Copy Cat Nature Valley Granola Bars

I absolutely love Nature Valley granola bars.  They are crunchy goodness.  But it seems every time I try to make crunchy granola bars, they fall apart almost immediately upon cutting and I am left with granola.  If I had wanted granola I would have made granola!

Enter HalfBakedHarvest’s recipe.  I think the simple missing ingredient was using the bottom of a cup measure to REALLY press down hard on the mixture before putting it into the oven.  You can click on the link above for her recipe – I only changed two things based with what I had on hand – I used 1 cup of Cheerios and I subbed agave nectar for the honey.  Oh, and I forgot I added 2 tablespoons of flax seed and 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds.

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I actually used my hands to make sure every piece was covered in the peanut butter/agave nectar mixture.  The parchment paper is key too – makes it super easy to get it out of the pan to cool before cutting.

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So far it looks good!

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After cutting??  Hardly any crumbs!!

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Finally, a granola bar that stays together!!  I will note that mine were a tad salty – I shelled my own peanuts, so if your peanuts are really salty, you can leave out the salt in the recipe.  Still delicious – I need to make some more soon!

So we are flying by the seat of our pants this week food wise.  I knew we had enough stuff in the house that I didn’t need to grocery shop – should be an interesting week!

Breakfast was blueberry Chobani pancakes.   I was super busy at work all day so I just took a quick pick with my iPhone.

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I decided to do the StairMaster at lunch.  Tony and I signed up for Netflix because they were having a free month special.  I watched a movie, but it wasn’t very good, but it made the time go by fast!  I ended up doing 100 flights of stairs in 35 minutes, or 2.07 miles.

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So yesterday was all about the sausage!  I bought these last weekend. 

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The package had me at jalapeno!  I decided to make a smoked sausage panini – I used store bought bread, baby spinach, horseradish mustard and a small slice of cheese with the sausage.  My boss loved this!

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We split a 1 ounce bag of pretzels and had oranges, strawberries and grapes on the side. #winning!

So then I get home and Tony asked what was for dinner.  I start to mention “I have smoked sausage” and he said “put cheese on mine please.”

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So this time I made a smoked sausage dog with sauerkraut on the bottom, the sausage, topped with a bit of blue cheese and hot giardiniera.  I had a cooked baked potato in the fridge so those because some potato fries, with cucumbers and ranch dressing for dipping.

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I think I have yogurt for breakfast parfaits this morning, and I think I am going to throw all the ingredients into a bag to make smoked sausage sauerkraut soup for lunch.  I figure it can cook while I work! Open-mouthed smile

Question of the Day:  Sauerkraut fan or not?  I can eat it out of a can cold, but Tony thinks it tastes like ass.

Make it a great day!!

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  • A Life From Scratch
    May 14, 2013 at 6:53 am

    I LOVE homemade granola bars – Ina has an awesome recipe for one that I make for M as a quick breakfast he can grab for the train. He says its good because it doesn’t ‘crumble all over his suit.’ ha!

    To answer your question – I’m not a huge sauerkraut fan.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      I will have to check Ina’s out, I was just so happy that these held together! 😀

  • Fran
    May 14, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Love sauerkraut. We eat it mostly in Winter when we cook it and mash potatoes through it, then we add sausages or bacon and that’s our dinner. Maybe sounds gross but it’s delicious. I also like it on a hot dog but preferably warm, don’t like it cold.

    The granola bars look delicious.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      That doesn’t sound gross at all Fran!

  • Erica
    May 14, 2013 at 7:08 am

    oww! Putting these bars on my to make list. You know I”m a bar fanatic! They look absolutely perfect. I wish our food looked that good when I was flying by the seat of my pants :). I’ve never tried Sauerkraut

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Yep, I know you are a granola bar whore Erica! 😀 That’s why I like you!

  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple
    May 14, 2013 at 8:24 am

    LOVE Sauerkraut. Maybe not on a hot dog. It’s a traditional food in my German family, especially on new year’s. My BIL makes it from scratch. Haven’t had any in a very long time. Hmmm… Sauerkraut and kielbasa…with dumplings!

    Hope you had a great mother’s day sleepover!

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I tried to make it from scratch, took three weeks in my basement and it tasted like ass! I had a great Momma Day – love that you had pizza for yours!

  • Carrie @ Season It Already!
    May 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Make your own granola bars? Genius! Sauerkraut is a strange thing for me. I grew up with it and could take it or leave it. Then I stopped eating it as I became an adult. Then I had some homemade stuff at a Polish restaurant in NE Mpls. Best kraut I’ve ever had! However, eating it cold out of the can – NO WAY! 😉

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I just need to go on a beer crawl with you Carrie – love that you like good beer!

  • Alex @ Brain, Body, Because
    May 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Everything here looks so good!

    My granola bar attempts have always been mega fails – everything falls apart or doesn’t set. You’re right – if I wanted granola, I woulda made granola, darn it!

    I’ll have to check out that recipe. Love those clean lines!

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
    May 14, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Sauerkraut?!? LOVE it. On burgers, salads or just straight up. Yum

    The granola bars look just like Nature Valley–amazing! Their original Nut and Honey bar is one of my favorites, but I’ve never attempted to make my own. Nice work!

  • Jenn@Cooking Aweigh the LBs
    May 14, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I like storebought sauerkraut, but the best ever is when my husband makes it from scratch. I eat that stuff just straight up!

    I use to inhale Nature Valley bars by the caseload! Maybe you can call yours the Sweet and Salty version?

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      That sounds like a good idea! I also forgot to mention that I didn’t do the peanut butter topping like in the original recipe. It’s funny, when I tasted them and found they were a tad salty, I thought “maybe I can dip them in chocolate!” #notsohealthy

  • Louise
    May 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Yes, sauerkraut fan…mmmm….ruebins, pork’n kraut, yes,yes!! Granola bars look good. Something to try, gosh if one can control the salt and sugar intake, that is a “must try”!!! Your meals look good…..I had a “fat” day yesterday and ate everything in site…..and then asked myself….”what are you doing Louise?” Depressed was my only reason!!!
    Gosh, I need a vacation!!!

  • suzicate
    May 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Yummy, granola bars! I made them once (Kitch’s recipe) and they were good. Time to try yours!

  • Suzie
    May 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I would most likely love the granola as is because I love salty snacks! The panini looks and sounds really good. I never was a sauerkraut fan until maybe the last 3-4 years, now yes, pile it on!!

  • Weighting For 50
    May 14, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Love sauerkraut! Straight up for sure!! Happy Tuesday Vat.

  • Randi
    May 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Nature Valley are my favorite granola bars. Yours look great. Have you ever made Andy’s Fairfield Granola? Its a Nigella recipe, so good and lowfat. I wish we could get real polish sausage here. My partner is from WI and craves real polish sausage. I called a butcher in Milwaukee, but they wanted over 100.00 to ship a few lbs here.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Hey Randi! Nope, I haven’t tried that recipe before, but I will check it out. Ouch on the delivery charges!!

  • Emily (@FitandFreeEmily)
    May 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    OMG, your photos are stunning. I’m already obsessed with your blog and it’s only been five minutes.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      I found you through Brooke’s blog! 😀

  • Rhonda
    May 14, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    That cheesy jalapeno sausage sandwich looks amazing. I love cheese and any kind of sausage or hot dog. I love sauerkraut and can definitely eat it cold, it is actually better for you to eat fermented foods without heating them.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Huh, I never knew that about cold sauerkraut, there I was being all healthy eating it from a can!

  • seemariecook
    May 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I am a sauerkraut fiend. I could eat it every single day for the rest of my life.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      We could be best friends then! 😀

  • Losing The Rolls
    May 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    The granola bars look to die for. I’m trying to avoid grains and sugars for awhile, so I will have to put this recipe away and hold for another day. Yum.

    Sauerkraut fan? I don’t hate it, but can’t remember the last time I had it.

    • biz319
      May 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      I know you are cutting back on the sugars and stuff – I hope you have a great week on track Roxy!

  • Melissa @TryingtoHeal
    May 14, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Those granola bars look amazing! I need to make some since I fly through them so fast out in the field!

  • Sam
    May 14, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I love Sauerkraut!! Love it on brats, hot dogs, and especially spare ribs that my mom bakes with a little bit of brown sugar and sauerkraut…so good!

  • Christine
    May 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I also love sauerkraut, but I am the only one in my family so I have to eat it all. 🙂

  • Veronica
    May 15, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Tony needs to recomonize! Saurkraut is the bomb! I was so lucky, a coworker made homemade saurkraut with cabbage from her garden, and threw in some carrot too (from her garden) along with some caraway seeds, and gave me a small jar. So good! And we enjoyed it recently on brats–not too far from your smoked sausage!

    Yay for granola bars that stay in bar form! have you tried cutting while still hot? Seems like that would help in theory, since they’d be a bit softer while hot.

  • Eileen Hoglund
    May 15, 2013 at 4:54 am

    This looks so yummy and amazingly nutritious!

  • Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    May 15, 2013 at 6:50 am

    I love sauerkraut! I’m not sure I can eat it right out of the can, but I do love the stuff. I’m going to have to try that recipe for Nature Valley Granola bars. We buy the huge box of them at BJ’s because my husband loves them so much!

  • sara
    May 15, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I HATE sauerkraut out of the can, but I love it if it’s homemade or the fancy sort in a nice restaurant, so I think it’s one of those foods that I’m cool with but only if it’s really good. 🙂

    I also love watching movies/TV at the gym! I usually watch on Hulu…and I have to say, bad shows are almost better because they take less brain energy. 🙂

  • wendy
    May 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    LOVE Kraut, being the good German girl that I am. Tend to have it more in the summer on brats, but definitely love it.

  • Marianne
    May 22, 2013 at 1:16 am

    I only just discovered the wonder that is sauerkraut in the past couple of years. Now I keep a jar in the back of the fridge, for when a need a little something else to add to a sandwich, dish, or on the side with dinner. Yum!