Only 100 calories and made without butter, refined flour or refined sugar.
On Wednesday morning, I awoke to the gentle pitter-patter of raindrops gently hitting my window. I sighed, pulling the covers up to my chin and seriously contemplating whether I could spend the entire day in bed. Less than 24 hours earlier, the sun had been shining so brightly that our outdoor thermometer read 70° and I had pulled on a pair of short for the first time this year!
Crazy California weather.
The dismal gray clouds quickly seeped into my mood, and by lunchtime, I was practically ready to move to Hawaii! (Well, slight exaggeration. But only slight.) While pouting and editing photos at my desk, I felt my cell phone vibrate next to my elbow. I glanced down at the notification, halfway expecting to see a forgotten text or Twitter alert, and did a double-take.
“MLB At Bat—OAK vs SF: Game starting.”
A smile crept across my face and I slowly began bouncing up and down in my chair like a little kid on her birthday. Spring Training had officially started… Baseball is back!!
(A short side note for those of you who may be new to my blog: I love baseball more than any other sport, and I told my dad as an 11-year-old that I wanted to visit all 30 MLB stadiums with him. We’ve been to 22 so far!)
Completely forgetting about the torrential downpours outside, I gleefully texted two of my friends—old coworkers from my previous job—the exciting news. Despite each of us going our separate ways (one to Industry, one to a Post-Doc, and me to blogging), we still stayed in touch, mainly because of our shared fanaticism for baseball.
For the next 20 minutes, messages flew back and forth: a bit of banter, a little teasing, and a lot of catching up. We’d barely talked since the Red Sox won the World Series in October! By the time the thunder threatened to start rattling the windowpanes, my cheekbones hurt a little from so much smiling.
Baseball always brightens my day!
And this sweet snack will definitely do the same for you! Full of fruity flavors, these Chewy Raspberry Apple Granola Bars taste fresh and bright, with a simple oat backdrop and comforting kiss of cinnamon. Containing just 7 healthy ingredients—most of which you stash in your kitchen already!—these wholesome, clean-eating bars are an easy and inexpensive option to the store-bought brands. (And if you’re anything like me, you’ll never go back!)
These low fat granola bars begin with old-fashioned oats. Compared to instant oats, old-fashioned oats are heartier with a little more chew, so they provide the perfect soft-baked texture. Use gluten-free oats, if necessary; they won’t affect the texture or taste.
I opted for frozen unsweetened raspberries, which means you can easily make these granola bars all year round! Try to find organic ones, if possible; with slightly better quality, they usually taste a little fresher. Some grocery stores only stock frozen sweetened raspberries, but avoid those! They contain a lot of excess sugar, so I’d recommend substituting a frozen unsweetened berry blend instead.
To create the liquid “binder,” you’ll stir together melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, milk, honey, and cinnamon. Make sure the applesauce warms up to room temperature before adding it to the coconut oil! Because of its really low melting point, coconut oil will quickly re-solidify if mixed with any chilled ingredients. And while warm cinnamon and tart raspberries may sound like a strange flavor combination, it’s absolutely addictive—I had to hide these bars in the back of my fridge to stop myself from downing half the pan in one day!
To whip up these snacks, simply mix together the liquid ingredients and stir in the oats until they’re evenly coated. Because the milk and applesauce act as glue to hold everything together, it’s really important that all of the oats are covered with the mixture to prevent the granola bars from falling apart. Then fold in the raspberries, as gently as possible to minimize their bleeding, and press into the pan to bake! Mine finished with the perfect chewy texture after 17 minutes. The center may look slightly underdone, but warm pan will continue to cook it through as they cool to room temperature.
Don’t those bright splashes of pink look so pretty?
Bursting with an irresistible combination of tart raspberries, sweet applesauce, and warm cinnamon, these Chewy Raspberry Apple Granola Bars are a delicious mid-morning or late-afternoon pick-me-up. Slip one into your child’s lunchbox for school, or sneak one after dinner for a little sweet treat. With only 100 calories and NO refined sugar, you won’t feel guilty at all!
After their photo shoot, I covered each individual bar with plastic wrap and chilled them to help maintain their addictive chewy texture. At least once a day—if not more!—I’ve stuck my head in the fridge to sneak one for a snack. These definitely won’t last me through the week…