No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars

granola bars

The other day whilst perusing the aisles of Target (sans grocery list), I began grabbing random items from the grocery aisle, and tossing them in to my giant, red shopping cart. (Clearly I cannot be trusted without a grocery list.) In addition to my usual, aimless home-goods browsing,  I was looking for a few easy on-the-go snacks for Ayden.  I am not one of those perfectly raw, organic moms (although I wish I was), but I do read labels. My typical shopping guidelines are as follows:

  • If it grows out of the ground, I try to buy organic.
  • No sugar in the first 3 ingredients.
  • No high fructose corn syrup (to the very best of my ability.)

Like I said, I do this imperfectly. However, these guidelines are what matter to me most days, when it comes to feeding my family.  Anyway, back to Target. I was walking through the snack aisle, about to throw a box of granola bars in my cart. I checked the label, like I do, and noticed all sorts of disturbing corn syrups, ‘modified this’, and ‘modified that’. I thought to my self, ‘Self, I bet we can make this from scratch using real food’. So I did, and here’s how. 

Stuff you will need:

  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups honey (After making this recipe, I would cut it to 1 cup of honey)
  • 1/3 cup real butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt (sea salt if you have it)
  • 1 cup 100% crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups rice crisped cereal
  • 2 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips

ingredients

How to make it:

In a large bowl, combine oats, rice cereal and ground flax. Stir until well combined, and set aside.

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Measure out sugar, honey, Butter/coconut oil and salt into a sauce pan. Heat over medium, and bring to a boil. Stir the entire time, and let boil for one minute so sugar dissolves.

Take off heat, add vanilla extract and peanut butter, stirring until smooth.

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Pour wet mixture over the dry ingredients that you set aside earlier.

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Stir until well combined.

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Set mix aside for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare a large cookie sheet (12.5 x 17.5 x 1 inch) with parchment paper. (Trace bottom of pan on to paper, cut along lines and it should fit perfectly in the bottom of the pan).

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Pour the granola mixture on to the lined cookie sheet.

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Make sure you distribute the mixture evenly. Then get another piece of parchment paper and another cookie sheet, place on top of mixture, and press down to help set the bars.

Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and repeat pressing technique.

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Allow bars to fully cool, (either in fridge or on counter).

Cut bars to desired size, serve and enjoy!

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***Original recipe was found on the Happy Money Saver blog.

xo, Em

The One About Pie

Clarity and focus doesn’t always come

Greetings & salutations!

I hope everyone had a terrific Turkey Day and ate lots of yummy food, (I sure did!) This year, I was responsible for desserts, and I decided I wanted to post about it. I consider myself to be more of a cooker than a baker, so I was excited for this challenge. In my mind, Thanksgiving desserts should include, (but of course not be limited to): pumpkin pie, pecan pie and apple pie. This was my inspiration for the desserts I was creating. I am pleased to announce that all were a success, and that I didn’t burn down our house in the process, (although I came close at one point–Oopsie!)

I followed recipes that I found via Pinterest, and I am including the links for your baking pleasure. Enjoy!

Dutch Apple Pie:

I decided to try a different type of apple pie, than the traditional kind. It turned out pretty yummy, and was my husband’s favorite of the three desserts I made.

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Pecan Pie Bars:

So here’s the truth… I didn’t have enough pie dishes to make a pecan pie, so I found this amazing pecan pie bar recipe, and created these instead. My Father-in-law renamed them ‘crack bars’, which I think qualifies them as a hit.

Here’s a secret, though. I smoked out our entire house in the process of making these bad boys. I put all of the filling in to the pan when it was time to bake them, (which was way too much). In turn, it dripped over the sides and if you didn’t know, sugar makes a lot of smoke. It was quite a scene, but the bars survived the trauma, and so did we.

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See the edges where it spilled over int he oven? It’s not supposed to look like that.

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Pumpkin Pie:

Guys… I made homemade pie crust! This made me feel so legit.

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I prepped my dough, filling and sugared cranberries the night before. After my whole pecan-pie-bar-almost-burn-down-the-house incident, I decided it was time to take a break for the night. Here is the final product, though. It tasted as good as it looked! (My favorite of the three desserts).

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Stay tuned for my 12 Days of DIY, starting this week!

xo, Emily

The Easiest (And BEST) Shortbread Cookies Ever – Chocolate Chip Shortbread Rounds

O P E N I N G

So we are officially in The Holiday Season. This means lots of gatherings, parties, celebrations and potlucks. If you are looking for a super tasty go-to treat to bring, these little bites of heaven may be perfect for you. They only have 4 ingredients, which also makes them fun and easy to make with kiddos. Or if you are just sick of making the same old chocolate chip cookies, try these for a yummy change. Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Rounds

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (12oz) milk chocolate chips
  • (Optional: powdered sugar for garnish)

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1. Cream butter and sugar

Cream in large mixing bowl with electric mixer at low-medium speed until light.

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2. Add flour

Gradually add flour until fully combined.

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3. Stir in chips

Stir in chips by hand.

(If dough seems crumbly, it will stick together when shaped with your hands).

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4. Roll in to 1 inch balls

Using the palms of your hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheets.

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5. Bake

Bake cookies for 13-15 minutes at 350 degrees. (Cookies will still be pale. Let stand 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet, and dust with powered sugar if desired.)

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Enjoy!

xo, Emily