Celebrating Sisters’ Day by “Stirring up the past with family recipes and stories” from four, Oshkosk, Wisconsin sisters.

August 1st is Sisters’ Day, and the best time to bring out the cookbook/culinary memoir of four Wisconsin sisters. Written by sisters Susan Sanvidge, Diane Sanvidge Seckar, Jean Sanvidge Wouters, and Julie Sanvidge Florence, Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe, is a tribute to the tastes, smells, and family life enjoyed in their parent’s kitchen.

Reading Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe is like sitting down at the Sanvidge’s kitchen table, a table laden with old-fashioned, mid-western food, and listening to the sisters chat, tell stories, and sometimes dispute memories of their childhood. It’s a real treat. As in most families, the kitchen was the heart of daily life in the Sanvidge family. The arrivals of guests, the celebration of holidays, and the sisters’ comings of age were marked by the special foods their mother created. 

So in honor of Sisters’ Day, I re-created Mom Sanvidge’s “Famous Granola Bars”. Their oat and honey granola bars are better than store-bought my own daughter says. And that’s because they’re made with love. Keep reading for the recipe.

Mom’s Famous Granola Bars from Apple Betty and Sloppy Joe:

  • 2/3 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup or honey (I used honey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts – usually pecans; walnuts are good too
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • You will also need a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch jelly roll pan

“Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2-inch jelly roll pan generously. Melt margarine or butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Take off the stove and stir in all other ingredients, nuts and coconut last of all. Blend well. Press the mixture lightly into the well-buttered jelly roll pan.

“Bake until lightly browned on the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Watch carefully! Cool 5 minutes, then cut into squares and remove from pan while still warm or you won’t be able to get them out! A meat cleaver or a large chef knife works best. Start from the outside edges because it cools from the outside in. Store in a tightly covered container.

“Mom says: “Don’t use raisins or dates. They will turn into little pellets.””

This recipe for homemade granola bars was so quick to make that even in my hectic life I should be able to eek out the 15 minutes prep time to make them.

And given the happy response they generated in my children, I foresee myself saving quite a bit of money by nixing the store-bought variety from my shopping list. I hope you find time to make them too.

You may want to make them as a gift for your own sister. They’re a healthy snack filled with love. Just the gift for celebrating Sisters’ Day. (Or better yet, give her the cookbook so she’ll make them for you!)