chocolate chip granola bars + a trip for two!

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|

There’s one 3 letter word that gets me all riled up: GMO

(I’m sweating already).

It stands for Genetically Modified Organisim, but you probably already know that. In college, I wrote a 30 page thesis on the subject detailing the detriments of messing around with our food DNA, not to mention the chemicals that go along with it. Care for some tomatoes? They’re made with trout genes. This was passionately typed on one of those clunky dinosaur computers with dial up. Yes, dial up. Can you hear it?

Anyway, mention GMO and my temperature spikes.

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|

On Mother’s Day, as we sat (in traffic) on our way to lunch, my mom told me all about this Netflix documentary she watched recently.

It’s called: Gmo Omg.

She described one scene in particular, so powerful, I haven’t been able to shake it since.

Picture this:

A father and his children are standing in front of a corn field. He used to play there when he was a kid. But now, he wouldn’t dare let his own two children run wild and free amongst the golden husks. Unless… they were dressed head-to-toe in hazmat suits! And that’s exactly what he did- he made them wear protective gear to drive the point home. Hazmat suits.

Corn happens to be one of the top GMO crops in the U.S.

So, basically, according to the documentary: poison.

How about that, huh?

(Thank goodness we had champagne at lunch).

But this is reality. And it makes me think about my kids.

What kind of world are we leaving for them?

So, the next day, I made homemade snacks. For them. And to make myself feel better.

These are chocolate chip granola bars…

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|

When you slice into them, they’re supposed to look like this…

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|

Not this…

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|


I had inadvertently grabbed a container of old fashioned rolled oats instead of quick oats and as a result, the bars fell apart (instant oats absorb more liquid than thick rolled oats). They crumbled into a gazillion pieces and I didn’t bother making another batch. We repurposed the chocolatey rubble into granola sprinkled over thick, Greek yogurt. But in case you’re wondering, I’ve included the (successful) version of this recipe at the bottom of the post. They taste just like the chewy Quaker Oats granola bars without the junk.

This failed attempt got me thinking.

As much as I’d like to keep my kids in a bubble forever, protecting their innocence from this mean and unfair GMO world, preferably with homemade granola bars that actually hold together- it’s just not realistic. I have to teach my kids about making their own healthy choices.

Enter: FreshKids

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|

I’ve partnered with FreshKids, an independent company that believes in cultivating a healthy and happy world for kids (woo hoo!).

They’ve also created an all natural, kid-friendly snack line:

– Non GMO Ingredients
– No high fructose corn syrup
– No trans fat
– No partially hydrogenated oils
– No artificial colors and flavors
– No artificial sweeteners

And… they’re available in NYC schools! (in stores this summer, too).

Do I need to repeat that?

Real pretzels, popcorn and hummus. For our kids!!!

So, when I can’t make things from scratch because hey- life gets in the way, I find piece of mind knowing that I have support from those who are like-minded. Both in school and at home.

That’s how I balance.

And now, for the giveaway! You are going to love this.

chocolate chip granola + a trip for 2!|


FreshKids has put together a special getaway package to help rejuvenate and find balance in your life: a Spa & Wine Adventure Trip for Two!

Virginia |

Salamander Resort |salamanderresort.comSalamander Resort |


FreshKids invites you to show us how you find balance – and by doing so, you’ll have a chance to win a 2-day trip for two in the FreshKids countryside!

Details: enjoy a 2-night stay at the luxurious Salmander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. Located in the heart of Virginia wine and horse country, an hour west of Washington, DC, and close to major airports and railway. Submerse yourself in pampering, relaxation, yoga and exercise. Explore surrounding wineries and vineyards. Take healthy cooking classes and dine farm-to-table. Be adventurous by riding a zip-line or a horse. You can bring your girlfriend, kids (babysitting available), or dog (paws are welcome).

You just need to get there, and FreshKids will take care of the rest. They will be your personal concierge and put together a relaxing, rejuvenating and remarkable stay – FreshKids style.

To Enter :

(1) Post a picture on Instagram that celebrates balancing healthy and happy with everyday life.
(2) Tag the picture #HOWIBALANCE
(3) Follow FreshKids on Instagram (@WEAREFRESHKIDS) + The Clever Carrot (@TheCleverCarrot)

A winner will be announced on June 1, 2015. Find additional rules and restrictions here.

chocolate chip granola bars
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups quick oats*
  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Rice Krispies)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax meal
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
*It is important to use use quick oats, and not old fashioned rolled oats or instant oats. They are essential in binding the bars hold together.
  1. Grab an 8x8 cake pan and line with a piece of parchment paper, leaving some to hang over the sides for easy removal.
  2. Place the quick oats, puffed rice cereal and flax meal into a large bowl.
  3. Melt the coconut oil, honey and brown sugar in a small pot. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes. This is a crucial step; if the honey and sugar are not completely dissolved the bars will not stick together properly. Don't rush it. Set aside to cool for 1 minute so that it doesn't melt your chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the honey mixture into your bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined and then scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. It should look sticky.
  5. Mix in the mini chocolate chips.
  6. Tip the mixture into your lined pan. Tear off another small sheet of parchment paper and place on top. Press down with your hands to flatten everything together.
  7. Refrigerate your granola for about 1-2 hours or until firmly set. When ready to slice, lift the base out via your parchment paper 'handles' and slice into bars (or squares).
  8. To store, wrap up the entire cake pan or place cut bars in an airtight container in the fridge.


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  1. says

    Booo for GMOs (a subject dear to my heart too)! And your post is timely as Food Revolution Day is tomorrow! Hurray for spreading the word, educating your children on matters of food and providing this fab opportunity in Virginia! Thank you!

    As for the delicious granola bars… the crumbly ones too, a dream for my yogurt or sprinkled atop muffins (hehe)! I can never have enough granola bar recipes on hand and I love this one because you’ve used puffed rice… oh the crunch… and chocolate, and coconut oil.. and…and…! Love it, love it… train and all!

    • Emilie says

      Right? Don’t even get me started. I usually steer clear of this topic (where applicable) but when in a group of like-minded people I let loose. Food doesn’t have to be fake, period. And you know, it’s funny, I had no idea that the timing of this post was in sync with Food Revolution Day! Must be a sign ;) PS- Jamie reached over 1 million signatures; how cool is that?

      We love granola bars too! These are definitely not your typical date sweetened, refined sugar free babies but they taste just like Quaker bars, especially with the coconut oil. Although I suspect Quaker doesn’t use that in his… xo

  2. Connie Raffa says

    Pictures are so real Especially the Thomas Train in the granola Great recipe Agree 1000% about the GMOs. Wish all Americans would watch the documentary.

    • Emilie says

      Oh, yes. This is my ‘real’ kitchen all of the time! Also, very messy. That GMO documentary was incredible. Did you see it too?

  3. Annie says

    You may even be able to make these granola bars even healthier by using Kellogg’s Gluten Free Rice Krispies which are made with brown rice. The Kellogg family has been promoting environmental sustainability longer than most companies, so it is likely (though I’m not 100% sure) they use non-gmo crops.

  4. MaryB says

    Quick question – by Instant Oats are you referring to the one minute oats? The only actually instant oats my market carries are the little packets of instant oatmeal with flavorings, etc and I am certain this is not what you mean. Thanks.

    • Emilie says

      Yes! I buy them in bulk at my health food store and they’re labeled as ‘instant’ but really quick oats. I’ve adjust my notes to clear up any confusion! Thanks for the head’s up :)

  5. ruby88 says

    I heard about that documentary. I have to check it out! So true we have to teach our kids. But we first have to learn ourselves right? Thanks for the recipe and wow, what a give away.! Love the granola shot with the train :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Ruby! I agree- change starts with our kids, for sure. Sometimes it can be so hard, getting caught up in everyday life, forgetting to mention these things as we go along. But they definitely learn from us. Watching this documentary made me realize that it’s important to never stop teaching. I think it was those hazmat suits that got me! lol xo

  6. says

    Agreed! Everything about GMO’s makes my blood boil. I’m not big on pushing my personal views on others, but where GMO’s are concerned I share, share, share on my facebook page, it’s too important of an issue for people to not know about.

    Also, I love the paint splattered Thomas in the big bowl of crumbled granola bars, we went through a very intense and dedicated Thomas the Tank Engine phase in our house, thank goodness my son has moved on, but I still have the theme song stuck on a loop in my head :-)

    The granola bars look great, I have everything in my kitchen, But the quick oats, thanks for messing that one up or I probably would have made the recipe with my good old extra thick rolled oats!

    • Emilie says

      I’m with you 100%. It’s important not to push, but to at least get the conversation going. I was just on a website recently (I forget the name) that shows all of the countries that ban GMO’s. I was familiar with some, but it was very interesting to see as a whole. Hopefully we’ll get there one day. ;)

      We absolutely love Tomas in this house! My boys destroy those trains. And they’re EVERYWHERE!

      And don’t even get me started about crumbly granola bars!The quick oats make a huge difference.

  7. says

    I had not heard of the GMO documentary, thanks for sharing that. And this recipe! Oh my! I’ll happily take your crumbles and eat them sprinkled atop yogurt or straight outta the bowl for a healthy crunchy snack! Can’t beat it!

    • Emilie says

      Hi Annie, it’s fabulous. Definitely rent the documentary it if you have a chance. Such an eye opener. And I’m a granola/yogurt girl too- especially if there’s chocolate chips involved! I just mentioned (below) that I froze the rest of my granola and it turned out, quite unexpectedly, to be delicious cold. Bits and pieces clumped up making for the perfect bite. xo

  8. says

    I’m now wondering if the reason my flapjacks always fall apart is because I use the wrong oats. I’m now going to whisper v-e-r-y quietly that I don’t think GMO is always bad (now covering my head to prepare for fall-out).

    • Emilie says

      Yes! Not only are quick oats the way to go, but the boiling process of honey & sugar (do you use golden syrup?) is really important as well- at least 1-2 minutes for the properties to change. I guess it’s like candy making. But besides that, good for you speaking up about GMO’s! Everyone is allowed to have an opinion and coming from a farmer yourself, I’m curious to hear your views. Thanks Anne! No need to cover your head ;) xo

    • Emilie says

      Thank you Anna! We love to snack on granola bars. I ended up freezing the rest of the granola and bits and pieces clumped together cold. Tastes so good!

  9. says

    ahh – my parents life close to Middleburg – they’re in Great Falls and Virginia wine country is somethin’ beautiful. I just had a little heart attack at the grocery store the other day when I looked at the ingredients of our favorite granola bars – they might as well be icing-covered poptarts. Homemade is the best!

  10. says

    I heard about that documentary as well. I have to find some time to watch it soon.
    These granola bars look so SO healthy and delicious. Your kids are very lucky to have you as their mother.

  11. Claire says

    Love the picture with Thomas! So cute
    It’s funny cause a lot of people don’t even realize how bad GMOs are. This is a great post!
    I can’t wait to make them :) I love granola bars, what’s better than healthy ones!?!

  12. Lis says

    First of all this granola looks yummy :) and second I had a similar reaction to Anne about the GMO piece. Like most hot topics, it’s not black and white good vs evil. I find this article helpful:

    I’m no expert, but there are places where GMOs have actually been extremely helpful and beneficial for nutrient starved communities. Now that said – the state of food in the U.S. is scary. The fact that it’s so hard to know what is in your food and where it came from is frustrating. I find the way antibiotics and steroids are used in food production terrifying. This stuff changes DNA structure and that’s the business our bodies have a hard time with. There’s definitely scary stuff in the GMO world, but it’s not 100% evil. Finding good clear information is hard though, and I’m glad you’ve started a conversation – it’s definitely worth talking about and learning about!

  13. says

    These look so healthy and still tasty. I love chocolate chip granola bars and making my own would make me feel better knowing what’s going in my body.

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