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backtoschoolBy now, most of the kids in Indiana are back in school. Which brings me to the subject of school lunches. Now don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the school cafeteria lunch ladies. But….some of the food (I say that with sarcasm) that is being forced upon our kids, Well, lets just say that I would rather go without before eating some of the “things” that are on our kids lunch menus. I must however give props our First Lady Michelle Obama for initiating programs to promote healthier school lunches. Apparently, it hasn’t caught on to all schools yet. This week I will feature lunchbox favorite treats that are yummy and easy to make. My kids love granola bars, but if you have ever checked the back of the box for the ingredient list, you’ll find more artificial sweeteners, preservatives and so on. This granola bar recipe is full of fresh ingredients. Plus, you can be creative by adding in all kinds of ingredients such as raisins, pretzels, candy coated pieces.

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Ingredients

1/4 c unsalted butter

1/4 honey

1/4  c packed light brown sugar

2 cups quick oats

1 c crispy rice cereal

1 c flaked coconut

1 c wheat germ

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

1 c mini chocolate chips

1 c crushed pretzels

In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, rice cereal, and wheat germ. (can also add in dry fruit, raisins etc..)P1070009

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together butter, honey, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. (use caution when adding vanilla, honey mixture will bubble up)

Pour melted butter/honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together with a spatula until everything is evenly distributed. (make sure all dry ingredients are coated)P1070008

Line a small cookie sheet/pan with parchment paper and extend over sides of pan to make “handles.”  lightly spray parchment paper with cooking spray (also lightly coat hands with cooking spray as it helps when spreading out granola mixture evenly into pan)

Press granola mixture firmly and evenly into prepared pan, making sure to pack in pan nice and tight.P1070023

Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and press down chips down so that they will stick to granola bar. (at this point you can also add pretzels, M&M’s etc..)P1070032

Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes so that mixture will set. Remove from freezer and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cutting into bars.P1070070

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