Thursday, May 2, 2013

Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no bake)

**UPDATE** I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

One of my current goals is healthy eating, and for three reasons. 1) I want to drop some lbs. 2) I want to feel better. 3) I want my family to be healthy.

Upon my quest of healthy eating, I have been making a lot more homemade foods and a lot less boxed, canned, frozen, and packaged foods. Have I lost any pounds? No, not really, because I'm so excited about how good all of our new foods taste that I tend to overindulge. Oops. But have I been feeling better? Absolutely!! My husband and I used to need so many Tums for our heartburn that we should've considered stock in it to make some of our money back. Since we've cut so many extra additives and chemicals, we've considerably reduced our Tums intake! It is amazing how much better we've been feeling just by cutting some of the junk out of our diets.

With that being said, I am a granola bar fanatic! They're so easy to grab and go when we're racing out the door with coats unzipped and shoes half on and I didn't have time to sit and eat a real breakfast because the-baby-pooped-twice-in-an-hour-and-I-had-to-empty-the-dishwasher-so-that-I-could-refill-it-with-the-pile-of-dirty-dishes-on-the-counter-and-the-cat-just-spilled-her-water-all-over-the-floor-and-I-better-clean-it-before-baby-slips-in-it-and-I-have-to-change-her-for-a-third-time. Yes, I am as exhausted as that sentence.

Anyway, I also ate granola bars when I wanted a healthy snack in between meals (or when the hunger set in around 8pm). I used to buy boxes and boxes of generic brand granola bars.

Eating healthy, I thought. Saving money, I thought. Wrong! As our family makes the (slow and steady) movement towards healthier eating, we've been eating a lot more homemade and a lot less pre-packaged.

But I just can't deny my love for granola bars, so when I found this recipe, I had to try it.

Our lives will never be the same. Less junk, ingredients that I can pronounce, and they taste amazing.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Step 1
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (I just take a handful and eyeball it)

1. Mix oats and rice cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Lightly grease a small pan and set aside.

Step 3
3. In a small pot, melt butter, honey, and brown sugar over medium heat until it bubbles.

4.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 2 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Then pour mixture over the cereal/oat mix.
Step 6

6. Mix well so that all of the cereal/oats are coated.

7. Pour the mixture into the pan and press it down with the spoon until it's about an inch thick. Make sure it's pressed well so that it sticks together and won't fall apart when you cut it.

Step 8
8. Spread a handful of miniature chocolate chips across the top and lightly press them down so that they stick on the granola.

9. Let it cool at room temperature for about 2 hours.

10. Slice into bars. Store covered at room temperature. (The original directions say you can put it in the fridge for a few minutes to help it set if it seems crumbly upon cutting it.)

The first time I made these, I had too little for the size pan I used. I had to squish it to make it about an inch thick and then left the rest of the pan empty. It stays in place, so no problem.

The second time I made these, my pan was too little so I had extra. Again, no problem because it was a good little snack to just eat as plain granola. In fact, I may do that again next time so that I have extra to mix in with my yogurt...if I get the chance to sit down and actually eat breakfast.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

**UPDATE** I've moved to
You can find this post and more here

Is there anything more comforting than warm homemade bread? Not in this house.

I found this recipe some time ago for honey whole wheat bread and finally decided to try it. The whole process takes about 3-4 hours, but most of that time is waiting for the dough to rise and baking.

To make 2 loaves, you will need...
6 cups whole wheat flour, divided
1 ¾ cups warm water, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt

flour and water
~In a large glass bowl, mix 3 cups of the flour with 1 ½ cups of warm water.  Set aside for 30 minutes.

~In a small bowl, combine yeast, honey and 1/4 cup warm water.  Set aside for about 10 minutes so that the yeast can activate and bubbles form.

~While you wait on the dough and the yeast, melt the butter and set aside to allow it to cool.
yeast mixture

~Add the salt, melted butter, and yeast mixture to the flour/water mixture.

~Gradually add the rest of the flour.

~Once it becomes difficult to stir the dough, lay it on some wax paper and knead with your hands. 
kneaded dough ready to rise

~Put the kneaded dough back in the glass bowl and cover it with a cloth to allow it to rise for about an hour.

~Meanwhile, get two bread pans buttered or lightly greased.

~After the dough has risen to about double its size, give it a good punch and then knead it for a few minutes.

~Shape the dough into 2 loaves. Then cover and allow them to rise for at least 30 more minutes.

~After they have risen to about double their size again, bake uncovered for about 40 minutes at 350*.

And there you have it - homemade honey whole wheat bread! We like to eat it warm and buttered with our dinner, but my all time favorite way to enjoy this bread -  

Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!!

2 slices honey whole wheat bread
spreadable butter
3 slices avocado
2 types of cheese (I used American and provolone)

I've Moved

It's official. I've moved.

Come check out my new stuff  here!