Homemade Granola Bars Recipe w/ Fruit & Nuts

This homemade granola bars recipe is chock full of fruit and nuts and will keep you energized and satisfied well into the day!

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe w/Fruit & Nuts

Jamie here! This past week my husband not-so-casually hinted that he was tired of our eating the exact same trail-mix granola bars every day on his way to work – and would I be up to the challenge of making some homemade granola bars just for him.  I’ve been wanting to make my own granola bars forever, so I was happy to try!
In fact, he’s also been trying to lower his cholesterol, and oats, nuts and blueberries are all very good for that.  After researching several recipes and reader comments, this is the homemade granola bars recipe I ended up using.  These turned out SOOO good, and they’re super filling.  You can customize it to include your favorite dried fruits, and use coconut oil in place of butter.  It’s perfect as an on-the-go breakfast, but I enjoy slowly nibbling one while I sip my coffee as well.

I went to Aldi to pick up all my ingredients, and the ONLY thing I couldn’t find there was the wheat germ (which I located at Publix). I love wheat germ – my mom used to keep it in the fridge at all times, and we’d toss it on everything, even our ice cream! It just adds a great little extra crunch :)  While my I made my batch with half dried apricots, and half dried blueberries – you can use any fruit that floats your boat.  I bet dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries/rasberries would be heavenly!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 Cups Rolled Oats (NOT the instant kind)
  • 3/4 Cups Toasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
  • 8 oz Honey
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 6-8 oz Dried, Chopped Fruit

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the oats on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, stirring around once or twice while baking.

Grease a 9×13 Glass baking dish with butter or coconut oil and set aside.

While the oats are toasting, heat coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt on medium until the brown sugar is entirely dissolved.  Make sure not to overcook this (aka – boil it until it’s foamy) or your bars may be stuck together like concrete.

While that heats, mix remaining ingredients (Sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ) in a separate bowl.

Pull the now-toasted oats out of the oven and add to the nut mixture, then slowly pour in the melted honey & sugar syrup.

Stir in the dried fruit and mix well.  Spread evenly into the glass baking dish, and press down with the back of a spatula until even and flat.  (I used my own buttered palms, which works great too – but remember that stuff is a little hot!)

Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

IMPORTANT: Make SURE you let it cool for a couple hours before cutting, or it will crumble apart when you try!

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe w/ Fruit & Nuts

Homemade Granola Bars Recipe w/ Fruit & Nuts

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (NOT the instant kind)
  • 3/4 Cups Toasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
  • 8 oz Honey
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Packed Brown Sugar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 6-8 oz Dried, Chopped Fruit

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spread the oats on a baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes, stirring around once or twice while baking.
  2. Grease a 9x13 Glass baking dish with butter or coconut oil and set aside.
  3. While the oats are toasting, heat coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt on medium until the brown sugar is entirely dissolved. Make sure not to overcook this (aka - boil it until it's foamy) or your bars may be stuck together like concrete.
  4. While that heats, mix remaining ingredients (Sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ) in a separate bowl.
  5. Pull the now-toasted oats out of the oven and add to the nut mixture, then slowly pour in the melted honey & sugar syrup.
  6. Stir in the dried fruit and mix well. Spread evenly into the glass baking dish, and press down with the back of a spatula until even and flat. (I used my own buttered palms, which works great too - but remember that stuff is a little hot!)
  7. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/homemade-granola-bars-recipe-w-fruit-nuts/

 

This recipe was adapted from this granola bars recipe from Alton Brown.

apple chips 2

You may also want to check out this yummy recipe for Homemade Apple Chips!

Mardi Gras King Cake Recipe with Crescent Rolls!

mardi-gras-king-cake-iced

Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday – is NEXT WEEK, so here’s a repost from last year!

Jamie here!  I’ve posted my favorite King Cake Recipe once before – but THIS TIME I actually remembered to take pictures ;)

This King Cake recipe is different than the traditional version in that you don’t make a yeasty bread from scratch – but instead use of a can of crescent rolls for the crust.

With a delicious cream cheese, cinnamon, brown sugar and nut filling – it resembles a decadent coffee cake and would be wonderful with a strong cup of coffee!  And don’t forget to hide the baby inside….

king-cake-plain

[Read more...]

Cornflake Ranch Chicken Tenders

cornflake-ranch-chicken-tenders

Cornflake Ranch Chicken Tenders Recipe

.

Jamie here! If you’re looking for a healthier and delicious way to make tasty tenders – you’re going to LOVE this cornflake ranch chicken tenders recipe! (Plus, CVS has a great deal on Kelloggs Cornflakes this week – only $1.88 or cheaper with coupons!)
.
First of all – these are baked, not fried.  (I know – they really LOOK fried!)   Secondly, they’re moist and flavorful and you don’t have to drag them through melted butter.  Yes I have done this – and yes, that was delicious too ;)
.
All you need for this recipe is chicken breast, milk, ranch dressing, cornflakes, and whatever seasonings float your boat.  If you have that, you’re ready to roll!
.
First, cut your chicken breasts into strips.  A nice sized breast should yield about 3 strips.  Set all of these aside and go ahead and preheat the oven to 425.
.
Pour about a cup of cornflakes (Yes cornflakes – NOT corn chips!) into a Ziploc bag and have one of the munchkins roll a can of green beans back and forth on it until they’re crushed into tiny teeny pieces.  Meanwhile, you can get the ranch dip ready!
.
Fill a cereal bowl about 1/3 of the way with milk and add three or four tablespoons worth of Ranch dressing.  The ratio is really an eyeball kind of thing – no need to be exact about it.  You just want to end up with ranchy milk.
.
Dump the cornflake crumbs from the bag into a separate bowl and stir in the seasonings you like.  I added a little parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Save-a-Lot’s chicken seasoning, and some salt and pepper.  Italian seasoning,  would be great too.  Or maybe a Southwest tender.  It would be really hard to mess up the flavor of these, just go with your gut on this ;)
.
Using a fork (or your fingers) dip each tender in the milk bath and then press it into the cornflake coating.  Make sure it’s covered well so the chicken won’t dry out in the oven.
.
Place tenders on a cookie sheet that you’ve liberally sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Spray the tops of the tenders as well – to help the them get a nice golden color as they bake.
.
*If you have a lot of chicken, say more than a couple breasts, you’ll probably need to refill your cornflake coating and ranch-milk about halfway through.  I like to do a TON of chicken at a time so we can use it for lunches during the week – so I refilled my bowls a few times.
.
Baking time will depend on how big your tenders are, but mine always take about 20 minutes.  If you feel unsure, just cut into the thickest one to do a spot check.
.
With my hubby trying to lower his cholesterol, and my kids wanting nothing but chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers – this was a yummy compromise that everyone in our house loved!  Let me know if you shake it up any – or go Southwest – I’ll have to try that version next!
Cornflake Ranch Chicken Tenders

Cornflake Ranch Chicken Tenders

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breast or Tenderloins (NOT frozen)
  • 1 Cup Cornflakes
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Ranch Dressing
  • Parmesan Cheese *optional
  • Chicken Seasoning *optional
  • Garlic Powder *optional
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. First, cut your chicken breasts into strips. A nice sized breast should yield about 3 strips. Set all of these aside and go ahead and preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Pour 1 cup of cornflakes into a Ziploc bag and crush into fine crumbs
  3. Fill a cereal bowl about 1/2 of the way with milk and add dressing.
  4. Dump the cornflake crumbs from the bag into a separate bowl and stir in the seasonings you like.
  5. Using a fork (or your fingers) dip each tender in the milk bath and then press it into the cornflake coating. Make sure it's covered well so the chicken won't dry out in the oven.
  6. Place tenders on a cookie sheet that you've liberally sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spray the tops of the tenders as well - to help the them get a nice golden color as they bake.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/cornflake-ranch-chicken-tenders/

Microwave Eggs in a Cup

Jamie here!

I used to hate eggs.   Like, they turned my stomach if I smelled them cooking.  I don’t know what changed, but in the last few years I’ve come to really enjoy them – and I depend on them for a good start to my day.  A cheesy scrambled egg on toast is just the perfect compliment to my coffee – and it became even MORE perfect when I realized I could microwave eggs in a cup in under a minute!

Here’s how to microwave eggs in a cup:

  1. Crack an egg into a coffee cup
  2. Pour in about a tablespoon of milk
  3. Add a sprinkle of shredded cheese & a dash of salt & pepper
  4. Whisk around with your fork until combined
  5. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, stir, return to microwave
  6. Microwave for another 15 – 30 seconds until fluffy

*NOTE: Times vary depending on how powerful/new your microwave is.  You might need to leave it in an extra 15 seconds or so until they look like this :)

 

.

These would be great to pair with some microwave bacon - or these awesomely delicious Sausage Ball Muffins

.

how-to-cook-bacon-microwave sausage-ball-muffins

 

 

 

And check out more Breakfast Recipes!

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

cake-mix-oatmeal-cookies

I was rooting around in my pantry, looking for something yummy to make the boys  for their 3-day weekend and I came up with these Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies.  Guys, these are honest-to-goodness SCRUMP-TIOUS.  My 13 year old promptly pronounced them his favorite cookie EVER.  Using a cake mix makes them super so easy too!

UPDATE: I’ve altered this recipe just a teensy bit to include 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal instead of just 2 because I believe I was a little heavy handed in the oats department the first go around ;)  And after trial and error – make sure to use the regular oats to get chubby cookies, and the quick oats if you don’t mind them flat :)

.

I’ve make this previous cake mix cookie bars recipe plenty of times and was excited to to see how the extra oatmeal texture would work out – I feel like it adds major bonus points to the cookie!  Some people like thin crispy oatmeal cookies – and there’s something to be said for a crispy cookie….  But these aren’t it.  I like my oatmeal cookies LUMPY.  These are soft and lumpy and crispy and chewy all at the same time – PERFECT.

cookiecloseup

Gather the following – and cut yourself some slack if you don’t have the yellow cake mix – really, any vanilla-ish flavored cake mix will work about the same in this recipe.

  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 1/2 Cups Regular Oats (I don’t think Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Oil + 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Get your oven preheating to **350** and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray (I love-love-love the kind with flour in it – I use Pam baking spray and it even smells like vanilla!)

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and water and vanilla together and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in about a cup of chocolate chips.  I used Semi-Sweet knowing that this was likely going to turn out pretty sweet already (Cake Mix + Sugar = Plenty of Sugar!) and I was 100% right on that score -the semi sweet chocolate was the PERFECT contrast.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen medium cookies, but if you made them smaller they’d make about 4 1/2 dozen.

Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

These cake mix oatmeal cookies are just a mouthful of love when you add a glass of milk – my kids have been giving me adoring glances all weekend because of them. :)

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Dessert
Cuisine: casual
3-4 Dozen
 
This cake mix oatmeal cookies recipes makes cookies that are lumpy, chunky, and chocolate-chippy - plus a cake mix really makes things come together in a seconds!
Ingredients
  • Box of Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Cups Oats (Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup Oil + ¼ Cup Water
  • 1½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and water together.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour in the vanilla extract and about a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.
  7. Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

 

How to Make Snow Cream (2 Different Ways!)

how-to-make-snow-cream

How to Make Snow Cream (2 Different Ways)

Although we have absolutely NO sign of snow here in Tennessee – some of you lucky ducks do!  Here’s a recipe you’ll want to keep on hand for the kids :)
With all the snow we’ve been getting lately, I figured it was high time to whip up a batch of snow cream for the kiddos.  Here are two ways to make snow cream, depending on what you have in your pantry.

.

First, I’ll start with the best way to make snow ice cream:

[Read more...]

Easy Valentine Recipes | Chocolate Pretzel Hearts

valentine-pretzels

I hope you all are saving those red M&M’s from the Christmas clearance baggies…. :)

If you’re wanting some easy Valentine Recipes to make with the kids – here’s a super simple crowd pleaser!   These Chocolate Heart Pretzels only take minutes to make and are easy enough to let the kids help. Plus – you can send them to school for their class Valentine Party!

Keep reading for directions to make this and other easy Valentine recipes:

[Read more...]