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.

The Challenge Update

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I’m a former public school teacher turned homemaker, so I’m good at evaluating and assigning grades. For this challenge, however, I’ve had a hard time evaluating myself. So, I pulled out the calculator: 78%. I earned a C. Not terrible, not great. I was hoping for an A.

Let me focus on the positives.

My Victories:

  • I only went out to eat once for lunch.
  • I spent more intentional time with SG.
  • I kept the house tidy.
  • I spent more time in prayer and reading the bible, although not every single day.
  • I greeted the Huzz with a kiss every afternoon.
  • I was motivated to tidy up (fold clothes, do dishes, etc, during naptime) so I could blog and have time on Facebook.
  • I cooked dinner every night except date night.

My Struggles:

  • I went to the grocery store 3 or 4 times last week…that’s AFTER I made what I thought was a thorough list for my “first and only trip.” Ha!
  • Connect with the Huzz after SG’s bedtime.

I’m glad I challenged myself. I’ve learned a few things. Everyone’s life is different. Just because I read something on someone’s blog doesn’t mean it’s right for me. (As much as I loved that post!!!) I felt like a withering flower, trying to stay home all week. And by the way, something popped up every day. Seriously… we left home Monday-Friday.

I did have some wonderful and precious moments because of this challenge. Little things I caught myself agreeing to do because of those two index cards challenging me on my fridge.

A simple little moment: SG spread out two couch pillows on the floor and asked me to sit on one while she sat on the other. “Let’s sit on the pillows together and drink our smoothies!” Before the challenge, I would probably have said no (too much housework to do at that moment or I need to do ___ first.) Instead, I said yes, sat, and savored the moment, complete with my two year old beaming because I focused all of my attention on her.

The Huzz came home from work and I forgot to give him a kiss: “Where’s my kiss?” he asked.

The Huzz and I zoned out after bedtime several nights in a row before I said, “Hey, we’re supposed to be connecting!” We decided to sit down and have coffee together after SG goes to bed and just chat. We haven’t done it every night, but it has been wonderful! I enjoy having his undivided attention.

Good things. Positive things.

The Huzz and I discussed my week in review. In general, I keep the house clean, I’ve been cooking more, SG is happy, loved, and well rounded, I keep to my weekly eating out budget, and I love my husband. We both agreed that our life is very blessed. Yes, I can make small changes. Can’t we all? There’s always room for improvement. But, I need to be who God created me to be. After all, I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). And I will rest in that truth.

I will end by saying I’m glad I did this. I learned some things about myself and was encouraged by the Huzz encouraging me to be who I am. I LOVE that man!!!

Until next time, my friend.