Monday, April 20, 2009

THE Granola Bar recipe you have been looking for!

I have been on a quest for the perfect granola bar recipe for about a year and tried many. I found this one, and I'm DONE searching! It's perfect! Meredith shared it at Great Ideas Day, too. SO good, your kids won't even know it's not the Quaker chewy kind. Using the regular version of the recipe, I figured it cost me $1.12 to make 12 bars.

Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!) from

There is plenty of room for variation here, so let your mind and tastebuds run wild. I have a few variation ideas to get you started. And yes, you can definitely double this recipe and press into a 13x9-inch pan instead of an 8-inch pan.

1 and 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)don't overdo the flax, it makes them crumbly
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (preferably roasted or toasted)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey, maple syrup, or light molasses)-I use honey, and maybe a tablespoon more than this calls for...
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3 cup nut butter (e.g., peanut, almond, cashew, soynut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.

Bring the syrup and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in nut butter and vanilla until blended.

Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (mixture will be stiff). Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).

Nutrition per serving (1 bar):
Calories 228; Fat 7.4g (poly 2.3g, mono 4.1g, sat 0.9g); Protein 10.8g; Cholesterol 5mg; Carbohydrate 34.3g; Sodium 156mg)
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Replace the dried fruit with an equal amount of semisweet miniature chocolate chips (or carob chips). Combine the cereal mixture with the syrup mixture, then let the combined mixture stand 10 minutes before adding the chips.

Peanut Butter Cookie
Use chopped dates for the dried fruit and dry roasted peanuts for the nuts. Use honey, or half honey-half molasses for the syrup and peanut butter for the nut butter.

Will You Cherry Me?
Use chopped dried tart cherries for the fruit and lightly salted roasted almonds for the nuts. Use any nut butter (almond butter is great, but I know, very expensive, and add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Apple Pie
Use chopped dried apples for the fruit and rice syrup or honey for the syrup. Be sure to add the cinnamon option, and use toasted walnuts or pecans for the nuts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chicken Chow Mein

I can't believe that I have not posted this yet. It is one of my favorites. This is how I discovered that my son loves sugar snap peas. I also like that you use Chinese egg noodles instead of Yakisoba. I got this from my baby food cookbook called, "First Meals." I love the cute presentations of food in there and with my kids, it is how you present it sometimes.

1 large chicken breast (I use about 3 Costco)
1/4 lb fine Chinese egg noodles (found in the asian section, I use the whole bag)
1 Tbsp veg. oil
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 1/3 cups shiitake mushrooms
1 1/4 cups sugar snap peas
1/2 small red pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup baby sweet corn, cut into quarters
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 cup zucchini
1 cup bean sprouts (I don't use these)

2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sake (I just use more soy sauce)
1 Tbsp soft brown sugar
(If using more chicken, double the marinade)

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the chicken for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve the marinade. Cook the noodles in boiling, lightly salted water according to the instructions on the package, then set aside.
Heat the heat vegatable oil in a wok or frying pan and stir-fry the chicken for 5-6 minutes and set aside.
Heat the sesame oil in the wok. Add the garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the shiitake mushrooms, sugar-snap peas , red pepper, and baby corn and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green onions, zucchini, and bean sprouts and continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken and noodles together with the reserved marinade. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until the noodles are completely heated through.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Best Ever Banana Bread

Mix together these ingredients first:
3-4 (I usually use 4) very ripe bananas (think brown and spotty on the counter that no one wants to eat - you can also freeze the entire banana and pull out 4 and set them on the counter until they frost and then turn black - just cut off an end with your kitchen scissors and slide the banana "goo" into the bowl)
1/2 cup healthy oil (I use EVOO but you could use another type of oil, too)
3/4 cup 100% maple syrup (not the Aunt Jemima variety)- (*if you don't have real maple syrup you can add 1 cups of sugar but increase the water to 6 TBSP)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (real is best)
3 TBSP water
Once blended in mixer add the following mixed together dry ingredients:
2 cups flour (I use all-purpose but you could try whole wheat or another variety)
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 t. baking soda
Once blended you can add 1/2 c. nuts (pecans or walnuts) if you like or, as I do, a small handful of chocolate chips.
Spray two normal loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray and bake your 2 loaves at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.