Thursday, January 6, 2011

Healthy Living and Granola!


Granola


Chewy Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Granola Bars


We love granola! We love to eat granola plain and also with milk (like cereal). We also love to eat granola as a granola bar. The two granola bars above look very similar, but have a very different taste. It is great to make up a big batch of these and use them for breakfast and snacks through the week. From what I have read, oats may be tough on the digestive systems of some people. So, it may be trial and error for you and your little ones. After eating a granola bar or two, how does your stomach feel. Crampy? Then , you may want to back off and only use this as an "every now and then" snack. So far, no complaining around here and I love to have these on hand for those moments you just want a little something to get you through until the next meal and this is a great healthy alternative.

Keith is a big Reese's peanut butter cup fan and the peanut butter granola bar has worked beautifully as an alternative. I keep them in the fridge and he will grab one as a snack before bed.  We do have one child, Stephen, who is allergic to peanuts. I have used almond butter or sunbutter as a substitute for the peanut butter for him.

The ingredients in all three of these include coconut oil and raw honey. I love these ingredients because they are so good for you. There is only a low heat used on these (only in the bar recipes) to get them in liquid form, so the nutrients are pretty much still in their very raw form when you eat the bar. Coconut oil may sound weird to you, but it really doesn't affect the flavor too much. A good friend of mine who detests coconut tried one and could taste a hint of coconut, but said she really liked them. She went home to make some that night.  I hope to post about the health benefits of coconut oil another time. You could use butter or half butter and half coconut oil. Also, honey is a wonderful substitute for white sugar and I use it in the most raw and pure state that I can find it. It would be best to use local honey. I love to use ingredients that I read about in the Bible. Honey is one of those. The almonds, walnuts, and flax seed are also very nutritious. And you know you could leave off the chocolate, but somehow it just wouldn't be as appetizing??? Use a good quality dark chocolate and you put yourself right back in the healthy category. I hope you will try them out for your family and let me know what you think.

Also, I am not an "original" creator of anything that I cook. Mostly a copycat. I usually end up tweaking most of what we try so that it will be something most of us like. Which may make it my own. Sort of. These recipes apply.

I won't list everything as organic, but we do try to use as many organic ingredients as possible.

Granola

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of  sea salt
4 cups rolled oats (I like to use quick oats)
1/2 cup or so of finely chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc..
Chocolate chips (mini works best), raisins, cranberries, coconut flakes,etc..

Melt butter and honey. Add vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Add nuts. Pour over oats. Bake at 375 degree for 10 minutes. Give it a good stir and cook for another 10 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes and this is when I add the chocolate chips so it doesn't become one gooey chocolate mess. Give a very gentle stir and let cool completely or put it back into the oven (make sure it has been turned off).  Let the granola sit in the oven for 15 minutes or so to ensure a good crunchiness.

I bake mine in a stainless steel shallow rectangular pan. I will continually go back and gently lift the granola off the pan while it is cooling to make sure it doesn't stick. Just something I have learned over the years of making this great stuff.

Store in an airtight container.

Chewy Granola Bars

4 cups oats
1 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal (unsweetened)
1 cup crushed nuts
1/2 cup of raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, etc...
1 cup of sucanat
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate topping:
1/2 cup semi-sweet choc. chips
1 tsp. coconut oil

Spread oats on baking sheet and toast in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Pour oats, nuts, cereal into a big bowl. Add the melted oil, honey, sucanat, and vanilla. Pour onto parchment paper lined sheet ( I use the same one that I roasted the oats in). Press mixture down firmly and after melting the chocolate and coconut oil on stove top, gently spread it on top. Refrigerate until solid and cut into squares. You can wrap these in saran wrap and store in airtight container in the pantry or refrigerator.


Peanut Butter Granola Bars

2/3 cup honey
1/2 coconut oil
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups oats
1 cup dried fruit, mini choc. chips, sesame seeds, coconut flakes, etc...

In medium saucepan melt the coconut oil on very low heat. Take off burner and add the honey and peanut butter. Mix well. Add oats and mix well. You can proceed to add fruit, seeds, or coconut, but I would wait until it was completely room temperature before adding chocolate chips to keep them from melting.

Pour the mixture into a parchment paper lined dish. Press it down firmly. Refrigerate until solid and cut into squares.

I melt about 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on stove top and spread it gently over the top instead of adding mini chocolate chips to the mixture. It gives it sort of a "candy bar" look and taste that we all like.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I lost a granola recipe I had years ago. I'm going to try the first recipe soon. It sounds yummy!

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  2. I have tried both the peanut butter granola bars and the granola and have enjoyed them! Thanks for passing along the recipes and please keep them coming.

    Tamara

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  3. Thanks for sharing it........
    It is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, beneficial fatty acids, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids.
    Raw Honey

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  4. I LOVE these recipes!!!! Thank you so very much for sharing! I love coconut oil too and cook with gluten-free oats. Such a blessing to read your blog, see your beautiful family, and, yes, now enjoy some of your delicious recipes! God bless you!

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  5. Just made the peanut butter granola bars and can't stop eating them. I do not like coconut, but I can't taste it in these. YUMMY!

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