Saturday, September 13, 2014

Treats for the Troops

The military will always hold a special place in my heart. My Dad served in the Navy for 30 years and my husband for 24, so I guess you can say I've "been" in the military all my life. 

While being the daughter and wife of a service-member often comes at great personal sacrifice, I can honestly say I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world! There were countless times when my Dad wasn't there for birthdays, holidays and school functions. He missed a lot of our major milestones, but in spite of having an absentee Dad, through him I learned the meaning of courage. 

The same can be said for my husband. He wasn't there for the birth of our first child and deployments somehow seemed to fall around the holidays. There were many Christmas mornings spent watching the kids open their presents alone. I can't say you get used to those times, but you do learn ways to cope. Having a husband in the military taught me the meaning of strength.

Now that my husband is retired, I still try to find ways to honor both his and my Dad's service and to show support to our Armed Forces out there serving our country, often in harm's way. My heart goes out to the spouses and children of those families.

Recently a friend asked me to sponsor a unit stationed in Afghanistan by sending them some homemade baked goods. Of course, I was more than happy to help!

I knew I wanted to send something healthy, that could withstand shipping and hopefully still arrive fresh! 

The healthy option I chose was Peanut Butter and Honey Roasted Almond Granola Bars. Peanut Butter is a great source of protein, the oats a great source of fiber and honey is a healthier sweetener than corn syrup. 

I also wanted to include something a bit more fun like this Mini M&M Cookie Brittle. 

The fact that this was a brittle instead of a cookie is what sold me.  I figured if cookies were going to be hard by the time they were delivered, why not send something that was already intended to be crunchy, like brittle.

Here's the link to the recipe I used for the M&M Cookie Brittle. It was really easy to make and delicious! 

Remember, whether you're a baker or not, you can still show your support for the troops in numerous ways. is a great resource with lots of information. 

Here's the recipe for the granola bars I made. They're inexpensive, easy to make & don't require any baking! Why not whip up a batch, try them for yourself or send some to the troops?

Peanut Butter & Honey Roasted Almond Granola Bars
Makes approx 16 thick, large-size bars

4 cups quick oats
3 cups rice krispy cereal
1 1/2 cups sliced honey roasted almonds (I used Trader Joe's brand)
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup honey
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract


Prepare a 13"x9" baking pan (mine was actually 15" so my bars were a little thinner) by spraying with non-stick spray, lining with non-stick foil or lining with regular foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal and almonds. Set aside.

Place the peanut butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute, remove and stir, then heat on high for another minute, stir and heat for another 30 seconds. 

Remove, add vanilla extract and whisk for 30 seconds or until well combined making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar.

Pour the mixture over the oat-cereal-nut mixture, then fold well with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is well coated.

Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and press down into an even layer, pressing firmly to compact the mixture. 

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a few hours. When well set and firmed up, remove from the fridge and cut into bars.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator or wrap individually and store at room temp for about a week.

For shipping, I wrapped the bars individually and stacked them in an air tight container from the Dollar Store.

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