lot higher when you’re eating every meal made by someone else and also working 18 hour days miles and miles away from the comfort of your own home.
The last time I was in Orlando for work, the staff couldn’t promise that anything was actually gluten free. “Don’t you just get a stomach ache?” One of the women working the event asked me.
“Um no,” I told her. This is the part when one of my fiercely loyal coworkers stepped in and promptly ripped that woman to shreds.
The next day, I was promised a certified gluten free lunch. It was a half a head of iceberg lettuce (no dressing) and one pickle.
This week, I’m in Orlando again for work and trying to avoid getting sick and feeling starving for the entire week. I brought along homemade granola bars that are gluten free and dairy free. They’re filled with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and some allergen friendly chocolate chips for a little sweet pick me up that will keep me goin’ all week. I’d say they’re a bit better than a plain head of iceberg lettuce, but that’s just me…
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- 1 cup of gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup of gluten free oat flour (I ground up 1/4 cup of oats in a food processor until it was a fine texture)
- 1/4 cup of pepitas
- 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup of hemp hearts
- 3/4 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 cup of dark chocolate chips/ chunks (I used Enjoy Life brand chunks.)
- 3/4 cup of shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup of creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
- 1/3 cup of maple syrup
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Making the Bars
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking dish with parchment paper (I think the dish I used was 8 x 1.4 inch, but who knows.)
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. It will be a little tough to do, but you don’t want it too “wet.”
- Pour mixture into the lined baking dish.
- Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper and press down firmly along the granola to spread it evenly and compact it as much as possible. Put some elbow into it!
- Remove the top parchment layer and bake in the over for about 40-45 minutes. You want the edges and top to have a nice dark golden color without being burned. I kept checking on it periodically once it hit the 30 min mark. It really depends on how big your dish was and how thick the granola is.
- Take the dish out and let cool. Don’t try to take it out of the dish until it has cooled significantly because it will just fall apart.
- Once it feels cool to the touch (I let mine sit for about an hour), pull the parchment paper so it and the granola hunk lifts and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Let it cool COMPLETELY before cutting. I do not have the patience or willpower to do this, so I cut mine before it was totally cool and it was a bit crumbly.
These will last a couple days in a sealed container, but throw them in the fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life.