Mix and Match Pantry Cleaning Breakfast Bars

Anastasio is our Warehouse Manager. Here’s his take on a healthy snack and a little insight into his unique and loveable nature.¬†Breakfast bars¬†unedited.

This recipe serves several purposes in my household: It give’s me a healthy, filling snack to munch on whenever it isn’t the most convenient time for cooking a meal (see: running late in the morning). To clean my pantry of all the last little jars of this-and-that lying around taking up what limited valueable space in the pantry and fridge. To make Betty Crocker tremble before my masterful baking prowess (to have a little fun when doing something mundane, like cleaning out the pantry).

Stuff you should have:

What you absolutely need:

– A large mixing bowl

– A 12x12 (or similar dimentions) ceramic baking pan, at least an inch deep

– Enough parchment paper to line the pan (allows for easy removal of the bar mix, as well as not contaminating the mix with having to grease the pan)

Things you could use:

– While not absolutely necessary, a smaller bowl for dried ingredients

– A mixer (but hands are more fun, generally).

– Cutting board to stack them in the fridge if you plan on doing multiple batches.

Ingredients:

The key here is to use whatever you have, not eveything listed below, just make sure the portioning is correct for each row of ingredients as those ingredients are interchangeable (eg. You can use 2.5 cups of just oats…or 1 cup quinoa flakes, 1 cup almond meal, 0.5 cups spelt flakes, for that portion etc.) You have plenty of options.

2.5 cups oatmeal/quinoa flakes/amaranth flakes/spelt flakes/kamut flakes/rye flakes/almond meal*

1 cup peanut butter/almond butter/walnut butter/macadamia nut butter/cashew butter/coconut butter**

1 cup honey**/agave/fruit jam/date mash/3 large overripe and/or frozen** bananas or 4 of the small guys

– Optional 1 cup of dried fruits/nuts

– Optional 1 cup of nuts/dried fruits

– Optional 1 tablespoon of cinnamon*/cardamom*/maple syrup to taste*

The optional portions are to use if you have them, but if not you will still have bars at the end of the day, rest assured. You can use 2 cups of either dried fruits or nuts, but I prefer to mix it up (Keep in mind, too many whole almonds can be treacherous for teeth.)

You can even throw in things like powders or hemp to fit your needs as long as it doesn’t dry out the mix too much.

*As for the spices, that is totally your own discretion, really. If you think it will work, go for it. What’s above are just my recommendations.

The same goes for the almond meal. I’ve listed it because I’ve used it (successfully) before, but I’m sure other nut meals work well too.

**Don’t forget to make sure harder ingredients are warmed to mixable liquid consistency. Clumpy coconut butter, chunky raw honey or hard still frozen bananas will negatively effect the distribution of their goodness throughout the recipe.

Method:

Mix wet ingredients in the large bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in the other bowl.

Slowly mix in dry ingredients while stirring contents of the wet making sure all the dry ingredients absorb the liquid and distribute evenly.

Line the 12x12 pan with parchment paper then spread and press mixture evenly in the pan.

Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes (15 minutes afterward for each subsequent batch since the pan is already hot after removing the batch with the parchment paper)

Remove, cool and place in the fridge for an hour to cool and settle.

After they’re cold, cut into bars, or any shape you desire, like triangles or something, I won’t judge.

Given you now have all this freedom to clean out your pantry and have some fun; A half mix of oats and quinoa flakes, coconut butter/mana, raw/honey, with picans and chopped dried figs is as awesome as it sounds.

There should be something for everyone in here (except the raw foodists, sorry about that, since I don’t really have a practical method solidifying the mix/batter other than baking in an oven).

Pictured are bars consisting of:

1. Mostly quinoa flakes, with a bit of oatmeal, coconut mana with a dab of almond butter, raw honey, with shredded coconut and mulberries as well as a random trail mix (goji berries, sacha ichi seeds, chia, raisins).

2. Quinoa flakes, almond butter, regular honey, with mulberries, cinnamon and topped with hemp hearts and more of that trail mix plus a little leftover granola with raisins to round it out.