I debated whether to call this a splurge or not, since granola bars are technically a snack and not a meal. However, we’ve certainly used them as both before in the past, depending on how the week’s budget is shaping up, and I can say they do make a decent grab-and-go lunch when paired with some fruit, so I’m leaving them as is. When B. and I first moved in together he was quite fond of buying Nature Valley granola bars for lunch, but despite some serious comparison shopping, the cheapest we could find them—on sale, at Costco, anywhere—was 50 cents each. Obviously that could not do, so I set out to start making crunchy granola bars from scratch. Even though the Nature Valley ones come two to a package, they’re thinner and smaller than these bars, and markedly less filling. I’ve never felt sated for hours by the Nature Valley bars, but I have by these, which are loaded with fruit, nuts, wheat germ for protein, and mostly honey as a sweetener. Make up a batch and keep them in your fridge for emergencies (that way they stay crisp).
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• All-purpose flour: $8.05/400 oz. = 2 cents/oz., 10 cents/cup
• Apples: 78 cents/lb. (about 40 cents per apple)
• Arborio rice: $1.85/lb.
• Bacon: $2.75/lb. = 17 cents/oz.
• Beans (black): 99 cents/lb.
• Beans (navy): $1.08/lb.
• Butter (unsalted): $2 for 4 sticks: 6 cents/T
• Buttermilk: $1.49/quart = 37 cents/cup
• Canola oil: $8.99/160 oz. = 6 cents/oz. or 3 cents/T
• Carrots: 50 cents/lb., 15 carrots/lb. = 3 cents/carrot
• Celery: 99 cents/10 stalks: 9 cents/stalk
• Chicken (and beef) broth base: $6.89/16 oz. = 43 cents/oz., 21.5 cents/T, 7 cents/tsp (1 tsp = 8 oz.)
• Chickpeas: $1.49/lb. = 9 cents/oz.
• Farro: $1.69/lb. = 11 cents/oz.
• Garlic: 25 cents/head, 12 cloves: 2 cents/clove
• Half & half: $2.39/quart = 60 cents/cup
• Lemongrass: 53 cents/6 stalks: 9 cents/stalk
• Milk: $1.99/gallon = 16 cents/cup
• Oats: 25 cents/lb., 1 oz./half cup = 2 cents per 1/2 cup
• Olive oil: $22.79/203 oz. = 11 cents/oz. or 5.5 cents/T
• Onions: 49 cents/lb. (about 25 cents per large onion)
• Parmesan: $2.50/8 oz., 31 cents/oz.
• Pine nuts: $15.32/lb., about $1.30 for 2 T
• Porcini (dried): $4.03/oz.
• Quinoa: $4.29/lb.
• Shallots: 99 cents/lb. (about 87 cents for 1 very large shallot)
• Shiitake (dried): 51 cents/oz.
• Salt (kosher): $1.25/48 oz. = 3 cents/oz.
• Sugar (granulated): 52 cents/lb., 23 cents/cup