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Hi, I'm Pam Mehnert

As Outpost's general manager, Pam's work keeps her at the office, in meetings, or in front of her computer more than a simple 40 hours each week. However, her passion as a foodie has driven her to take on this challenge for the culinary experience of...
Pam Mehnert

Week 27 - Did I Mention There Were Dishes?

A Year of Inconvenience
For one year, I'm making everything from scratch and forgoing convenience foods. Join me on my journey! By Pam Mehnert on October 25, 2010
Warning: side effects of living inconveniently may include frequent cooking, baking, freezing, blending, slicing, sautéing, simmering, frying and chopping. These symptoms may be accompanied by pots, pans, spatulas, colanders, measuring cups, spoons, bowls, baking sheets, and more measuring cups. These may all be signs of a more serious condition. Call your friends for support if symptoms reoccur.

I actually made quite a few things this week, and especially over the weekend. Production list included granola bars, flax and sesame crackers, multi-grain bread, anasazi bean burgers, curried ground turkey with autumn vegetables, stuffed squash, quinoa salad, and a roasted eggplant. I don’t eat eggplant so this one was for Lisa.

Here’s a recipe for my favorite granola bars, the fifth batch I’ve made since starting this year of inconvenience. Thanks to Alton Brown of the Food Network for the original recipe that inspired me.

Better With Chocolate Granola Bars
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup dried blueberries
¼ cup ground flax
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup chocolate chips
½ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch baking dish and preheat your oven to 350°. That’s your prep work.
On a large baking sheet, spread out the oats, sunflower seeds, nuts, flax, and wheat germ. Toast in the oven for about 15 minutes, giving it an occasional stir.

While the grains and nuts are toasting, combine the honey, brown sugar butter, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and heat over a medium flame until the brown sugar dissolves into the rest of the mixture. Make sure you stir this so it doesn’t bubble.

Once your grains and nuts are toasted, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven to 300°. Don’t miss this step (as I did once), or you’ll end up with REALLY crunchy granola bars! Take you oat and nut mixture and combine it in a mixing bowl with the dried blueberries. Stir until everything is equally mixed. Now add the chocolate chips and stir again. They will begin to melt a bit from the heat of the grains. Add the liquid mixture and stir well. Turn all of this into your greased baking dish and press it down firmly with a spatula, making sure it is evenly spread out in the pan.

Place this in the LOWER TEMPERATURE oven (see step above if you missed it) for 25 minutes.
Once it cools down a bit, cut it into squares and store in an airtight container. I’ve had these bars last for longer than a month, but I’d say the shelf life is more around two weeks.

Plan on washing four different measuring cups, a set of measuring spoons, one spatula, one saucepan, one baking sheet, one mixing bowl, one baking sheet and one baking pan. But it was worth it.


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