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.

15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 1

Homemade Dairy & Egg Free Bread for the Steak Sandwiches

Homemade Dairy & Egg Free Bread for the Steak Sandwiches

I have to admit… I’ve fallen off of the menu planning wagon. I was tired and lazy for a few days. I completely relied on my “Flex Meals” to get us through. I’m back at it, though. I’ve realized I need *truly* easy recipes for me to stay on track. I love easy throw in the crockpot recipes. I also love it when the Huzz grills. I don’t mind a little work, but honestly, the easier, the better.

I also changed the format. I think having it numbered is a little more user friendly. Also, to differentiate the menus, starting now I’m just going to label them Part 1, Part 2, etc. Unless you can think of a better name??? I’m kind of stumped for cutesy names right now. What do you think? The 16 Day Menus will start their own Part 1, Part 2, etc. Got it?

Okay, let’s get to it. There are some repeats. There are also a few new recipes thrown in for the sake of variety. We also absolutely LOVE BBQ chicken pizza, so you will see that in probably almost every menu.

1. BBQ Chicken Pizza (Use 1/2 of this homemade pizza dough recipe and use breadmaker. Use Daiya mozzarella cheese shreds.)

2. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Rice & Black Beans

3. Mojo Pork Quesadillas (Use leftover mojo pork.)

4. Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Rice, and Asparagus

5. Flex Meal

6. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, OreIda Crispers, & Sautéed Yellow Squash

7. Steak Sandwiches (season steak lightly with olive oil, adobo, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt & pepper.) Make homemade bread. Steam in a bag Broccoli Florets.

8. Rotisserie-Style Chicken. Grilled Red Potatoes, Zucchini, & Asparagus.

9. Chicken Stir Fry (Use leftover chicken from day 8. Use any leftover grilled veggies or veggies from week. Add fresh veggies if needed.)

10. Grilled Lemon-Rosemary Pork Chops (Lemon-Rosemary Marinade: olive oil, a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, a small palmful of dried rosemary & a small palmful of dried/fresh lemon peel, 1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic, & less than a small palmful of sea salt. There are really no measurements. Eyeball it.) 🙂 Baked Sweet Potatoes & Steamed Cauliflower

11. Arroz con Pollo y Habichuelas (Chicken & Rice & Beans, Puerto Rican Style) I will share a recipe if I can perfect it. My rice isn’t quite right yet but the flavor is spot on!

12. Arroz con Pollo Leftovers

13. BBQ Chicken Pizza (see number 1 for links)

14. Pizza Leftovers

15. Grilled T-Bone Steaks & Grilled Zucchini, Onions, Peppers & Red Potatoes

I’ve been revisiting an older series from Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about Proverbs 31. I’m listening to it now as I type up this menu plan. Nancy said this and I had to share it, as it’s so timely and so true:

“As we look at these verses and continue through this passage, I want you to see that in everyday, practical ways, the excellent wife—the virtuous wife, the excellent mother—is giving her family a picture of Christ and of spiritual realities. You say, “Food preparation is showing my family something about Christ and about spiritual realities?” You bet it is.

You’re living out parables. You’re demonstrating parables of spiritual life to your children as you work with your hands, as you serve in your home. When you prepare food for your family, you’re demonstrating to them that God is a faithful provider. When you’re being quality conscious in the things that you purchase, you’re showing your children the excellence of the character of God.”

I love this reminder!

Homemade Mojo Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients for homemade Mojo

Ingredients for homemade Mojo

My mommy (yes, I still call her mommy and I’m 35 years old!) makes the best pernil in the world! Pernil is a pork shoulder picnic roast that is marinaded in mojo (say mo-ho with a spanish accent) and cooked at a low temperature in the oven for several hours. The meat is scrumptious and just falls apart!

I have not personally mastered the art of making pernil. I haven’t even tried. I do have a growing stash of pork tenderloins that I’ve scored great deals on and they are taking up space in my little freezer. It’s not quite the same as a giant roast, but nevertheless, my mommy suggested I marinate a pork tenderloin with mojo and throw it in the slow cooker.

So I did.

Only I didn’t use the bottled mojo like my mom does.

I’m the crazy homemade lady so I decided to make my own. It was time consuming but worth it.

Here’s the link to the mojo recipe I used.

http://www.food.com/recipe/traditional-cuban-recipe-cuban-mojo-cuban-marinade-148976

Here are the changes I made:
I didn’t use peppercorns. The bottle at the store was almost $4 and quite honestly, I never use peppercorns. Shhh… I don’t like the grind your own pepper thingamajiggies. I know, I know… I said above I’m crazy. 🙂 But in a good way. Anyway, I subbed ground black pepper for the peppercorns. And I did make the soured orange juice with the addition of two freshly squeezed lemons.

The mojo recipe yielded three cups of mojo. I did not need that much. I used one cup and froze the other two cups.

Here’s how I made our Mojo Pork Tenderloin:

Ingredients:
1 cup of homemade Mojo (see above link)
1 Pork Tenderloin
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

Directions:
1. Put the tenderloin in the crockpot. My tenderloin was mostly defrosted but not completely. Sprinkle the top of the tenderloin with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pour 1/2 cup of the mojo on the tenderloin.
2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. My crockpot has pre-determined times as my only options so I cooked it for 6 hours on high. If you have the time, low is better. Halfway through the cooking time, turn the tenderloin over and pour another 1/2 cup of the mojo on the pork.
3. When the tenderloin is ready, shred the pork in a bowl with two forks.
4. Either mix the shredded pork back into the crockpot with the drippings and cooked marinade or make a gravy with the drippings from the crockpot.
5. To make gravy: Scoop out the drippings from the crockpot and put in a medium sized pan. In another bowl, add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of cold water. Mix well. Add the cornstarch water to the drippings. Heat on medium low and mix well until the mixture resembles gravy. You may have to add water to thin out the gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, serve the gravy over the pork.

There you have it… my not quite pernil but a little taste of home mojo pork tenderloin.

***Updated Notes***
Since originally posting this recipe, I have made a few changes. I added one cube of my homemade sofrito. (Click here for the recipe.) I also turned the pork tenderloin several times throughout the day and basted it with the liquids with each turn. I then shredded the tenderloin in the slow cooker and let the pork soak up all of the juices and flavor. Oh my! It was even better this way!!!

Yes, the recipe uses 3 HEADS of garlic!!

Yes, the recipe uses 3 HEADS of garlic!!

 

Making Mojo

Making Mojo

 

Pork Tenderloin in the Crockpot

Pork Tenderloin in the Crockpot

This marinade would be equally delicious with pork chops. Marinate and then grill…Mmmmm… I must make that next!

Happy Mojo-ing!!! 🙂