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!

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in Oven

how-to-roast-pumpkin-seeds-in-oven

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in the Oven

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When we were kids, my mom always roasted pumpkin seeds after we carved our pumpkins for Halloween.  They were SO good – and just one of those Fall traditions that sticks with you – the taste, the texture, even the sound of the crispy seeds rattling in the bowl.  (And in case you’re wondering – YES you eat the shell!  It’s not like a sunflower seed shell, but thinner and more papery)

In my opinion, the very best way to eat them is right out of the oven – with just a little oil and salt.  However – you can definitely have fun with the seasonings and add a kick of cumin and chili powder for a Southwest flavor – whatever floats your boat!

Here’s how to roast pumpkin seeds in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Start with 1 1/2 Cups Seeds separated from the guts (that’s about 1 pumpkin’s worth – but double or triple the recipe if you have more on hand!)
  3. Rinse under warm water in colander, using your hands to remove any large strings of pulp (You can actually probably skip this step since the next step will take care of most of the pulp anyway.)
  4. Next, boil in pot of heavily salted water for 10 minutes – all guts will rise to the top in a foamy mess and you can easily scoop them off.  This step allows some salt to seep into the shell so they’re yummy from the inside out :)
  5. Transfer to the colander and rinse in cold water, shake out excess water and lie out on towel to dry
  6. Pat dry with a towel and place in a small mixing bowl – keep in mind, the drier the better!  **Avoid using paper towels, or your wet seeds may stick to them
  7. Pour in a about 2 Tbsp of oil or melted butter and 1 – 2 tsp Salt and stir it around until all the seeds are pretty evenly coated
  8. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or use parchment paper
  9. Spoon the seeds onto the baking sheet and spread them out so they’re in a single layer
  10. Bake for about 30 – 45 minutes, checking to make sure they don’t get too brown (Do a taste test to make sure they’re nice and crispy – if not, they need to go back in for a couple minutes!)

Although I have lots of steps listed above, I promise it’s not hard at all!   At the most basic level – all you TRULY need to know for how to roast pumpkin seeds in the oven is 1) Wash them well and bake at 300 degrees 2) Use salt and oil before they go in 3) Bake in a single layer until they’re golden brown and crispy.

I hope you get a chance to try these with your family this year – and I’d LOVE (No really – I mean it!) to know what kinds of seasoning combinations you like to put on yours!

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in Oven

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds in Oven

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin Seeds
  • Butter or Oil
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Start with 1/2 Cups Seeds separated from the guts (that's about 1 pumpkin's worth - but double or triple the recipe if you have more on hand!)
  3. Rinse under warm water in colander, using your hands to remove any large strings of pulp
  4. Next, boil in pot of heavily salted water for 10 minutes - all guts will rise to the top in a foamy mess and you can easily scoop them off. This step allows some salt to seep into the shell so they're yummy from the inside out :)
  5. Transfer to the colander and rinse in cold water, shake out excess water and lie out on towel to dry
  6. Pat dry with a towel and place in a small mixing bowl - keep in mind, the drier the better!
  7. Pour in a about 2 Tbsp of oil or melted butter and 1 - 2 tsp Salt and stir it around until all the seeds are pretty evenly coated
  8. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or use parchment paper
  9. Spoon the seeds onto the baking sheet and spread them out so they're in a single layer
  10. Bake for about 30 - 45 minutes, checking to make sure they don't get too brown (Do a taste test to make sure they're nice and crispy - if not, they need to go back in for a couple minutes!)
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/how-to-roast-pumpkin-seeds-in-oven/

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/

Homemade Apple Chips

hoemade apple chips

Last week  my hubby and I ran into TJMaxx to look for some new pants. With his 42 lb weight loss, nothing fit. At the checkout line they had bags of yummy apple chips that looked delicious, until we saw the $8.99 price tag. Seriously $8.99 for a bag of apple chips? No way, not when I knew I could figure out how to make them for much cheaper. Here is an easy recipe for homemade apple chips. With just a few simple steps, you’ll have freshly baked apple chips and your kitchen will smell amazing!

This recipe is AdvoCare 24-Day Challenge friendly.

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