Surprised to see me here on a Friday night? All in the name of playing a little bit of catch-up. Just this once. When the folks at Quaker Oats sent me an email asking me to write about my afterschool memories, I hesitated. I have three distinct memories of afterschool food growing up, and two of them are terrible for any foodie to talk about (um, Cream of Mushroom soup straight from the can anyone?). The third one, I still eat on occasion … toaster pizza … white bread, a little bit of tomato sauce, slice of American cheese, broiled. It totally brings me back to those school days, back when Afterschool Specials were a regular occurrence and my biggest worries were passing Algebra (I didn’t the first go ’round), wondering if that boy was going to call me, and improvising my Catholic all girls’ school uniform so it didn’t look, well, like a Catholic all girls’ school uniform. Luckily, Quaker Oats also said I could talk about afterschool memories that I create with my kids too. Phew!
If you haven’t caught on by now, I am big on creating memories. Whether it’s a rainbow cake to celebrate the beginning and end of another school year, a monthly road trip with the kids, a new photo wall in our kitchen, or our Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve dinner, I just love the memories. Afterschool ones are no exception. For us, it starts with a glass cookie jar on the counter. It’s always full of some delicious treat. Right now, one of them (yes, there’s more than one) happens to be filled with my favorite colored jelly beans. The other one? Sometimes it’s cookies, or a new sweet and salty snack mix, or granola bars. Right this second? It’s this recipe for Deliciously Homemade Granola Bars.
We go through a crazy amount of granola in this house. Whether it’s a store-bought bar, or the granola mix from Costco (love!) or something homemade, we’re always eating it, so when I spied this new recipe, it got quickly shuffled to the top of the pile. Using ingredients I already had on hand, and yes, Quaker oats too, it was crazy simple to make.
I love that one of Nick’s afterschool traditions is to scope out what’s going on in the glass cookie jar on the counter. He tosses his backpack on the floor, grabs something to munch on and pours a glass of something cold. He tells me about his day. He asks about Madeline’s day. And he stalls as much as he can before he starts his homework. A memory we will forever have.
One more thing and then I’m outta here for the weekend … the folks at Quaker Oats have teamed up with Afterschool Alliance and Miranda Cosgrove (hello iCarly fans!) to focus on making sure kids continue to get affordable, quality afterschool programs. You can get more details here, along with a chance to enter their sweepstakes to win a private performance from Miranda. Nick is a big iCarly fan (heck, so is Maddie now), so you can bet they’d be thrilled with this.
Alright folks, have an awesome weekend!
P.S. Just to keep my nose clean with those new FTC guidelines, the kind team at Quaker Oats did compensate me to share my afterschool memories and tell you about their joints efforts with the Afterschool Alliance, but they didn’t tell me what to say.
Deliciously Homemade Granola Bars
Recipe courtesy of The Motherload
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, mini chocolate chips, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. I recommend using a plastic knife to cut these out to get a perfectly cut bar with minimal crumbs.