easy sweet and salty granola bars {gluten free + dairy free}

She came over unexpectedly and plopped a huge bag on the couch and started pulling them out one by one. 

"I bought these as soon as you told me you were pregnant… I just had a feeling." 

She pulled out one pale blue little piece of clothing as well as some tender, gender-neutral things that lean more on the side of “boy” than girl.

"I just knew you were having a boy. But I know EVERYONE thought you were having a girl so I didn’t want to cause an upset by saying something.” 

Her eyes filled with tears. "I just knew a special little boy was coming to you. You’re a strong woman, and strong women raise good boys.” 

 I tried to make light of my emotions and said, “Gram, did you know I cried? I cried for days, I just couldn’t believe it. I was overwhelmed. I don’t know anything about raising a boy!! A BOY?!!!” 

She nodded. “You have to be tough and firm and show them you’re the boss sometimes but you can do it.” If you knew how fierce my grandmother used to be this would make you chuckle.

“And you my grandmother would know ALL about raising boys because you raised FIVE of them.”  I hugged her when I said this. 

“Yes I did!” She said proudly, and laughed wiping her eyes. 

She looked down then explained the new sweet baby items in the bag and said, “Just to get you started," she paused again, "for baby boy."

easy sweet and salty granola bars

makes about 12-16 bars 

I don’t know anything about raising a boy yet, but I do know what it’s like to be married to one. And I don’t know if this applies to ALL boys or just my man, but he does NOT eat in the morning unless it’s something he can grab on his way to work. Behold these bars. John luuuuufffs them. They’re a recipe I’ve included in my free lil’ ebook, but wanted to post them on here too and talk about the ways you can switch them up. I used to be like John, never having time to eat in the morning, but our lives have shifted and now I find myself making eggs or oatmeal; and believe me I push these warm breakfasts upon John in to-go form if he'll have it. As special as it is to eat a hot breakfast, I sincerely appreciate a quick, delicious (and chocolate) breakfast just as much as the slow one. 

note: I love Justin's brand of chocolate hazelnut butter here, because they add to the bars sweetness in the best way. But, if you want to use an unsweetened nut butter, feel free, just make sure you add a generous tablespoon or so of honey into the mix. 

 

3 cups / 289g rolled gluten free oats

1 cup / 97g pecans or walnuts, chopped (I prefer pecans)

3 tablespoons whole flax seeds 

⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons / 128g chocolate hazelnut butter OR nut butter (I like Justin's) 

⅔ cup / 327g brown rice syrup

¼ cup / 22g ground flax seed

1 cup / 170g bittersweet or chocolate chips (60% cocoa content or higher; if you can't find chips, chop up a dark chocolate bar into chip-sized pieces) 

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top for that "salty effect" 

 

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C, line an 8x8-inch / 20x20cm pan with parchment paper and grease with coconut oil.

Measure and mix all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add all wet ingredients and mix until incorporated. tip! Mixing with your hands is super efficient. 

Press granola bar mixture into your pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. I mean really press it all in there so they stick together. If you’d like, sprinkle a tiny bit of salt on top to give them that sweet + salty magic.

Cool completely before cutting. The yield really depends on how large or small you cut them. For ease, I put a square or two in a little baggie and store them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. They'll keep for a week in the fridge....if they last that long. ;) 

ways to switch it up:

peanut butter cup: use peanut butter for your nut butter and crush salted peanuts on top omitting the extra sprinkling of salt.

sesame please: use unsweetened almond butter for your nut butter, whole raw walnuts instead of pecans and add 1 tablespoon white raw sesame seeds, and a spoon full extra for the top. 

why is this good for me? 

oats - whole, gluten free grains contain tons of fiber, vitamins and help support our immune system.

flax seeds - promote a healthy immune system and regular bowel movements and contain a lot of fiber. Flax seeds also contain essential fatty acids and omega-3’s. These essential fatty acids help regulate the hormones in the body, promote healthy regular ovulation and optimal uterus health.  

peanut butter / almond butter - almonds are a good source of vitamin E. For women trying to conceive Vitamin E is especially important in supporting healthy egg DNA development.