Category Archives: Cooking

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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I made homemade peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars this afternoon and wow, so good! Definitely worth making again and again. I don’t think I’ll ever buy the packaged granola bars again, they are tasteless (well, they have a taste and it’s an artificial/chemical taste compared to theses). You can make these ‘organic’ if you use all organic ingredients. I just used what I had on hand. Husband and 2-year old daughter both love this recipe, and I feel really good about giving it to them vs. a store bought granola bar. Yay for new found recipes! Recipe take from this site.

Ingredients:
½ cup peanut butter (I’ve found that when trying to make granola-type bars that a peanut butter that has a little oil added to it works better than a peanut butter that is simply peanuts and salt).
1/3 cup agave syrup (could also use honey)
1 egg
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups slow cooking oats
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt

Optional ingredients:
1/3 cup chocolate chips, raisins, cranberries, peanuts or almonds
Try to limit it to only 2 additional 1/3 cups of ingredients. If more are added the bars will not stick together as well.

Time Estimates:
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Spray a 13×9 pan with cooking spray (or line a pan with parchment paper or a baking mat)
3. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
4. Press ingredients down flat into prepared pan
5. Cook in oven for 12 -15 minutes until edges begin to brown
6. Let cool so it firms up; if you try to cut while still warm, it will crumble

I did not use a 9×13 pan. I used a 1/2 sheet cake pan, so you can see that my ‘bars’ are very thin. I kind of like it this way, it’s more like granola-bar-brittle. However, next time I will make the granola bars using a 9×13 pan, that way they can be cut into actual bars. I think I will omit the chocolate chips as well, to make them a little healthier.

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The best Gingersnap Cookies in the world!

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Earlier this week I made a batch of gingersnap cookies. They were so good!!! I say were because they are gone. I ate so many the first few days, then luckily a friend came over and I was able to give some away. I continued to eat and eat and eat them (mind you, I’m in the home stretch of my pregnancy and my sweet tooth has taken over my mind and any will power that may have existed in me to not eat sweets), so I decided to put the rest of them on a platter and take them to a lunch party I had yesterday (ok, I admit it, I did leave 4 for myself to enjoy last night:).
Anywho…I wanted to share the recipe with you because they are so easy to make and are perfect for the fall weather. The recipe makes up to 40 cookies (depends on how big you like your cookies to be). They are incredibly moist (which means they will break easily if you stack them unevenly in a plastic bag or container) and they freeze really well (if you can control yourself and not eat them all in a matter of days).

Gingersnap Cookies

3/4 c butter, melted
3/4 c dark brown sugar, packed (can be light brown sugar too, just use what you have)
1 egg
3/4 c molasses
3 c sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt (use kosher if you have it)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
sugar (for rolling)

Cream butter and brown sugar together. Add egg and molasses; beat well. Sift flour with salt, soda and spices; add to molasses mixture and mix well. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Form into balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet (if you have parchment paper or a baking mat, then line the pan with that, it makes for easy clean up). Bake at 375º for 10 minutes. (do not over bake!).

My version of Salsa

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Two large tomatoes, half a bell pepper, and one small red onion, mixed it with a bit of lemon juice, salt, pepper, cilantro and garlic. It made a pretty good-sized portion of pico (my favorite kind of salsa). I didn’t add jalapenos because I figured I’d be sharing it with my sweet-pea (who’s two).

Soooo, i just made this as a side to my lunch and I’ve almost finished the ENTIRE bowl. Sheesh. Porker. There’s just something about fresh salsa and On The Border chips – you just can’t quit it once you get started. emmmm. It can’t be bad for you, well maybe the chips can be, but the salsa is all good stuff (maybe that’s why I consume so much of it, my mind is telling me it’s good for me and quietly forgetting about the chips….*as I take another bite*).

As you can see the bag of chips is almost empty! I’m going to save the rest of the salsa for sweet-pea, I know she’ll be happy to have some once she’s up from her nap.

Perfect Banana Nut Bread

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Breakfast this morning is hot-out-of the-oven banana nut bread. The house smells delicious!

Banana Nut Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbs. sour cream (or plain yogurt)
6 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 – 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Directions:
Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate mixing bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream; mix well. Add dry ingredients. Add bananas. Add nuts. Mix until well combined.
You can make this recipe using a blender, or you can mix everything by hand.

Grease 1 large bunt pan, or 6 mini bunt pans. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan(s). Bake at 350º for 1 hour (40 minutes for mini bunt pans). Insert a toothpick into the center of loaf; if the toothpick comes out dry bread is done, if not, cook an additional 10 minutes and check again.

Enjoy!!