Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bake It -- Don't Buy It: Homemade Snacks

I have two recipes to share today: homemade chex mix and homemade granola bars. I have been making the chex mix for a while now, while the granola bars I just tried this week. We seem to eat a lot of snacks around here, so I love being able to easily make some homemade. Aside from the cost factor, the homemade versions are usually much healthier, and I know all the ingredients that go into them.

My husband likes everything spicy, so I use this recipe for chex mix. However, I normally just use the chex cereal, instead of adding the pretzels and other add-ins. My husband says the chex are his favorite part, and that just makes it simpler anyway.

I have developed my own method of mixing in the seasoning. I dribble the butter mixture a teaspoonful at a time over the bowl of chex and then mix thoroughly before adding more. It's a little bit tedious, but then I avoid the phenomenon of the sauce just soaking into a few pieces and leaving the rest dry.

I also bake the mixture instead of microwaving it. I bake it at 300 for about a half hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

Final Analysis: This is quick and easy to make and saves a decent amount of money over prepared chex mix. However, you could raise the cost of the homemade version if you used a recipe with more ingredients.

Approximate costs:

Store bought: $2.89 for 8.75oz. I'm going to guess that's maybe 4 cups, so that would make it $.72/cup.

Homemade: $2.70 for 12 cups ($.08/cup) (using Wegmans brand chex cereal)


I developed this recipe for granola bars myself, using one I found in Taste of Home a while ago as a guide. It is probably not the healthiest granola bar recipe out there, but I was trying as much as possible to replicate the Quaker chewy granola bars that we usually buy, in order to get a good price comparison.

I mixed about 6 cups of old fashioned oats with chocolate chips.

Then I heated 2/3 cup corn syrup with 1/4 cup brown sugar. I boiled it for about a minute, then stirred in about 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Then I poured it over the oat mixture and thoroughly stirred.

Then I patted into a greased 9 inch square pan and let it harden for several hours.

Then I simply lifted the whole piece out of the pan with a fork and cut it into bars on a cutting board. I was trying to replicate the size and shape of the Quaker bars, but as you can see I forgot how small they are!

Final Analysis: This is another easy recipe, and infinite variations could be created. I plan to try it with fruit, nuts, and seeds as well. However, the money saved is not huge if you usually get your granola bars on rock-bottom deals. Nevertheless, this might be worth making for the taste
and health factors alone.

Approximate costs:

Store bought - $2.50 for 10 small bars ($.25/bar); occasionally as low as $1.50 for 10 (with sale and coupon) ($.15/bar)

Homemade - $1.52 for 12 much bigger bars ($.13/bar)


  1. I just found your blog today and I'm so loving it. My family DEVOURS these bars, so I'm going to try this sometime this week! Thanks.

  2. I'm can't wait to try the granola bars! They look great!


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