Recipe Updated with journaling of their story in the family:
March 4, 2019: One of the first things I’d cooked in over a week, my blue cotton granola bars, – and the littlest who’s not little any more said, “It’s the best ever.” Maybe it was the sprinkling of pecan dust. Maybe it was just because mama cooked – and the world righted itself – and my soul sighed a restful sigh, sinking into this – a sweet part of what home is. #homeis #granolabars #bluecottongranolabars #lovemyboys #theyreallmyfavorite
September 24, 2018: For his birthday, the littlest turning 18 didn’t want cake or chocolate mousse. That was hard for me – to not bake him something. Then, last night he said, “Make the good stuff, Mom. Make your granola bars” – and I did!
When I make my Granola Bars, a lot of things come to mind: chocolate, smiles, happy breakfasts, happy afterschool tummies, pain, lots of pain, moderation, fiber, mis-diagnosis, God’s Great Mercies! My second son tried to convince me that the Bible does not pertain to everything. I think I need to create a name for a theme, kind of like my Simply Saturday or Scratching Post – but another theme where I can tell a story about an unlikely place biblical principles apply(please feel free to leave any suggestions). My Granola Bars are like that, an unlikely desert that taught us about faith and self-discipline.
Just to clear this up from the start, if you add raisins to your Granola Bars, you have Quaker Oats Granola Bars. If you add anything in my list below, ESPECIALLY CHOCOLATE, well, then we’ll call them Blue Cotton Granola Bars.
Where can one find God in a Granola Bar? Well, not really in the Granola Bar itself, but in the journey the Granola Bar took with my family. One of my boys developed a stomach ache in the first grade. In the 3rd grade, we took him to a renowned children’s hospital. They, ahem, studied his stool sample and said, “More Fiber.” (I saw the sample, but it did not send red flags in my mind). They recommended 5 grams of fiber + their age.
I was a mom with a mission, a quest – anything to make my little guy feel better. So I found recipes, including a fiber-licious recipe on the back of a box of Quaker Oats. And I commenced to fill my little guy with fiber one recipe at a time. My boys dislike raisins, so Chocolate Chip Granola Bars was the lure to more fiber consumption.
My boys love my Granola Bars! A box of Quaker Oats Granola bars average around $2.75. Five boys could go through 2+ boxes a day (breakfast, before sports, or after school snack to destroy those grumpy Hungries). That can really add up. Homemade Granola Bars cost less and were more filling.
However, the stomach ache persisted and increased. Finally, in the 6th grade, with my son struggling in school, running like someone’s grandma on the soccer field, and bearing a haunted look on his face, I was angry enough to punch a hole in a wall. After a battery of x-rays and ultrasounds, the pediatrician determined it was all in his head. We were flummoxed. Was our child lying to us? Was he just making it up? Did he really just not want to play soccer or do his school work, so this was his “out.”
I had prayed. However, I had not reached my emotional bottom, until one afternoon. If I had steam pipes, steam would have spouted out of my head. Combine not-quite but something like fury at the unknown, confusion, love, helplessness and every other emotion within any pore of my being somehow creating an emotional implosion that literally dropped me to my knees.
I have learned on two occasions that this experience is a righteous-riled-up-ness. This occurs when you are walking in faith with full confidence God is taking care of everything. You speak your faith. You walk that faith. In these situations, God just wants us to stand, believe and wait. There is something Godly in the waiting. However, sometimes God’s plan requires movement on our part – a call to action. I dropped to my knees in prayer, crying – out of confusion, love for my son, and emotional short-circuiting. I think I was emptied of all inside of me at that point.
Three days later, I was talking to a parent at my child’s school and for some reason, I told her about my son’s stomach problems. Have you every done that? Just spill an emotional story all the while wondering, “Why in the world am I saying this?” Well, sometimes it is a God thing. Her daughter had a similar problem and she gave me the name of a physician who treated stomach issues more aggressively than the children’s hospital we had attended previously. Those laborers I pray for? Well, that day she was one of God’s laborers sent to point me in a direction.
This physician scoped my son and identified the issue. Not a fiber issue at all. He had esophagitis. Some people have severe acid reflux while others have severe stomach pain, severe enough to make a man think he is having a heart attack. Our son had lived for 5 years with a level 7 to 9 out of 10 stomach pain. Caffeine, mint and . . . chocolate are main contributors to this. And I was throwing chocolate into as many fiber recipes as I could get my hands on to increase his fiber intake – and making his pain worse the entire time.A mis-diagnosis years earlier had set us on a path that made the problem worse.
He took Nexium for a couple of years and monitored his diet. He had to rebuild his ability to run. His grades went up. He was an all district soccer player in the 8th grade. His teacher’s commented on the radically changed young man, the young man who looked them in the eye and greeted them in the morning. A young man who engaged and led class discussion. A young man who led his group presentation without much help, earning a commendation from a teacher who rarely gave those commendations. The haunted expression faded. My joyful son re-emerged from the darkness in which he had increasingly existed.
Thankfully, God sent a laborer across our path to point out the road we needed to take. Sometimes, God wants us to stand in Faith for healing without physicians. Sometimes, He wants our healing to come through physicians.
My son has learned the self-discipline of moderation. He has also learned the power of God. He asked God to heal him during a healing service. Through the years, I have come to believe that sometimes God requires self-discipline of us to maintain healing. My son is Nexium free. He can eat chocolate now. As you know, teens like being able to make choices, to have control with training wheels in their lives. His diet is one of those areas that allows him to practice being a man about his choices. He has done a marvelous job!
I had to learn something new – how to cook without chocolate. Some of you can imagine how hard that can be. I probably made scrambled eggs with chocolate before his diagnosis! An entire new recipe world opened up to me. I embarked on a quest for the perfect white cake recipe. I learned to cook with white chocolate. I learned to make Granola Bars chocolate-free – and I have those suggestions below. I learned to – gasp !- celebrate without chocolate. We are no longer a chocolate-free zone, though. We are . . . balanced, more diverse in our ingredients.
Today turned into a Chocolate day! One of my sons asked for my Granola Bars. Everyone unanimously agreed that today’s Granola Bars should include chocolate. Remember, balance? Self-Discipline?. I made a caramel cake for his birthday last week. So today? Chocolate! Won’t you join us? Just do not eat too many!
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
one 8-ounce container vanilla yogurt
2 egg whites
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. milk or 1/2 and 1/2
2 tsp. vanilla
Stir in the following:
1 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Cups Quaker Oats
At least one Cup Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips, raisins, Caramel Chips or cran-raisens, gummies worms, apricots, pineapple, M&Ms, Heath Bars crunched up.
Update addition: Sprinkle before baking with pecan dust. Pecan dust is made by spinning pecans in a food processor until they are of a pecan dust- like consistency, which is larger than ground
Bake in a 9x 12 dish at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
What kind of mood? A healthy kick-off to the day? A play hug after school? A cool send-off for after-school activities? This is one recipe that allows safe play with successful results! Choose your ingredients with care, though!