Funner in the Summer: Homemade School Snacks from Knitty Bitties

Happy Tuesday all you wonderful 30 Handmade Days readers. I’m pleased as punch that Mique invited me over for a little guest post.

When I signed up … way back before summer really started … I picked the end of the schedule as I knew I’d be soaking up the short summer break my little guy {who is on a year round schedule} has from school.

Guess what? He went back to school yesterday! Boo!!

So while this post might be perfect timing for back to school, we all know that snacking is a YEAR ROUND affair … especially in the summer! I love to make homemade snacks for my little guy. I just feel like knowing what goes into the snack makes it 100x better than a store bought version. I don’t go sugar {or even chocolate} free, but I *try* to balance it out with healthy ingredients and just trust my gut {literally} that homemade is better.

Two of my favorite snacks to make~

Homemade Granola Bars {pretty healthy}:: 
After trying several recipes, my latest was a huge success. It passes the picky eater seal of approval, the husband seal of approval, sister seal of approval and fellow mommy seal of approval. I used this recipe with a few small modifications ~ Homemade Whole Grain & Nut Energy Bars (which is really close to my second favorite, Thick, Chewy Granola Bars). I noted my changes in parentheses.
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raw nuts (1/2C pecans & 1/2C unsalted cashews)
  • 1/2 cup raw seeds (unsalted/un-roasted sunflower seeds)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed (1/2C wheat germ)
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (almond butter/a tiny bit of Jif when I ran out of almond ;D)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (more like 4T since I had half a stick in the fridge)
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of course salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate ships or chunks


Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Line 13×9″ baking pan with foil or parchment paper (for easy removal), and butter all sides.
  • Toast oats, nuts & seeds, and coconut on a cookie sheet in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

** I skipped this step and instead put all the dry ingredients (minus the oats) in the food processor to get a finer mix. **

  • Meanwhile, bring peanut butter, honey, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to a simmer to a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low.
  • Transfer toasted mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the flaxseed (**wheat germ**).
  • Carefully pour the wet mixture into the bowl, and stir until fully combined; incorporate the chocolate chips.
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared pan, and use the back of a spoon to pack it in really well.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan for a few hours, then cut into bars and enjoy!

**I purchased all of my nuts/coconut/wheat germ from the bulk section at Win-Co making it slightly less expensive. I also buy my almond butter fresh ground as well as my honey from Win-Co. I wouldn’t say this is a ‘cheap’ replacement for store bought granola bars, but they are so, so, so much better tasting (and better for you). Plus it makes 16 bars, which is about 2 boxes … so it’s probably a wash or a slight savings. **

Unlike the other recipes I had tried, these cut really nice about 2 hours after baking and didn’t require overnight cooling to come together. I cut the pan into 16 rectangular bars which really stayed together. Sure there are still a few crumbles, like any granola bar, but so much less than my earlier attempts.

Sweet Party Mix {oh so delicious, but not as healthy}
{Knitty Bitties version ~ adapted from Better Homes & Gardens}

Prep: 10min
Bake: 20min
Oven: 300
Make: 12 Cups

{8} Cups Crispix
{2} Cups Pretzel Sticks
{1/2} Cup Slivered Almonds or Chopped Almonds
{1/2} Cup Cashew Pieces
{1/2} Cup Craisins
{1/2} Cup Dried Blueberries
{1} Stick Butter
{1} Cup Brown Sugar (Packed)
{1/4} Cup Light Corn Syrup

1. In a LARGE bowl (coated with cooking spray) combine ingredients, Crispix through Dried Blueberries.
2. In a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, without stirring, for 5 minutes more. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly pour over cereal mixture; stiring gently to coat.
3.Spread cereal mixture out on a large cookie sheet (coated with cooking spray) and bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes; stir mixture and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and spread on a large piece of foil to cool. Break into pieces if necessary and store in an airtight container.

I also love to start off our week with ‘Muffins on Monday’ which last us for several days. Sometimes they are healthier with whole wheat and applesauce and sometimes they are white flour and butter and sugar. It’s all about balance and like I said it’s homemade which is still better than a box of doughnuts or a toaster pastry.

Now, not all of our snacks are homemade. Some of my store bought favorites are::

  • Archer Farms {Target} Real Fruit Strips
  • Dried fruit {no added sugars or preservatives} from our local farmer’s market
  • Pretzels {add a bit of natural peanut butter for a yummy dip}
  • Goldfish
  • Archer Farms Monster Trail Mix
  • Cheesesticks
  • Simply Gogurt {although I still think this is a lot of sugar}
  • Simply Fruit Roll-Ups {new to me … but no sugar added and all fruit!!}

I hope this gave you a new idea or encouraged you to try a homemade version of one of your family’s favorite store bought snacks. In fact, the two recipes above have plenty of steps for little helping hands to join in on making their snacks.

Happy last days of summer … I hope you soak it all up!

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If you have been reading 30days for a bit, then you have seen me gush about Andrea.  Most recently I wrote an I am a Fan post. She is wonderfully fabulous in just about every way.  I am so happy to have her guest post again.  I love these snack ideas- healthy and YUM! Can’t go wrong. And can I tell you how excited I am that we will actually get to meet next April (why so far?) at SNAP!?!?  Cannot wait.  Make sure to visit Knitty Bitties: blog and shop.  

Mique
Hi- I'm Mique (as in Mickey). I started 30days as an idea file a few years ago. After three years and hundreds of ideas, I now realize that I'll never check them all off my list. When I'm not creating, I love spending time with family and friends and long drives, especially if they end at the beach.
Mique
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Comments

  1. Syndea says

    I’m going to try the granola bars tomorrow as I teach 15 teenage girls a few cooking tips. Can’t wait!
    Syndea (Mique’s mom)

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