The New Granola Bar: Golden Raisin Oatmeal Squares

I have nothing against prepackaged granola bars. In fact, I rather like them. But they’re usually kinda dry…and have strange things in them…plus they’re really small and always leave me ripping into another shiny wrapper to get a second one. Most of them are more candy bar than granola bar. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not the best choice for a healthy snack. Remember Kudos?! I managed to convince myself that chocolate-covered granola bars studded with candy and caramel was a healthy snack. It’s got GRANOLA, right?

So when the lovely people over at SunMaid sent me some of their golden raisins, I decided to try my hand at a healthy granola bar. I wanted something kind of cakey and dense, chewy, sweet, and soft. They had to be soft. So I came up with these oatmeal squares, and I think they’re pretty darn good. Each bar has 160 calories and 3 grams of protein, so these are a great snack for a lunchbox or even as a quick breakfast.

Golden Raisin Oatmeal Squares

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Really Good But Even Better Low-Fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I love cookies. L.O.V.E.  Since I like to eat them frequently (as in multiple times a day), I’m always attempting to make healthier versions of old favorites like chocolate chip or oatmeal. So I was stoked when I saw this Sun Maid recipe for Really Good Low-Fat Raisin Oatmeal Cookies in honor of Heart Health Month (which was February, but shouldn’t we always promote heart health?) I tried them — and they are really good. But since I can’t leave well enough alone, I made a few little tweaks to the recipe and now I think they’re even better.

So here you have it: Really Good but Even Better Low-Fat Raisin Oatmeal Cookies. And even with my tweaks they still come out to about 60 calories per cookie, so I don’t feel too guilty about the fact that I ate like 5 of them out of the oven and about 5 cookies worth of dough as I was making them.

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Some Soda to Soak Up the Beer

Editor’s Note: New Contributor LB — a Boston-based chef currently studying for her Masters in Gastronomy — joins us just in time for St. Patrick’s day with this classic Irish recipe. Welcome, LB!


The smell of whiskey, green vomit, and shame is clinging to the air….just another morning during St. Patty’s here in Boston. We take our leprechaun-laden drunkfest very seriously around these parts– Patty’s isn’t only on the 17th; rather it starts the Sunday before with the St. Patrick’s parade in the mostly Irish South Boston. Swigging from a communal bottle of Jameson while sharing the sidewalk with nuns and priests is always a bit of a mind-fuck, but hey, where else can you start seeing double and confess at the same time?

All this day-drinking requires a serious amount of food, of course. Corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and my favorite, Irish soda bread. Aside from a big greasy basket of fries, nothing sets me straight in the middle of a bender better than bread. Bread that is slightly sweet, flecked with raisins, and both crunchy and soft at the same time is just gravy. So do yourself (and your liver) a favor this Patty’s and whip yourself up a loaf before you pour yourself that first green beer.

Irish soda bread has a million incarnations, but this one is pretty fucking delicious– and seriously easy. I’ve seen children make this recipe, so unless you are completely void of pride, quit complaining that baking bread is too difficult and make this. Now. Of course, don’t tell anyone how easy it was — just let them bask in all your flour-laced glory. And demand that they buy you a drink for all your labors.

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