Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond & Raisin Granola Bars: Dairy & Egg Free

Pure Deliciousness!

Pure Deliciousness!

I am slowly morphing into a woman who I don’t recognize. I never thought I’d be such a homemade person.

Ya know what? It’s pretty awesome! I am loving all of the new recipes and things I’m finding that can be homemade (mostly thanks to you Pinterest!).

It’s amazing what one can make from scratch: spice mixes, cakes, muffins, pancakes, pizzas, bread, “uncrustables”, dinner rolls, cook dried beans, dry shampoo, deodorant, gifts– and so much more. I’m not even “scratching” the surface here. 🙂

Some of that might make you scratch your head and wonder what’s the big deal? But when the Huzz and I got married, I did not cook. At all. Unless you call heating up those frozen bags of food for dinner or dumping a jar of spaghetti sauce over frozen ravioli cooking. And cakes and cookies? I let Publix do the baking for me!

So for this little lady… well, let’s just say, I’ve come a long way baby!

Last week I made these homemade granola bars. They were very good. My bars didn’t look like the bars in the photos. My bars looked much drier and not quite right. Still, they tasted great and inspired me to try them again with a little more tweaking.  (AKA more melted chocolate!)

I also made these AMAZING peanut butter bars. Man oh man! We were all “Mmmmmm-mmm-mm” and “Oh these are so GOOD!” while we ate them. (If you have a peanut allergy, try subbing your favorite peanut butter sub.) I will make these again! They do have a lot of powdered sugar, so this isn’t an every day treat. Still, this recipe also inspired me.

Last night, SG wanted a treat and we were all out of treats. I decided to try my hand at kind of recreating both of these recipes together. I didn’t even look at the recipes. I just threw in a little of this and a little of that. I didn’t write the recipe down either as I made it. This is my best guesstimate, as I only measured the oats.  I did write it down shortly after making the bars, so I think these measurements will work well.  The next time I make these, I’m using these measurements.

Chocolate Peanut Butter, Almond & Raisin Granola Bars:

Ingredients:

For the granola bar:

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips (for the granola mixture)
  • Handful of chopped almonds (omit for tree nut allergy)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of raisins
  • Honey

For the chocolate topping:

  • Approximately 1/3-1/2 cup of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • Approximately 1/4 cup peanut butter (or your favorite peanut butter substitute)

Directions:

  1. Use Earth Balance vegan butter to grease a medium sized pan. I have a brownie pan. It’s bigger than an 9×9 but smaller than a 9×12. I think any of those pans will work- it will just affect the thickness of your granola bar.
  2. Put oats, almonds & raisins in a medium sized bowl. Give it a quick stir.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips for the granola bar in a microwave in 15 second intervals. Check it each time so you don’t melt it so much the chocolate hardens- I think it’s called seizing.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate over the oats mixture. Stir well. (I started with 1/2 cup of melted chocolate and it wasn’t enough to coat the oats mixture so I quickly melted more chocolate. Use enough melted chocolate so that the granola mixture is just coated nicely.)
  5. Add the honey to taste to the granola mixture.  Mix well.   Honestly, I squeezed some in, mixed the granola mixture, tasted it, and then squeezed in more.
  6. Put the granola bar mixture in your greased pan. Use a potato masher to mash the granola bar down. The original recipe said this part was important because without the mashing, the granola bar would fall apart. Mash! 😉
  7. Add the chocolate topping ingredients to a small microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave in 15 second increments, until all is melted.  Stir until well blended.
  8. Pour the melted peanut butter and chocolate over the granola mixture. I poured it in little rows. Try to distribute it evenly.
  9. Take a spatula and smooth out the chocolate topping- going all the way to the edges.
  10. Pop in the freezer for an hour and then enjoy. Store it in the fridge. I have no idea how long this lasts because we’ve eaten almost all of it in less than two days.

Note: The next time I make these, I’m going to add some Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax cereal to the chocolate and peanut butter mixture once it’s melted, but before I pour it on the granola bars. I think it will give it a nice crunch.

The family’s take? They loved it! The chocolate and peanut butter topping elevate the granola bar to tasting a bit more like a treat- while the oats, peanut butter, almonds and raisins make me feel good about giving this treat to the 2 most precious people in my life.

Cheers to learning how to make everything from scratch, Allergy Mamas! (And Papas)

We can do it!

Homemade granola bar

Homemade granola bar

Granola bar with four year old bite marks.

Granola bar with four year old bite marks.

Our Favorite Easy & Budget Friendly Meatless Meal

This super easy dinner has quickly become one of our favorite meatless meals. I won’t drag on about a cute little story— let’s get to the “meat” of it. 🙂

The easy dinner is rice, refried beans and roasted broccoli. Simple, homemade and oh so yummy!

Rice, beans & broccoli

Homemade refried beans, prepared in advance and frozen.

Rice made in the rice cooker.

Fresh, roasted garlic broccoli.

EASY!

I make my refried beans in advance and ALWAYS keep some in my fridge. When I use the last bag of frozen beans, I make another batch. It’s seriously the easiest recipe ever. Soak the beans, throw them in the crockpot with just a few spices, an onion and water, cook and blend. Easy peasy. Click here for Ally’s recipe on her blog. (I omit the cayenne.)

For this dinner, I use 2 cups of refried beans.

Homemade frozen refried beans.

Homemade frozen refried beans.

I also use my rice maker to cook our rice. Easy peasy. I love my rice cooker!!!  Click here to see the exact the rice cooker I have.

As soon as I start the rice, I start prepping the broccoli.

I was inspired by this recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen. I made a few small changes- I don’t measure the olive oil. I drizzle some olive oil until the broccoli looks just coated. And I usually use 4 cloves of garlic, rather than 6-8 cloves. I love that I don’t need to measure anything for the roasted broccoli! Just toss stuff in and roast. I also roast at 400 degrees or sometimes even 415 degrees for usually 15 minutes. Easy peasy.

This does not take long to prepare.

This does not take long to prepare.

Broccoli ready for the oven.

Broccoli ready for the oven.

Those dark spots are the best part!  The Huzz says this tastes restaurant worthy!

Those dark spots are the best part! The Huzz says this tastes restaurant worthy!

While the rice is cooking and the broccoli is roasting, I defrost and heat the frozen refried beans.

I serve the beans over the rice with the broccoli on the side.

Not only is this a delicious dish, but it’s very budget friendly.

Dried beans: affordable

Rice: affordable

Broccoli: affordable

Lately, I’ve been buying our broccoli from Aldi’s and it’s such a great deal.  The last pack of broccoli I bought from Aldi was $1.39.  The entire bag of bagged dried pinto beans was about a $1.  I think I maybe paid $1.30 for an entire bag of rice.  I used 2 cups of the cooked beans (I think the recipe for 1 pound of beans yields 6-7 cups of cooked refried beans) and rice.  Maybe 32 cents for the beans and a cup and a half of dried rice (maybe 40 cents tops?).  I’m guesstimating.  Wet finger in the air…  $2.11 for the entire meal!  Super budget friendly!  (I didn’t add the cost of garlic because I always have garlic lying around the pantry.)

Beans and rice.  Rice and beans, baby!  (That’s for all of our Financial Peace University friends!)

I hope you enjoy our favorite budget friendly meatless meal!