July Food Stamp Challenge — Day Twelve, Stymied by Clif

by Katy on July 12, 2011 · 67 comments

Today is day twelve of the July Food Stamp Challenge and I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock. I have already alluded to how my husband is not so, well let’s just say super keen to be participating in yet another food stamp challenge. So far he’s been pretty good about staying away from buying food, (I told him I would do all the grocery shopping and cooking for the month, which hello . . . is a bitchin’ deal for him!) He was even okay about coming directly home after yesterday’s Timbers game to eat rather than stopping for a slice of pizza. But today my husband (bless his heart) stopped in at New Seasons and picked up a six pack of beer and a zillion Clif bars. $31.76 worth to be precise. This was after I had planned a lovely, yet inexpensive meal of burritos made with homemade tortillas, slow cooked pinto beans and multiple topping choices. (Many of which were the very last of the 4th of July cut up veggies from my mother’s barbecue.)

I had known my husband wanted to pick up some beer, as we’re hosting another British soccer coach for the week, but the Clif bars kind of pissed me off. Okay, they royally pissed me off. So much so, that I gave brief thought to pretending it hadn’t happened and simply not adding it to the month’s total.

I guess a little background information is in order. My husband works in emergency services, works twelve hour shifts and does not have access to a microwave. This limits what he can bring for meals, and he relies on Clif bars. (He also brings sandwiches and fruit.) But I wish he’s told me he wanted them, which would have given me a chance to figure out an alternative.

I know that if my husband and I were truly trying to eek by on a food stamp budget, we’d probably be having this kind of conflict on a frequent basis. (My husband does not like financial limitations.)

What would you do? Do you have a granola bar recipe to share? Please, I need your help!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”



{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie Jones July 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

I’m not sure what I would do…only occasionally do we buy/eat granola bars or similar bars. I know there are recipes for them, but I haven’t tried any since we aren’t big fans to begin with. I think my husband would just sub in peanut butter and crackers.


Donna July 12, 2011 at 4:26 am

I use this recipe:

It’s great! I cut down on the amount of brown sugar (to 1/2 cup). They are very versatile. I’ve made craisin with orange extract flavored bars, chocolate chip bars, cinnamon chip bars…I’ve added a little cocoa to the recipe to make them chocolatey. We don’t like nuts in ours, but I’m sure you could add them. I also use a quarter sheet pan to bake them in so they come out a bit thinner than in a 9×13 pan. I get about 14 bars per batch.


Samantha July 13, 2011 at 4:26 am

This is the recipe I use as well, but I leave out the sugar entirely, and replace half of the oil with applesauce. We’ve had a lot of fun playing around with different flavour combinations – so far my kids favourite is almond extract, dried cherries, and carob chips.


Elizabeth July 12, 2011 at 4:30 am

I have tried to make granola bars before, and for all the effort it was a waste for me – they ended up more like granola cereal, completely unable to stick together.

I would check the $ store for granola bars, if he isn’t only willing to eat the one brand.

He could also bring cold food with an ice pack – something like yogurt stays cold well and (imo) is quite filling for how in expensive it can be, especially with coupons.


Katy July 12, 2011 at 5:23 am

I forgot to write that he also brings a Greek yogurt every day as well.



Carla July 12, 2011 at 6:38 am

Kristen at The Frugal Girl has good information about making your own yogurt and I must say I LOVE Greek yogurt as the starter. Very mild and delicious — and lots less expensive.


Rachel July 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

When I make her recipe for yogurt, I strain it a little through a cheesecloth to make it the same consistency as Greek yogurt. Yum!


No Debt MBA July 12, 2011 at 5:00 am

We make a healthier version of oatmeal cookies with whole wheat flour; extra oats; bananas, apple sauce or plain/vanilla yogurt replacing the oil and cutting most of the sugar out. We usually wing the recipe and some batches turn out better than others but they’re always edible and some can taste amazing for how healthy they are. We’ll also roll peanut butter, oats, sugar and sometimes cheerios together as a snack or dessert. These might be messier if there’s hot weather.

I’ve found that some burritos can be good at room temperature or cold. If they’re bean and not meat then not refrigerating should be okay for the shift. Hummus also can stay out for 6-8 hours without a problem in my experience as long as it’s not in direct sun or too hot.

I haven’t had access to a fridge in my office, though we do have a microwave. Leftovers in a tupperware do fine for me and many days I don’t even bother to heat them up. I’d experiment with a bunch of different options with the Clif bars as a back up. Hopefully you’ll find something cheaper that works and you might stretch the Clif bar supply to last longer!


harriet July 12, 2011 at 6:05 am

If my spouse decided we were going to subsist on food stamps for the month, I would rebel too. What’s the point? We work hard NOT to be on food stamps. The man works a twelve hour shift and he can’t even have the brand of granola bar he likes?

What next, sleeping in a cardboard box to make some kind of point?


Katy July 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

Cardboard box? Great idea, I’ll get right on it! 😉



Michele July 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

Makes more sense than sending him to the dog house 🙂


Ciara July 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

sadly, some people work hard and still qualify for food stamps. it’s not fair to judge how hard people work based on whether or not they qualify for gov’t. assistance. the point is to understand how the grocery store looks through the eyes of someone with different privileges than you.

i have a masters degree and work part time at a crisis center for youth. i spend the rest of my time volunteering and as a homemaker.

i still qualify for food stamps.


Megg July 12, 2011 at 6:30 am

Oops. That must have made a dent in your budget 🙁 Although, for that kind of money I’d hope that they will last him the rest of the month!
I know The Frugal Girl has a recipe for granola bars! But you might have already known that.


Carla July 12, 2011 at 6:42 am

I like the Barefoot Contessa’s Granola Bars, found at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-granola-bars-recipe/index.html. Once made and cut, I wrapped them in foil and froze them, which kept them from being too sticky or from going bad very fast. They are a bit of a sticky mess to make. 😉


John July 12, 2011 at 7:23 am

Check out Grocery Outlet… the Hollywood store often has 12 packs of Clif bars for ~$7.


The Saved Quarter July 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

This was going to be my suggestion! I get them in the SF Bay Area for the same price at Grocery Outlet. They’re about $.58 each, which is reasonable for me.


Sara Wolk July 12, 2011 at 7:49 am

Do you have a thermos? They can be awesome for really good food. i.e. leftovers, on the go. My mom has a great recipe for oat bran, zucchini, blueberry, carrot muffins. They are incredible and super nourishing too. I make blackberry scones that are great for snacks too. Oh, and I also have relied heavily on your pumpkin scone recipe. Maybe you could make lots of alternatives and whatever cliff bars are left over at the end of the month you could subtract them from this months total. Is that cheating?


Jenny July 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

Hmmmm….don’t have ananswer for your dilemma, although I sympathize as my husband is prone to blowing the grocery budget as well. All this talk makes me want to try making granola bars, though.


Reese July 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

Unfortunately, you’ve posted before about how your husband doesn’t participate in the same type of spending fast you do (but has greatly reduced how much he spends on clothes and household items).

I may be the only one so far who thinks this way… but I sort of see the grocery budget as the same thing. While it’s fine for you… it may not be fine for him. To do this type of monthly thing, you need the a-ok and support from everyone in the house. And he just doesn’t want to do it. I think you should be accommodating to this.

Homemade granola bars are ok, but some don’t provide the same caloric intake or ability to last all day as Clif bars do. I think you should just let him buy them, as they help his performance at work and health. They should be counted in the household budget and if you don’t happen to make a donation to the food bank, then oh well! At least you’re being mindful of excess purchases and not going crazy 🙂


Mary Kate July 12, 2011 at 8:22 am

I was thinking muffins. Make a bunch of nutritious muffins and freeze them in ready to go packaging/portions. If he absolutely “has” to have CLIF Bars what about ordering them with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save and using SwagBucks to pay for them. You can get a 24 pack of Crunchy Peanut Butter CLIF Bars for $.81 each when you use Subscribe & Save.


Roberta July 12, 2011 at 8:29 am

This is a tough situation because there’s potential on both your and your husband’s sides to feel resentful of each other. The first thing I would do in your position is to scout around for an incredible deal on Clif Bars (John’s Grocery Outlet suggestion, above, sounds hard to beat) and see if that would work with your budget, especially because your husband isn’t totally on board with the food stamp challenge and he likes his Clif Bars during his long shifts. (Maybe this is a moot point now that your husband has already bought a bunch of Clif Bars!)

The second thing I’d do is try to find a recipe for a Clif Bar substitute that works for your husband’s tastebuds. I’m not sure how easy this is, but I see there are several suggestions in the comments.

My daughter loves cherry Lara Bars, and I have made those from scratch with dates, almonds, and dried cherries. The ingredients can seem a little pricey, even from bulk bins at Winco, but it’s still cheaper than buying Lara Bars and they taste almost identical, since cherry Lara Bars only have those 3 ingredients to begin with.

Good luck!


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending July 13, 2011 at 9:39 am

Roberta- The cherry lara bars from scratch sound delicious- care to share the recipe?


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending July 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

Or maybe I should say- share the method, since you’ve already named the ingredients. Thanks!


Ann July 12, 2011 at 8:30 am

I’m with harriet on this one.


Amy July 12, 2011 at 9:01 am

it sounds like your husband works hard for a living. I’ve done those kind of shifts and even though mine didn’t involve hard physical labor, let me tell you it is almost always better to have a conveniently package cliff bar to grab and go with than try to haul a crumbly muffin, or other more easily perishable homemade food item in a ziploc or tupperware. Since your husband doesn’t really like the food stamp challange (and really, see harriet’s comments above) and he works such grueling shifts – perhaps it’s the more gracious compromise to allow him this little pleasure. With as creative as you are, I’m confident you can earn or make up the $31 dollars in your budget elsewhere if this is simply about money. I’m all for frugal, but if it starts to impede your ability to enjoy life, it might be time to rethink the situation and relax the rules a little bit!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl July 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

Can you buy Clif bars on Amazon with your Swagbucks?


Katy July 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

No. I gave them all to my friend Kristen.




Kristen@TheFrugalGirl July 13, 2011 at 1:37 am

Oh dear.


Sandy July 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

I gave up trying to “make” anybody else do challenges. If I want to do them that’s one thing, but that doesn’t mean everybody else wants to.


Jackie July 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

I am with Harriet. I have tried to get my husband on board with these things and it always fails. I would use the $$ you are saving by being frugal in general to purchase the CLiff Bars rather than making your own. In the grand scheme of things, it is not a big deal.


Barb July 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

While I apprecite the intent of your challenge, I have to agree with some of the others. Your husband works long hours in what can be a high stress job. Is this challenge worth creating resentment between the two of you?
New to your blog, but it sounds like you did this last year and he participated? Im not sure that homemade ganola bars are the same as true ‘energy bars”. I’d just deal with it as it is, and you can always donate money or items to a food group as well.


Jo July 12, 2011 at 10:12 am

If it was me, with a similarly reluctant spouse, I would not count his beer and Clif bars. Look on them as being like a CD or DVD – entertainment. Just count what you spend. If your life required the limitations, your husband would likely be more willing to get on board with things.

I do have a snack suggestion that’s similar to regular granola bars but is easier to make. Spread peanut butter on two graham crackers. On one cracker, place raisins and chocolate chips onto the pb to roughly cover it. Place other cracker on top, pb side down. Yum!


Marianne July 12, 2011 at 10:33 am

You may have to compromise on this one. Could you find cliff bars cheaper somewhere else and return the ones he bought for a savings? Im pretty sure the convenience factor outweighed the cost in his mind. You could try to make up the difference with something else, like adding dandilion leaves to the salad, making stuffed blossoms from squash blossoms or looking for unopened food items on freecycle or craigslist. I always see people giving away the nutrisystem meals they dont want. :). Good luck and remember the teapot! (his heart was in the right place!)


Sherry July 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’m with Katy. This challenge is important to her and she’s asking for support from her family. She’s willing to do the work and look for an alternative to save money. If the alternative is a homemade bar, she’s willing to put in the work and make them for him. Perhaps the alternative would be to find the same bars at a cheaper price and he wouldn’t have to sacrifice at all for the challenge. But if he did have to eat a homemade granola bar instead of the Clif Bar (Horrors!) it would only be for a month.


Katy July 12, 2011 at 11:02 am


You are my new best friend. 😉



Mama Minou July 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

What about some super-yummy and super-healthy cookies? Oatmeal, raisins, dried fruit, nuts, low sugar, extra eggs, seeds, coconut, etc…

If nothing will do but Cliff Bars, you can get a box of 20 at Costco for just under $20. I regularly accept these gifts from my mom (who is a Costco member, which I am not) as a sports-or-ballet practice after-school snack for my boys. They like them, and they are space and time saving.


gerard kiernan July 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

go easy on the guy!
In our family, I am the relatively cheap one when it comes to Clif bars, and I do admit getting a little grumpy about a pile of them that the kids gnaw while other options are unexplored. On the other hand, I make Jennifer crazy in various and sundry ways, but she generally puts up with me. Luckily , you guys aren’t on food stamps. My heart goes out to those who are.


Tina (Tightwad Mom) July 12, 2011 at 11:13 am

Double crap! I hate when my hubby puts a monkey wrench in my frugal plans and self challenges (i.e. complaining about line dried undies and towels when I am trying not to use the dryer, so that we can afford to run the A/C. Oh, and eating orange jello with apricots in it, so that I don’t have to waste them). I wish I had an alternative to the Clif bars, but I don’t. Maybe whipping up a batch of banana bread with some black bananas instead? Good luck!


Karen July 12, 2011 at 11:21 am

Target has a $1 off CLif Bar coupon paired with a $1 Manufactures coupon, makes it MUCH better. I got my kids some Zbars for less than $2 for 6.


Darcidoodle July 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

That stinks, Katy! Sorry to hear that your fella sideswiped you. Grrr!

Here are two go-to’s for me. Both have been STUPENDOUSLY successful:



Hope these help!


Ellie July 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I would let him have his bars and not fret! It sounds like it’s a need to him. Maybe you can find an online coupon or purchase them in bulk for him in advance so it’s not as costly.


annie vanderven July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

cant help you there my husband is the same, and is favourite outing is tagging along when I go grocery shopping.


asrai July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

In the future, I would give him a portion of budget to spend as he wishes.


katie July 12, 2011 at 2:55 pm

This is one of me and my kids super favorite recipes… I added some chocolate chips for my husband, and I keep them in the freezer… Great breakfast on the go, packed with lots of yummy stuff.


Kris2 July 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Just my opinion, but I don’t think this is worth getting irritated or angry about.

You said he wasn’t keen on the challenge to begin with. You are not on food stamps so if he doesn’t want to totally commit to a pretend time on food stamps, he shouldn’t have to. Also, by and large you said he was a good sport about going along with your plan. I think you should cut the guy some slack 😉

My husband is the sole breadwinner for our family so I cut him as much slack as possible. He works super hard to bring it in and I work super hard to manage it well so we are NOT in the position of not being able to afford food

My husband has a passion for garbage cereal; Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops, and on and on. I would prefer to never buy them because they are a)garbage and b)expensive. He works his rear off providing for our family so I don’t fight a cereal battle with him. If he gets up at 3ameveryday to go to work and wants to have crap cereal on hand, more power to him.

You don’t have to follow it exactly to get the concept behind the challenge. I haven’t been following it as if I was on food stamps, but I participate somewhat in the challenge because it reminds me about wasting food and not taking food security for granted.

Just my opinion 🙂 I am one who picks my battles, and this is one that *I* wouldn’t choose to take up…


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl July 13, 2011 at 1:42 am

There are some areas like this with my husband, and my perspective is similar to yours…for instance, the kids and I don’t eat much breakfast cereal, but my husband has to eat at 5 am and is in a hurry to get out the door, so I’m not going to insist he eat pancakes or some other type of breakfast that takes longer. I just buy him cereal, and the rest of us eat cheaper breakfast foods.

He also used to have a Mountain Dew passion, and that wasn’t a battle I wanted to fight. Fortunately, he gave that one up of his own accord, and I’m thrilled about that!


Kris2 July 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Gasp. I have a diet cherry coke and/or diet cherry doctor pepper addiction…blush LOL

My mom paid for ww for me and by starting to eat better, I started thinking about my mindless consumption of an astounding amount of pop..lol

I finally switched over to more water and some Crystal Light, with a pop a day or every other day.

I feel like I need a 12 step program 😉


Kris2 July 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Oh, and I didn’t mean to imply that anyone on food stamps mismanages their finances w/o exception. I meant I try very hard to manage our budget so I have room to play with the food budget, so we have the money available for my dh’s cereal.

I don’t know how to state this better. I feel like I am still not getting it right, but I don’t know how else to explain it…blah!LOL!


Kimberly in So Cal July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm

This is a tough one, but really, I would let it go. If you *did* live on food stamps and he *did* need the Clif Bars for work you’d figure out a way to make it happen. I think the biggest issue here isn’t the convenience of the Clif Bars or your willingness to make something similar so much as a lack of planning. If he always buys Clif Bars then this really shouldn’t have been a surprise purchase.

It does, however, illustrate how difficult it can be to cope with unplanned expenses on a tight food budget. In this case it was Clif Bars, but for a family who truly lives on food stamps it could be something like unexpectedly being told to bring something for a bake sale at school (and many schools require purchased/packaged baked goods) or having family show up on your door step and needing to feed them for a week.


Marcey July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I find this interesting because my husband doesn’t go into the grocery store ever, so I’m not sure what he’d do if his snack of choice wasn’t around the house. I can say that a few months ago I brought home a documentary that looked interesting to me (from our lovely library 🙂 that happened to be about processed food. Next thing he’s on the couch watching it, and then up and looking at the ingredients on his then-favorite box of granola bars (which I absolutely could not keep in stock at the rate he ate them.) And THEN he’s asking is there something I can make that is similar but without all the crap in it. Thank you internet search for granola. I tried the bars and utterly failed at trying to get them to be bars, so I just make the granola and package them in little reusable rubbermaids and he’s happy as a clam, and it’s tons cheaper, and he’s not getting so much processed stuff.

I know this doesn’t help your situation, but it surprised me when it happened, so I guess I’m wishing for an epiphany for your hubby, too. Unfortunately, like portals to Narnia, they generally only show up when you _aren’t_ looking for them :). (((hugs)))


Kris2 July 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Would you mind sharing the name of the documentary? 🙂


Marcey July 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Ingreedients : the choice is yours

It really was good. 🙂


Christina July 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Interested to see how big a difference that $31 makes by the end of the month. He got his Clif bars but it’s rice and beans the last week of July!


Tiffany Reed July 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I love lara bars they are raw and just plain simple ingredients but the price no way. so here is a simple way to make them basically any nut for the base plus fruit delicious easy no bake less mess bars.
Good luck
You can add protein powder in them too also try green smoothies.

Ingredients for 6 Larabars:

1 cup nuts Any kind

1 cup medjol or other soft dates

1 teaspoon lemon juice

a pinch of salt

Make the nuts fine in your blender or food processor. Don’t blend to a powder. The bars taste better with tiny pieces of nuts in them.

Press the dates to a paste. I did this by hand in a little bowl. If you do it in your blender or food processor, the dates stick to the knifes. By hand is easier.

Add the nuts, lemon and salt and mix by hand to a dough.

Make 2 long ropes from the dough by rolling it over your cutting board. Make the top and edges flat with a flat wooden spoon. Cut each rope into 3 pieces.


Kristi July 12, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Kimberly in So Cal above said just what I was thinking… try to see it as a good illustration of throwing a wrench into the works! You already know you can make due with the Challenge with positive and inspiring results; so look at this as the next step into the challenge; going with the flow!


Angela@MyYearWithoutSpending July 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Ha! You know what I would say about telling your husband…

This one sounds good, and it comes from the top: http://beta.news.yahoo.com/blogs/weekend-edition/favorite-michelle-obama-snack-exclusive-access-white-house-133812213.html

I have a couple of others set aside – I’ll try to find and comment again.


Maarten July 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Granola bars, a huge plasma TV, designer shoes, a Tesla car, it does not matter…., just a sign that your partner feels left out. Talk about it!

Reading all the reader’s posts one thing is clear: Americans are addicted to sugar. Read the label: EVERYTHING contains corn syrup. I can not imagine one can live on granola bars, fruit and yoghurt alone, not mentioning working 12 hours on it. If its low fat, plain yoghurt that’s OK, but if it is flavoured yoghurt it contains even more sugar than regular cola. Eating that for years means a potential risk of diabetes. Better to eat rye bread with low-fat (real, not processed) cheese, plain yoghurt and fruit. And beer contains, again, a lot of sugar (carbohydrates). I worked in the Off-Shore business working 16hrs a day, everyday, during 3-month shifts. The thing that kept me going was eating well, meaning home cooked dinners (low fat and no sugars).
Kick out the sugars and you feel a lot better (that will need a few weeks of cold-turkey detox though).


Connie July 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

Your challenge is to make the conditions as close as possible to people who are on foodstamps, right? I imagine those people get sabotaged by their spouses too. I think that is the reality, and your husband helped you get closer to their reality, so you should thank him.

I think I remember you saying your challenge is not about proving that you can do it and more about empathizing with those who do do it.


Mary Kate July 13, 2011 at 2:31 am

I think it’s important to remember that most people on Food Stamps also buy food items that are not covered by Food Stamps (maybe your Guac chips fall into that categpry). Maybe the bigger challenge is to lower your food bill for the month and donate the difference, with sticking to the Food Stamp allotmentment as closely as possible.


Jennifer July 13, 2011 at 5:43 am

Working twelve hour shifts so one does not have to be on food stamps and then being denied cliff bars, that seems like a lot to ask of Dale. I guess this is where the “challenge” comes into play. My advice (not that your asking for it) is that keeping Dale happy should be a high priority. Good luck!


Heather July 13, 2011 at 7:19 am

You said . . . “I am not here to force my ideas and ideals on unwilling recipients, even my own kids.” Today was I was reading your “What Katy Buys New” segment above. Thought you might appreciate the reminder.

I have the same issues here. I’m thrifty, my husband. . . not so much. Has caused me alot of stress over the years! Trying to put his needs above mine, asking God for help to be gracious, to be a good steward, to be a blessing to my husband and not a curse.


Mary July 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

I agree with Jo – don’t count it in your budgeted amount for the month. My husband has to have Ben & Jerry’s every night so I’m happy we both have jobs!
Good luck with the rest of the month.


Ciara July 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

hey katy!

i love cliff bars on the trail, but my partner hates them. so i have a homemade recipe that we both love. and they seem to hold up (not crumble) in our packs on long backpacking trips, so i am sure they will be fine for him to take to work.


also, if the recipe doesn’t cut it, try grocery outlet! they just opened one near me in north portland, and as a food stamper, i love it. they sometimes have cliff bars, power bars, etc. for cheap. you can also get beer there.

here is an easy yogurt recipe as well (depending on the type of milk you purchase, it is sometimes actually just cheaper to buy yogurt in bulk – so do the math). strain it to make greek yogurt.



Bauunny July 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I’ve been thinking about this and have decided that the freedom to purchase Cliff Bars is similar to the thrill we get when we find something at Goodwill that we love. I would not want to be deprived of the treat of buying something I did not know I needed until I saw it and/or it was a good deal or would make a great gift so I think if Cliff Bars make your husband happy — that is what is most important. (I personally love Cliff Bars too and I also love having the flavor selection (rather than having to eat the same kind of homemade bar until they are gone). My advice is chalk it up to “life’s simple pleasures” and be grateful he does not have a worse vice. 🙂


Phaedra Roth July 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Two things stink here. First, the way your hubby sabotaged your efforts, and two, the way so many posters don’t see a problem with it.

If the roles had been reversed, there would be recriminations for not cooperating with your husband, since it’s only for a month, and what about self-restrain, blah blah ad infinitum.

Don’t say you’re on board with something if you really aren’t!


Joy July 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather your ingredients:
• 2 cups oats
• 3/4 cup wheat germ
• 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1 cup peanuts, crushed
• 2/3 cup brown sugar **too much sugar for me, 1/3 c here
• 1/2 cup honey
• 4 Tbsp butter
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
• approximately 8 oz. dried fruit
To crush your peanuts, put them in a plastic bag and smash them with a heavy mallet, measuring cup, or sauce pan.
Then, mix the peanuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes so that they don’t get burned.
Meanwhile, prepare a glass baking dish (about 11 x 13 inches) for your granola by lining it with waxed paper lightly sprayed with a nonstick spray.
Put the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
By now, your grains and nuts should be toasted, so mix everything together in a large bowl. The grains, the liquid “glue,” and the dried fruit. Oh, and turn off your oven, because you’re finished with it now.
Mix everything REALLY WELL because you want to make sure the “glue” gets all over everything. Now, dump your granola mixture into your prepared baking dish.
Spread out the mixture with a rubber spatula.
Now fold over the sides of the waxed paper or add a sheet on top, and PRESS HARD all over the granola. You want to compact it together so that your bars won’t fall apart when you cut them.
Wait 2-3 hours or until the granola has totally cooled.
Then, open the waxed paper …
And carefully turn the granola onto a large cutting board, peeling away the rest of the paper.
Now, firmly pressing down with a big knife (not sawing), cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. I wrapped ours individually in plastic wrap, so that we could just throw one into our bag or lunch box in the morning. If you’d like to save on packaging though, you can store yours in an airtight container, between sheets of waxed paper (so they don’t stick together). Of course, you can mix up the recipe.
Of course, I never follow a recipes to the letter. I didn’t add any dried fruits because I didn’t have any! I added a handful of chocolate chips from the freezer and I found a small tube of M&M’s minis in the freezer that I bought 75% off. I also had some cashew and almond pieces. I put the cashews in the mix and pressed the almond slices onto the top of the bars before I pounded the crap outta them! These were YUMMY and I’m still eating on the batch of them. They really fill you up!!
Another combo that would be fun to try is macadamia nuts, dried pineapple, and coconut flakes. Or try dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips (just a few).


Jennifer Crispin July 19, 2011 at 6:40 am

I love my homemade granola bar recipe! I haven’t had time to make them since starting my new job, but for a while they were a staple at our house. I’m going to need to get back on the horse soon, though, as it appears that the mega-box of Nature Valley granola bars has just run out, and if there isn’t an alternative in the house, my husband will be going shopping, too.

I started with the playgroup granola bars recipe that was linked to above, but I’ve made several tweaks since then, and here’s what I ended up with:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips
3/4 t salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease 9″x13″ baking pan.
Mix together ingredients. Pat the mixture into the prepared pan.
(I like my granola bars thick, so I usually only cover about 2/3 of the bottom of the pan. I just pat it into one side as thick as I like, then add to the edge until I use up all the mixture.)
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on how thick your bars are. Tops and edges should start to turn golden when one. Cool for five minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

My husband was skeptical when I started my granola bar experiment, but now everyone in the house loves them.


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