More Than Simply Granola

Every so often, something happens and makes us reflect on our lives, our paths, our choices, and our friends.  I do this all too often.  I’m an over-thinker.  Nonetheless, it seems my life lately has brought me to tears of joy and grief, and sometimes simultaneously.  I suppose it’s growth.  We learn something new about ourselves in others and through others each day.  I’m thankful for the gifts.  

Someone I know has left this earth all too soon.  She was only 27, and worked at the office with my husband.  She was lovely, sweet, kind, and simply adorable.  She liked my baking – especially the granola bars.  A few weeks ago, I baked these and made sure my hubs took some to the office just for Domonique.  I’m now thankful my random act of kindness was my final impression in her distant memory of me, and mine of her.  So for her, do something warm, homey, earthy, and lovely:  make these bars!

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And Now:  The Recipe

**Which I borrowed from Ina Garten’s Recipe at FoodNetwork.com & made it my own with whatever in the world I could find in the kitchen! Special thanks to my bro Jason for the plethora of whole nuts!!**
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup Kashi 7-Grain Cereal
1 cup toasted rice cereal (rice Krispies)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup flax seed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup REAL Maple Syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Butterscotch chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal and cereals together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Grind the almonds, pistachios, and pecans.

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Grind the nut mixture to bring an elevated texture to the mix

Toast the almonds, pistachios, pecans, & flax with the cinnamon in a buttered saucepan, and then mix into the toasted cereal. 

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Bring out the flavor of the nuts by toasting them and make the oils come alive!

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the butterscotch chips!

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Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.ImageVoila!!  You can wrap them individually.  I promise it will make your giftee feel even more special!

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