Homemade Granola Bars

I’m always searching for  healthy snacks for my growing kids! Nothing with tons of sugar, but also something that is fun to eat and won’t ruin appetites for the next meal, oh, and budget friendly….. I don’t ask for very much do I??  So… I decided to use some items in my pantry to experiment with making my own  granola bars! We ALL loved them- I was shocked- this experiment worked! Happy surprise! 

Homemade Granola BarsMost granola bar ingredients call for honey as the “glue” that keeps the bars together. I have noticed that honey has the ability to make my little boy run around the house like a crazy little monkey! But, I still needed a sticky liquid.  I decided to use a combination of agave nectar(a natural sugar that is slowly metabolized) and maple syrup (because it’s sticky and I love the taste) It was just the right amount of stickiness.
gb ingredients

 If you’ve never worked with Coconut Oil, you will quickly notice that it comes in solid form and needs to be melted down to use as an oil. In this recipe, I also needed to melt the peanut butter down, so, I added all of the liquid (or soon to be liquid) ingredients together and put them in the microwave until melted.

co and pb

 I had Agave Nectar in my pantry because I had grand plans of using it instead of sugar in my coffee when I was prego and then I stopped using sugar in my coffee all together- so now I can make lots of granola bars!!

agave nectar

 I love the taste of maple syrup- especially the REAL stuff!! It’s more expensive, but tastes oh so much better than the artificial stuff! 

maple

 As usual, I had a kitchen helper! Monkey Man helped me by eating a spoonful of peanut butter! 

mm

 MMMM…… melted goodness! My mind immediately went to what else I could pour this yummy sauce on…. It’s good- very good! 

melted wet ingredients

 Oats…. I had old fashioned oats on hand- so I used that. You could use anything your heart desires and I know some recipes call for Rice Crispies to add to the texture of their bars. You are the chef!

oatmeal

Pour your lovely melty mixture over your oats and stir to combine!add wet ingredients

 

For this recipe you can use a 9×9 pan and get pretty thick bars or use a 9×13 pan and get thin bars. This time I made thick bars. Either way, I would highly recommend you line your dish with parchment or foil. You don’t need to oil your dish because the peanut butter has enough natural oil to make the bars non-stick.
9x9 af

 I poured my “batter” into my dish and popped them in the fridge for about 2 hours. They were perfectly set up! I pulled the bars out of the dish, and peeled the foil away, and went to cutting. I made some big ones and some small ones!! So rich and so good. 

granola bars 2

 My kids call them cookies and beg for them for dessert! I can’t wait to experiment with more mix-ins: raisins and nuts and pumpkin something! I hope your family loves these as much as mine did! Enjoy!

 final granola bars 2

Linda's Homemade Granola Bars
The perfect sweet and salty snack to please kids of all ages!
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Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup coconut oil
  2. 2/3 cup peanut butter
  3. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  4. 1/3 cup Agave nectar
  5. 2- 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  6. 3/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Prepare pan by lining 9x9 pan with foil. Combine coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup and agave nectar in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for one minute or until all ingredients are melted. Whisk to combine. Place oats in a large bowl. Pour liquid over oats. Pour into prepared 9x9 pan. Evenly distribute chocolate chips over the top! Push chips down slightly. Refrigerate until mixture is set. Cut into desired shape. Eat and Enjoy! Store bars in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. The possibilities are endless! Pick your favorite toppings and have fun!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

 

 

 

Salsa Crazy

I don’t know if I would call these two recipes salsas or  sauces or what…. but, they are both yummy, not just with chips, but they compliment any meat dish very nicely!  It also is a perfect way to use summers fresh bounty of fruit and veggies! Can’t wait for you to try these- if not now- then in the middle of winter when you need a little taste of summer! What we have today: Fresh Peach Salsa AND Black Bean Corn Salsa!
black bean salsa

Peach Salsa

Fresh Peach Salsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were both made on a whim- so no step by step pics…. but they were both so good, I had to post! Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Fresh Peach Salsa
A fresh sweet and spicy salsa perfect with chips or served with grilled chicken!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 peaches, peeled and chunked
  2. 1/2 yellow onion
  3. 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  4. 1/2 cup fresh grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  5. Juice of 1 lime
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

 

Black Bean Corn Salsa
A delicious and fresh salsa that pairs nicely with grilled flank steak!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 avocado, cut into chunks
  2. 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  3. 2 ears corn, roasted and cut off the cob
  4. 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
  5. 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  6. 1 vine ripened tomato, seeded and finely diced
  7. 1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
For the lime sauce
  1. 1 lime, juiced
  2. salt and pepper, to taste
  3. 1 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. Place all prepared veggies into a large bowl. Whisk sauce ingredients together. Pour over veggie. Stir gently to combine! Enjoy!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Cinco de Mayo fun!

We have so many fun celebrations in May! Star Wars Day yesterday and Cinco de Mayo feast today! Lots of birthdays, graduations, mother’s day, end of school… for every event Glitter Girl requests this salsa! We are getting ready to grow a salsa garden to help with our salsa addiction! 
salsa-final

 When we have our weekly taco night, I usually make pico de gallo. Pico has a chunkier texture. Today, I made a traditional salsa that was perfect for our Fiesta!  I used roma tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, purple onion, and jalapeno…. I love the festive colors!

salsa ingredients

 I used the food processor to make the salsa making process go faster and its the best way to get that classic salsa consistency. 

food processor

 Yum! So pretty and fresh! Add salt and pepper to taste! 

salsa

 Homemade salsa and guac- ready to go! 

salsa and guac 1

 I also made some Chicken Enchiladas…stay tuned for this fantastic recipe! 

baked enchiladas

 For dessert, I tried something new and it was a BIG hit! Yummy Cinnamon Cheesecake Sopapillas! Really good and easy! Can’t wait to share this recipe! 

sopapillas final

 I love how food can help us celebrate and make learning fun…. How did you celebrate your Cinco de Mayo?

Fresh Homemade Salsa
A fresh, restaurant style salsa! Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!
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Ingredients
  1. 6 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
  2. 1 purple onion
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 1 lime
  5. 1 bunch cilantro
  6. 1/2 jalapeno, seeded
  7. salt and pepper to taste
To make salsa
  1. Place purple onion, garlic, and jalapeno in food processor. Process until veggies are chopped evenly. Add cilantro and lime juice. Pulse to incorporate. Seed tomatoes by running your thumb through tomato flesh. Process tomatoes until chopped evenly. Salt and pepper salsa to taste.
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! (Hop on Pop-Corn)

 

 

Hop on PopHappy Birthday Dr. Seuss. This would have been your 110th birthday!  A tribute to you from one of your own: “Happy Birthday To You”

I wish we could do what they do in Katroo. They sure know how to say “Happy Birthday to You!”  In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born They start the day right bright early in the morn When the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up on Mt. Zorn and lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn. And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays: “Wake Up For today is your Day of all Days!” 

We are so excited for this day every year! Usually we have lots of laughs over our Green Eggs and Ham for Breakfast! This year we picked a different book to snack from! “Hop on Pop” is a new favorite in our house.  We decided to make some POP-corn and give it a sweet twist with white chocolate and rainbow jimmies!

IMG_7458You can ABSOLUTELY use microwave popcorn for this recipe.  I didn’t want to use a buttered popcorn, and this is how we pop the corn at our house so I went with it. This is the Stovetop Popcorn Popper we use. This amount of popcorn made 2 sheet pans of popcorn.IMG_7465

Add oil…. IMG_7468

 and your popcorn.IMG_7475

Then put the help to work poppin’ the corn!IMG_7485Pour your popcorn into a bowl and salt.. IMG_7463

Meanwhile, Melt your white chocolate in a double boiler. You can use a microwave, but i prefer a double boiler to prevent the chocolate from seizing (burning and becoming chalky) IMG_7486Pour the your popcorn on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.IMG_7494Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn.IMG_7500Sprinkle with Rainbow Jimmies! You need to complete this step while the chocolate is still melty…IMG_7502So pretty!!    

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!   I think even  Mr. Knox would eat this creation!

Hop on Pop-Corn
A sweet and salty treat that is perfect to snack on while reading your favorite Dr. Seuss book!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup popcorn kernels OR 1 bag of microwave popcorn!
  2. 1 bag white chocolate chips, melted
  3. 1/2 cup rainbow jimmies
Instructions
  1. 1. Pop your popcorn using a Stovetop Popcorn Popper or just use Microwave popcorn of your choice.
  2. 2. Once popcorn is done pour into a bowl and salt.
  3. 3. Pour out the popcorn onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper
  4. 4. Drizzle the melted chocolate on the popcorn
  5. 5. Sprinkle the rainbow jimmies on the popcorn
  6. 6. Let sit until set (usually around 15 minutes)
  7. 7. Break up into pieces and enjoy!
Notes
  1. This popcorn will stay fresh for up to 3 days stored in a airtight container or a zip top bag!
Adapted from Based on the book: "Hop on Pop" by Dr. Seuss
Adapted from Based on the book: "Hop on Pop" by Dr. Seuss
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/