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!

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 :)

 

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

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

 

 

 

And check out more Breakfast Recipes!

Homemade Taco Seasoning in Bulk! (+ Organic Option)

Here’s the “bulk taco seasoning” I bought at the store – but no more of that!

Between my husband and four boys, we can really shovel in some food at suppertime.  One of the cheapest and best-loved dinners I can make is Taco Night.  Or Enchilada Night.  Or Quesadilla Night.  Or Chicken Fajita Night… you get the picture.  But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got my meat browning and I reach up to the spice cabinet for taco seasoning, only to realize I’m out.  “ARRGGHH!!” I yell – causing my husband to look up for a second from his PlayStation game…

Also, paying $1 per package is not cost-effective, not when you can make your own taco seasoning in bulk!  So today, I’m sharing a recipe for Homemade Taco Seasoning.  I used this one and this one as the basis for mine, one has been rated 5 Stars 2300 times, and one is from the Taste of Home Test Kitchens.  It has to be good, right?

On another note – I just found this other recipe while looking for mine – and this girl made me laugh!

Basic Recipe: (2-3 Tbsp = 1 Package)

  • 1/2 Cup chili powder
  • 1/4 Cup ground cumin
  • 2 Tsp of Onion Powder or 2 Tbsp of Dried Minced Onion
  • 2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp of Paprika
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 Tsp Pepper (If you like it spicy, sub out part of the black pepper with cayenne)
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Cornstarch  (This will give it that little bit of thickening agent that most packages have)

Put it all in a jar or storage container and shake it like a polaroid picture.  2-3 Tablespoons of this is equivalent to one packet of seasoning.  This will make enough to last about 8-10 dinners, depending on how much you use each time.

The best part is that you’ll know EXACTLY what is in it -and what’s not in it (MSG, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, silicon dioxide, theoxyquin and BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil)

Great Deal on Organic Bulk Spices:

Interested in making it organic, and getting a really good deal on bulk spices?  Amazon is having an AWESOME sale on Frontier Certified Organic Spices in bulk bags – they are marked down as low as 60% OFF!  Go in with a few friends to buy these and divide them up amongst yourselves for less out of pocket expense.

Chili Powder
Cumin
Paprika

Oregano
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

See more recipes from our Recipe Box HERE!

 

Loaded Pumpkin Blondies

pumpkin blondies

It’s that time of the year again when pumpkin is everywhere. From iced coffees, to muffins, cakes, and more pumpkin is a favorite for many! These amazing loaded pumpkin blondies won’t disappoint with lots of fall spices like nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Your house will smell amazing and you will want to eat every single one! [Read more...]

Microwave Potato Chips (8-Minute Chips)

Back when I first heard about making microwave potato chips I was pretty dubious – because come on, if this method makes crispy potato chips why isn’t EVERYONE doing it? (right?) Well when I did try it, I was floored at how good these are – so was my husband who (surprise!) got fresh potato chips on his lunch break.  So were my kids who came home from school to a warm batch of potato chips…. What a fun treat!

Here’s the incredibly simple way to make microwave potato chips in 8 minutes:

  1. Slice a clean potato (skin on!) into the thinnest slices you can manage
  2. Arrange them around a large microwave-safe plate and spray lightly with cooking spray
  3. Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning. (Garlic Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Cumin, etc….)
  4. Flip them over and do the same to the other side
  5. Microwave for 4 minutes or until a few of the chips have started to brown
  6. Flip them over and microwave an extra 2 minutes or until most of the chips are a little brown

That’s it!  You haven’t soaked them in oil so they don’t need to sit on a paper towel.  You can pull that plate right out of the microwave (careful, it’ll be HOT!) and put them right in your mouth :)

Can you just imagine all the custom potato chips varieties you could come up with?  My 13 year old made his own after I showed him how – for an after school snack.  Nothing to it guys, I’m tell you!

If you’re trying to avoid ANY oil at all – you can lay parchment paper down on the plate and skip the oil step.  Or if you want more of an oily, indulgent potato chips, you can toss your potato slices in a little olive oil before seasoning, rather than use cooking spray.

I might never buy chips in a bag again…  Except that’s a lie because although these Microwave Potato Chips turn out SO good – it would take me like an hour to make enough for my whole family… :)  That little bowl pictured above is about how many chips you get from one plate of potato slices.

Microwave Potato Chips (8-Minute Chips)

Microwave Potato Chips (8-Minute Chips)

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Russet, Yukon Gold, or Red Potato
  • Non-stick spray or olive oil
  • Salt and other seasonings

Instructions

  1. Slice a clean potato (skin on!) into the thinnest slices you can manage
  2. Arrange them around a large microwave-safe plate and spray lightly with cooking spray
  3. Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning. (Garlic Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Cumin, etc....)
  4. Flip them over and do the same to the other side
  5. Microwave for 4 minutes or until a few of the chips have started to brown
  6. Flip them over and microwave an extra 2 minutes or until most of the chips are a little brown
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/microwave-potato-chips-8-minute-chips/

9 On-the-Go Breakfast Ideas for Kids

on-the-go-breakfasts-ideas

9 On the Go Breakfast Ideas for Kids

Jamie here!  Busy school mornings at the Miles house have us rushing around shouting out things like  “those socks don’t match – never mind who cares!”  or “Skip your teeth – I have gum in my purse!”   Lots of yelling things, lots of skipping things. But one thing we NEVER skip is breakfast – and partly because, despite my morning-person shortcomings, I’m a really big fan of easy breakfasts.
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Some of these on-the-go breakfast ideas for kids involve prepping something the night (or the weekend) before.  Some are just really smart and fast hurry-up meals.  All of them travel well and fire up the old brain cells for a day of learning!

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sausage-ball-muffins

Sausage Ball Muffins

Sausage balls are possibly my favorite food.  Leftover sausage balls heated for breakfast come in a close second.  These sausage ball muffins were a no-brainer.

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apple-cinnamon-freezer-pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Freezer Pancakes

Make a ton of pancakes using all the apples in your house that are being ignored because they’re “too bruisy” or starting to go soft.  Add a dash of cinnamon, freeze in a gallon ziploc bag and pop a couple in the toaster each morning!  If you want to get real crazy, slather a dollop of peanut butter between two of them and eat like a sandwich. Breakfast done.

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homemade-granola-bars-recipe-fruit-nuts

Homemade Granola Bars

These are super good for you and also super yummy.  They are coincidentally super filling – so much so that you won’t realize it’s lunchtime because you’re still full.

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breakfastsandwichmaker

Homemade Egg McMuffin Breakfast Sandwich

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I keep a pack of english muffins, eggs, cheese and some turkey bacon in the fridge and 5 minutes before my kids walk out the door, I pop all those ingredients into THIS baby.  It is magical and wonderful and I have no regrets for spending my birthday money on it.  (That should tell you something)

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ham and egg

Ham & Egg Breakfast Cups

This is great for any time you have leftover ham (perfect for after the holidays) or when you find a ham steak on clearance!

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banana-nut-muffins

 

Banana Nut Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Stole this incredibly-good recipe from my mom – along with the tip that those cheap bags of too-ripe bananas are one of the best investments in your breakfast menu you’ll ever make.

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eggowaffles jif

Peanut Butter Waffle Tacos 

Toast a frozen waffle, slather with peanut butter, fold into a taco form.  (It’s now a…. Taffle?  Waco?)

For banana-lovers, fill with bananas.  Too hot to handle?  Use a coffee filter as a waffle sleeve.  (Don’t worry, we have lots of other weird creative uses for coffee filters HERE!)

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make ahead breakfast casserole

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

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We actually have TWO different versions of this casserole!  The one shown above is Kasey’s recipe and is totally delicious and extra-special for holidays.  This recipe is mine and a) has fewer ingredients and b) is a little more firm and quiche-like, which is what you’re looking for as you sprint out the door.

Whip this up on Sunday night, and toss it in the oven while everyone’s getting ready.  Who said you can’t eat like it’s Christmas morning every morning?

Serve a square of this firm casserole on a piece of toast, for a casserole that can go right out the door to the bus stop!

nutrigrain-bar
gogurt-tube

Go-Gurt and Cereal Bar

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Stock up on gogurts and Nutri-Grain bars for a good balance of protein and dairy.  It’s not homemade – but noone said you have to pull off homemade every day!

If you enjoyed this roundup of On the Go Breakfast Ideas for Kids – you may want to check out our 10 Crockpot Recipes for Busy Nights!