Well, it has definitely been a busy week so far.
I’ve been planning, cooking, planning to cook, and even planning to plan. That last one doesn’t always work out with all the different variables that inevitably change whatever I may have attempted to plan but I keep trying anyway. We’ve had some birthdays, some family events, and then this weekend we’re having a gathering with a pretty large group of friends for the evening. Of course you can’t have a good party if it doesn’t involve some good food and you know I love any opportunity to make extra special things so I’m planning for that too.
All of that and then we also have a long trip that we’ll be taking in the near future. Which, because of the trip, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time looking at the perishable contents in my fridge and pantry to see what I need to use beforehand so it doesn’t spoil while we’re gone. Obviously not everything is necessary to use but I keep finding all sorts of ingredients that I’ve been saving small portions of in case I need them later. You know, I think I have an issue there. Tell me, do you guys do this too? I tend to always save things for that “just in case” occasion in the future rather than enjoying them in the moment. It always comes back to bite me because more often than not the things I’ve saved will wind up unused and wasted. I’ve gotta work on that, which brings me back to enjoying things while you can.
For those of you who are new to blog you may not know that I live in South America. Well, if you spend any time here you’ll probably find at least one instance where I’ve had a little rant about not being able to find certain ingredients in my area. I try not to complain about it too much but I also like to keep it real and explain so it can make since why I make it sound like some ingredients are gold to me. Anyway, I have some foods that have come from out of the country that I’ve been heavily rationing, such as pecans, malted milk powder, and maple syrup. Since I’ll be traveling I need to use them first because I know I’ll be able to replace them before coming home.
I’m still working on what I want to use the pecans for but I already finished off the malted milk in some milkshakes (Oh, here’s a recipe if you wanna try!) and then I decided to use some of the maple syrup to make these granola bars that I’m sharing today. The maple flavor isn’t actually that prominent among all the other flavors going on but I still love the flavor it does add to the bars.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually made these bars 3 times in the past week so that I could find the perfect ratio of sweetness to all the seeds and nuts. I’m sharing my last recipe, but ironically enough, the first batch I made turned out to be the favorite with the kiddos. There are five different seeds in my final recipe because I wanted to add as many as I could because I love the flavor of the sesame and the flax seeds are so good for you. However my trusted tasters preferred the less seedy ones that I made without the sesame and flax seeds. So if you aren’t a huge fan of sesame and flax then feel free to leave them out and replace them with a bit more of the seeds you do like. The same goes for any of the seeds in these bars.
To finish them off I dipped some in chocolate (you know, for good measure) but that part is totally optional. With or without the extra chocolate they are still delicious and they’re a great snack to take on the go or have for a quick energy boost. They’re also super easy to make and hardly take any time at all. I will recommend letting them cool completely before cutting if you don’t want them to crumble apart. Although, if they do crumble or if you prefer your granola in a bowl with some milk or yogurt like I do, then don’t hesitate to break the mixture into clusters instead of cutting it into bars. Ooooh, and you can add chocolate chips in place of dipping the bars in chocolate, it’s so good!
Need a quick grab-n-go snack or just a healthy pick-me-up in the late afternoon? These simple and easy to make granola bars are just what you're looking for. Stuffed full of healthy seeds, peanuts, and no refined sugar. Bonus points; they're vegan and gluten free too!
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon almond milk (or any milk)
- 1 cup sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons each of: chia seeds, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, flax seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup shelled peanuts, roughly chopped
- 3 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
- 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (Be sure it's vegan if needed)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease a 13x9 inch pan with coconut oil.
- Combine the peanut butter, coconut oil, and syrup in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop over medium high heat. Stir together until the coconut oil is completely melted and the mixture in warm. Add the almond milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well and remove from heat to cool.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients (seeds, nuts, and oats) in a large mixing bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl and stir with a large spoon or spatula. Mix until well coated then press the mixture into your prepared pan and use something flat to pack it down, such as the bottom of a cup.
- Bake the bars for 22 to 25 mintutes or until the edges are very golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely. Once cooled cut them into bars and melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat. Dip, brush, or drizzle the bars with chocolate as desired and allow the chocolate to set an harden.
- Now they're ready for munching! Store in an airtight container.
- (P.S. This recipe can also be crumbled into clusters and eaten on a bowl with milk or yogurt and fruit.)