Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Recipe : Backpacker Bars

We hike and camp more in the summer than in the winter, but only slightly more, because Ken is big on winter survival skills and takes out all but the smallest two to test their mettle.  I remain home to welcome them back with cinnamon rolls  (My outdoor survival skills are somewhat lacking.  Where was I?  Oh.  Summer camping food...).

These bars are very, very healthy.  And very, very high in calories.  Perfect for hours on a trail or in a tent with hungry kids.  And husbands.  I also made a pan for a dear friend who just gave birth to her fourth child and spends hours on the couch with a nursing newborn.  Keeps health and energy up without having to leave the couch.  Keeps the other kids full for a long time. Again, without ever having to leave the couch.

1 C   butter
1 1/2 C brown sugar, divided
1C  quick cooking oats  (or whir regular oats in the blender for a few seconds)
1 C  whole wheat flour
1 C  white flour
1/2 C wheat germ
1 T flavoring  (zest, vanilla, almond ...)
4     eggs, lightly beaten
2 C sliced or chopped nuts
1  C chips  (chocolate, white, peanut butter, butterscotch ...)
1 C  dried fruit
1/2 C  shredded coconut

Oven to 350

Cream butter and 1 C brown sugar.  Stir in oats, flours, germ, and flavorings.  Press mixture into bottom of an ungreased 13x9 pan  (I often use a 10x15 and they're just not as fat.).

Combine eggs,  next four ingredients, and remaining 1/2 C brown sugar.  Mix gently, but very well.  Spread evenly over crust.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Cool before cutting

Our favorite combinations :
* walnuts, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, orange zest
* almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, vanilla
* pecans, broken pieces of banana chips, butterscotch chips, orange zest

As an aside, Ken and I have now been married for 21 years and to celebrate, we locked the children at home with a list of jobs, lunches, and movies, and headed out to a favorite trail system.  Spent six hours hiking together.  Glorious.  Believe me, no restaurant dinner could possibly taste as good as backpacker bars in the middle of the mountains! 

And as another aside, of course these bars are perfect for CFers, what with all those nutrition-packed calories ; but so is hiking.  Hours of muscles in motion combined with sustained deep breathing helps to keep lung tissues supple and healthy!

Here's hoping you leave the chores for a few hours and get outside, too ~


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