Learn how to make tasty treats for a fraction of the cost for store-brands

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The grocery store is filled with hundreds of snacks, but did you know you can make those same items cheaper, healthier and in just minutes?

Renae Chiovaro has to feed herself, her husband and two growing boys. She said she learned the mantra of never paying full price from her mother.

"She made a lot of stuff homemade when we were growing up, so I kind of took that on myself," said Chiovaro.

She prepares snacks like granola bars, jello and trail mix at the start of the week - which are easy to make when you buy in bulk.

"$1.99 usually for a 5 pound bag of flour," said Chiovaro.

Chiovaro buys ingredients with coupons when they are on sale.

"The main ingredient is going to be your quick oats, two cups," said Chiovaro.

The whole bag only cost $1.97.

"Rice Krispies - the generic brand - only one cup," said Chiovaro.

For extra protein, she sneaks in flax and chia seeds.

"And my boys have no clue it's in there," said Chiovaro.

Then, melt a quarter cup of brown sugar...

"Quarter cup and a tablespoon of the peanut butter," said Chiovaro.

...and a quarter cup of honey over medium heat. Three minutes later, add a dash of vanilla and  mix it with the dry ingredients.

"Parchment paper. The key is packing it tight," said Chiovaro.

Flatten it out and let the bars sit for half an hour - double the number of bars in a traditional box, for a fraction of the price of store-bought alternatives.

"The trail mix, I set up the cups on the counter, grab my bags of sunflower seed, almonds, cranberries... pancake mix is mostly flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Just add one egg, 3/4 cup of milk and one cup of the mix," said Chiovaro.

No ingredients you can't pronounce in these, and for those who say they have no time?

"I work full time, and I run my website. To make the granola bars, it really takes me maybe 15 minutes at the most," said Chiovaro.

Renae shares what she's learned on her website: http://www.howtohaveitall.net/

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