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Make Your own Granola Bars 

Whole grains are infinitely more palatable when combined with, say, chocolate chips or dried blueberries. And rather than shove a handful of raw oats in your maw, why not make granola bars?

In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of quick oats, one 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and whatever you like. (See below.) This is super-sticky dough and I find it easiest to use my hands to mix it together.

Add-ins can include candy (chocolate, peanut-butter or butterscotch chips); nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, pecans); dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, morsels of cherry or apple, banana chips, shredded coconut); and any other extra healthful boost (flax seed, cereal bits, a dash of wheat germ). Mix and match: I'm partial to chocolate and cherry, as well as apple and raisin. I split the oats dough and make two flavors at a time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a large cookie tray with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the tray and flatten to a uniform thickness. (I cover the dough in wax paper and whack it with the butt of my hand.)

The thicker and wider the batter, the chewier the granola bars will be. Since I prefer crunchy bars with lots of crisp edges, I lay out the dough in several long "snakes," before smooshing them thin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges turn golden. Let cool for a few minutes, then, if desired, cut into bars. When completely cool, transfer to an airtight storage container and you're all set for a week's worth of as-you-like-'em granola bars.

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