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Santa’s Little Helper
December 23, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

There’s been much talk in our house about what to leave out for Santa come Christmas Eve. Recently the conversation turned towards a healthier note. After discussing the merits of gingerbread vs. chocolate chip cookies, my two and half year old pointed towards the fruit bowl on the counter. I said “you want you leave Santa some clementines”? Not only did she say yes—she decided he might like some bananas and apples too.

It set me thinking about how role models have a huge impact on what choices our children make on everything from what to wear to what to eat. While I don’t see the kids donning fur-trimmed red suits any time soon, I’ll let them take a cue from Santa and leave a plate of homemade granola bars so he has fuel for the busiest night of the year.

Homemade Granola Bars
Makes twelve 1 1/2” x 3 1/2” one ounce bars

If using store bought granola, be sure to read the ingredient label. Just because it says granola doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The first few ingredients should be oats, nuts and dried fruits, if they are included. Avoid any that have high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils.

1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups of your favorite granola

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Combine the brown rice syrup, agave nectar, canola oil and sugar in a small, heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for two minutes, or until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Add granola to a large heat-proof bowl. Pour syrup mixture over granola, stirring well with a non-stick rubber spatula. Using same spatula, spread mixture into a greased 8”x8” glass baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes. Cut into 12 bars and transfer to a metal rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

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