My Inspiration . . .

I've always had a love for baking, but it wasn't until I was in college that I had a desire to learn how to cook. In 2009, I decided to start my own cooking blog so I could access my recipes from anywhere, and was born.

I love trying new recipes and finding ways to make them healthier & happier on the hips! I love everything about food: the taste, the smells, the presentation, the experimenting, etc. I love to entertain, so I figured this was a great way to bring people together. Hope you enjoy trying out some of the recipes. Happy cooking!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Homemade Granola Bars

{ Prep Time: 15 mins / Difficulty: Relatively Easy / Yields: 20 granola bars }

2 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds, slivered or chopped in food processor
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or apricots, dates, cherries; or your favorite dried fruit)

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x9" pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Spread oats, seeds, almonds, wheat germ, and flax seeds in a thin layer onto a half sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut flakes to mixture and bake another 5 minutes. Just be careful not to burn the coconut!
3. In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, honey, sugar, butter and vanilla over low heat. Cook until brown sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes; stirring frequently.
4. Remove oats from oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Pour oat mixture into a large bowl, then add liquid mix. Stir until mixture is completely coated. Add your fruits; and lastly, the chocolate chips. (If you add them earlier, they will all melt.)
5. Pour granola into prepared dish. With spatula, firmly press granola into pan, until it is evenly spread out. Bake for 25 minutes.
6. Remove pan from oven, and allow bars to cool completely before cutting into 2" squares; about 30 minutes. (Bars can be stored in airtight container for up to one week.)

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