In anticipation of the May long weekend and the kick off of camping season, I made Delightfully Delicious Granola Bars. Who am I kidding…. I am not really a “camper”, but I love picnic lunches and these granola bars are perfect. If I did like camping though I would definitely be taking Delightfully Delicious Granola Bars for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack at the campground. Kids will love these and they will have no idea how healthy they are!
I think I have been camping on three occasions in the last fifteen years. My first camping experience was in the Black and White Desert in Egypt. Here we had a guide who set up our tent and cooked us a delicious dinner over the fire of rice, chicken and vegetables while we sat on the lounging cushions he had provided and drank wine. Now that is my kind of camping!
My second camping experience was while hiking the Inca Trail to Matchu Picu in Peru. We generally referred to this experience as “Camping with Servants”. When we arrived at the campsite each night our tents had been set up and a four course meal was waiting for us in the dining tent. We were woken each morning to a hot towel outside our tent and a steaming cup of tea. This was a little different than the camping I remember as a kid… where were the hot dogs and brown beans?
My third camping experience was in Australia and is one of my favorite camping trips ever! My brother and I set off to Murray Sunset National Park for some bush driving, hiking and camping. He dropped me off at the grocery store (he had to buy a tent and sleeping bags) and I was to plan the meals for the next four days. Given my limited camping experiences I had no idea where to start but I ended up having so much fun meal planning! We ate like kings: one night we had chicken tacos (one of his favorite meals); one night we had spaghetti and bolognese sauce with cesar salad and garlic bread (one of my favorite meals that we enjoyed on my birthday); and one night we had smokies with lentil and caper salad. My brother had never tasted a caper before and thought a camping trip in Australia was a strange place to find out that he loved capers!
You may note that I have only listed three meals. I thought we may go to a restaurant one night, however in my planning I did not realize that we were literally going to be in the middle of nowhere and the only sign of life we saw most days was kangaroos! So, the fourth night we ended up throwing all of the ingredients that we had left into a pot and calling it dinner. I can’t quite remember what was in this dish but I know it involved pasta, summer sausage, brown beans and canned corn. It is highly unlikely that this recipe will be posted on My Dad Butters His Bacon anytime soon.
There seems to be a theme to my camping – Egypt, Peru and Australia. It appears that I only camp in exotic locals around the world! Whether my next camping trip be in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the badlands of Drumheller or hiking Mount Roraima in Venuzuela, you can bet that I will have Delightfully Delicious Granola Bars in my backpack!
- ½ cup chopped, pitted Majool dates
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ¼ cup flax seeds
- ¼ cup wheat bran
- ¼ cup unsweetened medium coconut
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the dates, orange juice and orange zest to a simmer on the stove. Simmer on low heat for 8 minutes or until the dates are softened.
- Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for five minutes. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix together.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the rolled oats, flax seeds, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
- Pour the date and peanut butter mixture over top and combine thoroughly.
- Grease an 8 X 8 glass pan and pour the mixture into the pan.
- Press the mixture down firmly with your hand or a spoon that has been dipped in water. Dipping the spoon in water will prevent the mixture from sticking to the spoon.
- Allow to cool for 2 or 3 hours to set.
- Once set, cut the granola into your desired sized bars and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator or at room temperature.