Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Ok, finally, no pictures, but ... here's the recipe for Pumpkin Granola Bars that I mentioned in an earlier post:

Pumpkin Granola Bars

3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.
Makes 10-12 granola bars*Note-these didn’t last long in our house, so feel free to double the recipe and bake in a 9 by 13 pan.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Oat Groats

Another new breakfast favorite around here uses steel cut oat groats.

Groats are less processed, therefore healthier. They are also less expensive and with this recipe? They are quick & easy ... not to mention, yummy!

Another of my crew members has taken up this breakfast feature. It is a good job for little people -- no hot stuff, just throw it all together and turn it on. It gives them responsibility and makes them feel so important because ... the family is counting on them!

Prepared the night before it is ready to fit everyone's schedule in the morning:

It works best to use a heavy bowl that can sit in a water bath in your slow cooker. Trust me, clean up is a whole lot easier because the oats stick onto the crockpot in a crusty layer that is hard to get off, not to mention a sorry waste.

Slow Cooker Oats
1 1/2 oat groat
6 cups water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Handful of raisins

Toss these into your heavy bowl. Place it into the crockpot. Fill crockpot with water up to the level of the water in the bowl. Turn on low for 8-10 hours.
If you'd it chewier, just set the crock onto the keep warm setting.

In the morning, add a sweetener like maple syrup or honey. Garnish with pecans or other nuts if you desire. Or drizzle with cream.
Then sit down and enjoy!

It's just that easy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Homemade Healthy Chocolate

Coconut oil is VERY healthy for you. About 3 Tbsp. per day is the required amount you should try to ingest for optimal health benefits.

Chocolate, an all time favorite, is a great way to eat coconut oil.

Coconut Chocolate Almond Bark

3/4 cup virgin coconut oil
3 tsp. dutch cocoa
1/4 tsp stevia, to desired taste
1/2 cup sliced almonds (use whole almonds if desired -- or other nuts)

Mix until smooth. Pour into a wax paper lined pan/container. Freeze for 30 minutes. Remove, break into pieces. Enjoy!