Blackberry Surprise Granola Bars

Do you like chocolate..and oats…and blackberries?

If so then you should make these granola bars today.

I’m always buying granola bars at the grocery store and one day not long ago thought to myself. Self: “what if I made my very own granola bars?” I could save money and determine exactly what goes into the mix. I found a recipe at Eat Live Run for yogi trail mix bars and knew if Jenna made it then they had to be good. The original recipe called for 1 cup of honey, 2 tbsp granulated sugar and 1/2 cup oat bran, three ingredients I did not have. Since my car was buried thick in ice and their was now way I was going to put on real clothes to dig myself out, the only thing to do was improvise.

In the very back of the cupboard I found a jar of blackberry whipped honey. I purchased the honey on a bright summer day at the local farmers market. Oh how I miss the good old days.

At the time it was a pure impulse buy and had know idea what I was going to use it for.

Wildflower Ridge Honey from Anderson, Indiana

I’m glad I bought it though it was nice substitution for regular honey. Instead of oat bran I used wheat bran, and instead of sugar I was forced to use three packets of Splenda (gasp) . I know…who doesn’t have sugar in their pantry? A girl’s gotta do what a girls gotta do. I needed to bake and I needed to bake now.

Blackberry Surprise Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whipped blackberry honey (or 1 cup regular honey)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup dried cranberries (dried blackberries would be awesome!)

1/2 cup wheat bran

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 tbsp granulated sugar (or three packets of Splenda if you absolutely have too)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Combine the honey, vanilla, salt, sugar and peanut butter in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stir occasionally, cook for about four minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cranberries, wheat bran, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds.

3. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss well.

4. Add the chocolate chips and fold together, do not overmix.

5. Press the mixture into a lined nine-inch pan and pat down.

6. Chill in the refrigerator for and hour, or until firm, cut into bars.

Even though you don’t actually bake the bars, still put on an apron, grab a spatula and twirl around the kitchen.

New Recipe: Apricot Granola

 I wanted to make this granola last month but never got around to it, I’m glad I waited till now.  The original recipe called for dried cranberries , which is fine, but I felt it was lacking something.  After cleaning out my pantry I found a bag of dried apricots, and decided to chop them up and add them to the finished product. The apricot adds a nice pop of color and flavor that reminds me of spring.  I guess I’m eager for  sunshine and spring blooms. Until then, this mix of granola will have to do. I hope it brightens up your mornings or snacks.

Apricot granola surprise:

Inspired by: Quaker

makes about 6.5 cups or 13 1/2 cup servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/ 2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except cranberries and apricot; mix well.

3. Spread evenly in 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan.

4. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

5. Remove granola from oven; stir in cranberries and apricot. Allow to cool completely in pan. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

 

 

 

Notes:

You can divide the recipe in half if you want to make a smaller portion.

Double your pans to prevent burning and stir frequently.

Nutrition: per 1/2 cup about 203 calories, about 10 g fat, about 27.5 carbs.

love ya tomorrow

to do:

  • workout (always, always, always, make your workouts a priority. write em down, schedule them in, do whatever you have to do to make yourself accountable.) done 1/4
  • bake cupcakes for the little aprons birthday
  • make granola done 1/4
  • clean refrigerator done 1/4
  • balance checkbook
  • new dinner recipe

I got three things done on my to do list today, I’m not complaining. You win some, you lose some. The rest can wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow….

So glad I got the fridge cleaned out though.

A few of my faves: Kodiac syrup, Honest tea, Sunking light, Pacific vegetable broth, Stoneyfield yogurt

Wallaby yogurt, baby spinach, flax meal

Someone has a condiment problem, no?

While I was at it, I decided to clean out the pantry. Good bye candy corn.  Miniature marshmallows… I’ll keep you around a while longer.

 In addition to a monthly goal, I plan on making a new granola recipe every month. I wanted to make Christmas granola http://www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipes/content/recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?recipeId=582 last month, but never had the time. Seeming how its January, and I’m anxious for spring to arrive I added dried apricot to the mix for a color boost. Spring can you come any sooner?

pre-baked

baked

Look at the orangey goodness of the added apricot.

Recipe to follow on Wednesday

Tonight’s dinner was Taco Tuesday.

Taco Tuesday was started by Mr. Aprons sister Michelle about two years ago when we visited her in Bloomington where she lived at the time.

Ever since then Taco Tuesday has morphed into a night of basically anything mexican. Fish tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos all qualify for “Taco Tuesday”. 

Tonight’s “taco” was a bean burrito with nutritional yeast, lettuce, onion, and hot sauce wrapped in a warm tortilla. A side of salty tortilla chips, deli style salsa, and a glass of vino completed the meal. We opened up the bottle of Catawba we purchased from Chateau de pique. It’s a sweeter red but with the dry finish I like. Still no sweets, I’m holding out for tomorrow’s big dinner.

Nite