Yummy and Good for Me, Too? Your Favorite Skeptic Takes on a Myth.
I wanted to believe. Truly, I did. So with an optimistic (okay, hopeful) attitude, I browsed a website referred to me by a friend. Maybe you know it — weelicious.com. Healthy, attractive mom makes good-for-you meals and snacks for her kids. Show-off. I wanted to dislike her.
I hate to cook. It’s not so much that I can’t cook as that I don’t enjoy it…at all. Baking, however, I like. That finer point aside, I cautiously approached weelicious and quickly discovered something pretty damn fabulous. The recipes seemed easy. I know. I know. As soon as something seems easy, it totally is not. So I set out on a little experiment. I would tackle weelicious and all its weeliciousness. I would!
Here’s the recipe I chose: Fruit and Seed Bars
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sunflower butter
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp flax seeds
1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, raisins, currants, cranberries, and/or cherries)
1/2 cup unsweetend coconut flakes
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until coarsely chopped.
3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan, greased then line with parchment.
4. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Let the bars completely cool before cutting into bars.
Okay, so let me break it down for you Mama-style. I’ve now made this twice, so I’ll give you the inside scoop on attempt #2.
Neither my Trader Joe’s nor Stop & Shop carry unsweetened coconut flakes…so of course, I opted for sweetened. (Can you see how I’m already bastardizing this once-healthy recipe?) For fruit, I chose dried cranberries. They’re cheap. Everything else I managed to get easily enough.
Okay, so here’s my version of the process (notes in italics):
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Don’t do this unless you actually plan on baking the same day. Otherwise, you’ll just waste energy. If you can pull off baking in the same day because you have miracle children, I don’t wanna hear about it.
2. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until coarsely chopped. If you have a ghetto food processor like I do (a mini one), don’t do all at once (duh). Please, I was just shocked mine actually had a “pulse” button. Also, I only pulsed the dry ingredients.
2a. Put dry ingredients in a bowl, cover, and set aside indefinitely…like even a couple of days.
2b. When the opportunity presents itself, like when your kids are behaving like normal humans, add honey and sunflower butter by hand, stirring thoroughly. Might want to add a little more of one or the other depending on which you like better. These suckers are dry.
2c. Re-cover and store in the refrigerator if you’re still not ready to bake. Don’t be ashamed. We won’t judge.
3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan, greased then line with parchment. Don’t be fooled by the word “pour.” There is nothing pour-able about this mixture. Think Rice Krispies Treats. Also, I didn’t really see any reason to grease the pan and then line with parchment, though I am admittedly in love with parchment paper now. And I’m not (too) embarrassed to admit that I had to google “how to use parchment paper.” Do what you need to do. Unless you have absolutely no arm strength and can’t press the mixture into the pan, thus setting the parchment into place, no greasing needed. If, in fact, you do lack such arm strength, you may want to get that checked out. Oh, and after you press this stuff in, make sure it’s even and imprints of your digits aren’t too visible. This isn’t a cake. It won’t settle.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes. Twenty-five was too much the first time around. Well, at least for my oven.
5. Let the bars completely cool before cutting into bars. If, like me, you suck at following directions, allow me to encourage you to follow this one. These things are a bit crumbly if you don’t wait. Not that I’d know.
6. Serve. I may dislike cooking, but I’m not that slow. I do appreciate a little encouragement to offer these to other people, but it appears I’m the only one in my house who really digs these things. They are, for reals, actually good.