granola bars

My husband plays in a weekly tennis league and each week the men take turns bringing snacks for their after-play hang out time.  This past week was my husband’s turn and I made these granola bars for him to bring along.  I thought they would be the perfect healthy snack for replenishing some of their energy!  I sent almost the entire batch (not the whole batch because of course we couldn’t resist eating some ourselves)  and he came back with none!

I’ve tried making several versions of homemade granola bars and these are my all-time favorite.  If stored at room temperature, they are chewy with just a bit of crunch.  If stored in the fridge, they become completely crunchy.  I like to use my 12 x 17 baking sheet to make these because I find this makes it easier to press down on the mixture at the end.  This makes quite a lot, so you can also halve the recipe and use an 8 x 12 baking dish instead as long as you be sure to press down evenly by the sides of the pan.  Pressing down the mixture is an important step for keeping the granola bars together when slicing them.

granola bars

Granola Bars
Serves: makes 24-32 bars
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 12x17 inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the oats, sliced almonds, coconut, wheat germ, raisins, and cranberries together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt the butter, honey, sugar, and salt together over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook for about one minute. Turn the heat off and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir together until fully incorporated. Transfer mixture to the baking pan and press mixture down tightly with the back of a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until granola is golden. Cool for about 2 hours and slice into bars.

 

9 comments

chicken pot pie soup

This soup has all of the goodness you would expect from a chicken pot pie filling.  It’s creamy with chunks of tender meat, and is full of vegetables.  It’s so delicious I don’t even miss the crust.  Seriously! It’s perfect for days when you want a slightly lighter, but still satisfying meal.  Easy to make ahead and keep warm on the stove.  Add a loaf of crusty bread and you have perfect comfort food!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breast halves (about 20 ounces total)
  • 2 yellow onions, 1 thinly sliced and 1 chopped
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 carrots, small diced
  • 2 celery stalks, small diced
  • 6 white mushrooms, diced
  • 2 unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, diced
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup thawed frozen peas
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine the chicken broth with 2 cups of water in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, sliced onion, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer the chicken over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink, about 30-40 minutes. Take the chicken pieces out and set aside. Strain and reserve the remaining broth.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot over medium heat, and saute the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Continue to cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Add 4 cups of the reserved broth. (Save remaining broth for another use.) Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After the chicken has cooled, shred the meat into bite size pieces using two forks. Set meat aside to add at the end.
  4. With the 5 remaining tablespoons of butter, add the flour and mash with a fork to make a thick paste. Whisk in 2 cups of the cooking broth to make a thinner paste. Whisk this mixture into the large pot and continue to whisk until smooth. Add the cream and milk and stir constantly until thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and peas and continue to heat another 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes

 

2 comments

whole wheat blueberry banana muffins

One of my favorite childhood summer vacations was spending a week in beautiful Martha’s Vineyard.  I have fond memories of relaxed walks by the ocean, window shopping on the quaint streets, and of course, eating at lots of great restaurants.  One of the most well known restaurants on the island is The Black Dog and these muffins are adapted from one of the recipes found in their cookbook.  While I never ate these muffins at their bakery,  making these muffins from their cookbook reminds me of those lazy summer days.

These muffins are completely whole-grain, lightly sweetened with honey, and dairy-free.  I prefer my muffins not to be overly sweet, so if you prefer things on the sweeter side, increase the amount of honey by about 1/4 cup.  For an extra-special treat, substitute chocolate chips for the blueberries.  YUM!  These store well in the freezer and it’s so convenient to be able to pull them out and pack for lunches!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Banana Muffins
Serves: makes 20-22 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • 6 ripe medium bananas
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line muffins cups.
  2. With a stand mixer, mash the bananas until smooth. Add the honey, canola oil, flaxseed, and vanilla. Mix together on medium speed until all ingredients are combined thoroughly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until ingredients are just incorporated. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
  5. Divide muffin batter among muffin cups and fill each about ¾ full.
  6. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

1 comment