A recent donation of over 400 pounds of oatmeal, left us a bit overwhelmed but we quickly starting including this heart healthy grain in lots of things:
Adding oatmeal (instead of bread crumbs) to our meatloaf, in a streusel topping for our desserts and in our breakfast casseroles headed to the warming shelters were some of the first ways we used the oatmeal. We were looking for other creative ways to incorporate this wonderful gift and experimented with a Healthy 5 Ingredient Granola Bar that is a true winner. We tried a few different options, but ended up with one we all loved. We frequently include them in a weekly lunch to our friends at Front Porch Ministry.
In addition to the oatmeal, we’ll receive donations of ripe fruit from our Food Donation Partners. This fruit often includes bananas, strawberries, grapes and raspberries. The best of the fruit is included in our daily meals, but the extra ripe fruit is sliced and put in our dehydrator. Once this fruit is dried, we include this as a base in our granola bars!
Whenever we discover such a great way to use some of our excess, we just have to share the good news! Enjoy.
3 cups packed dried fruit (bananas, strawberries, grapes and dates work well)
¾ cup honey (or maple syrup)
¾ cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
4 ½ cups rolled oats
3 cups roasted almonds, loosely chopped
1. Process dried fruit in food processor until small bits remain. It should form a “dough” like consistency.
2. Toast oats and almonds in 350 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Place toasted oats, almonds and dried fruit in a bowl – set aside.
4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture, then mix, breaking up any fruit to disperse throughout.
5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to a half sheet pan (12X17) sprayed with non-stick spray.
6. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and press down hard until uniformly flattened. Cover with plastic wrap, and let set in fridge for 15 minutes to slightly harden.
7. Remove bars from pan and slice into 32 bars. Store in airtight container in the fridge.