Monday, June 11, 2012
Gluten-Free Trail Mix Bars
This month, for my Foodie Pen pal package, I had to try to find gluten-free items. I've had absolutely no experience with a gluten-free diet. I had no idea what I could or couldn't send. The person I was matched with told me that everything didn't have to be gluten-free. Her husband and son are both able to eat foods that contain gluten and have been enjoying the packages she has been receiving. That's not the way I work. My father told me over and over, "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right." That statement has driven me many times in my life. This situation is no exception. I didn't want to take the easy way out. I knew that surely, I could put together an entirely gluten-free package for her.
So I started to do some research. There are all kinds of resources and webpages out there where you can find information on a gluten-free diet. I found a page that listed name brand foods that were gluten-free. I took this in hand to my grocery store to pick out my foods. I also wanted to make her something. So in addition to the "Fruity Pebbles Treats," I also found a recipe for Trail Mix Bars. They're really good, too! It uses all familiar foods. A lot of them, I already had at the house! Here's the recipe:
GLUTEN-FREE TRAIL MIX BARS
adapted from Wisebread
1 c. honey (or corn syrup)
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
A total of 12 cups of mix, using 3 or more of the following ingredients:
4 c. puffed rice cereal (NOT rice crispies)
4 c. gluten-free cereal (like Chex)
other dried berries
other dried fruit
Line an 11" x 17" pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil surfaces with spray-oil, or coat with butter.
In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the cereal, fruit, seeds and salt.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the honey (or corn syrup) and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Using a candy thermometer and making certain it isn't touching the bottom of the pan. If using corn syrup, cook without stirring until the thermometer reaches 238 degrees F. If using honey, cook without stirring until thermometer reaches 250 degrees F.
Quickly remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour the hot mixture over the cereal mixture. With a wooden or heat-proof plastic spoon, mix and stir until the syrup mixture coats the cereal mixture. Immediately turn out onto the prepared, lined pan. With oiled hands (or just slip a plastic sandwich bag over your hand), press the mixture firmly down until it fills the pan.
Set the pan aside to cool (approximately 15 to 45 minutes, depending on weather). This is the only really tricky part of this recipe: If the bars are too warm, they'll be too gooey to cut. If you wait too long, they'll have hardened and it will be very difficult to cut through. So, when the bars are mostly-cool, and somewhat firm, using an oiled knife or pizza cutter, cut into 36 rectangular bars.
Store bars in one of those handy, snack sized, ziplock bags. You can wrap them in plastic wrap if you'd prefer, but it takes forever.
** For mine, I used honey, Honey Chex Cereal, raisins, peanuts, sliced almonds & M&Ms.
Well, tonight it's back to my circuit work. I'll be doing Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30 - Level 4. I'm looking forward to trying out my new heart rate monitor for it to see how it compares to my old one. The real test will be when I go running, but all of this rain doesn't make for a pleasant running environment. Until I get to run, I will just have to stick to the circuit work.
So long for today...