No Bake Granola Bars {Recipe}

no bake granola bar up close image

Now that I’ve been using the Fooducate app for about a month now, I’ve learned a great deal about what I am putting in my body. I’m working on eating less processed foods, more veggies, and cutting down on desserts. I keep telling myself that a dessert is a treat, not something you should eat after dinner every single night (that just makes it a routine sugar binge).

Going on Pinterest was hard at first. There are always photos of cupcakes, pasta dishes, cookies, and other unhealthy recipes plastered over Pinterest, but I’m guilty of repinning those too. They look so damn good! However, I’m getting better at looking for snack ideas and low-carb recipes. I found a couple of granola bar recipes and even some no-bake ones.

I’ve always been a fan of the Nature Valley (C) and Quaker granola bars, but after looking them up on Fooducate, I learned the Quaker bars score between C – D grades and Nature Valley bars were given C’s. With the store-bought bars earning unimpressive grades, I figured I would give it a try to make my own bars. While the ones I made are not A-grade worthy, they are less processed, homemade, and the recipe can be adjusted to what you have on hand.

no bake granola bars homemade ingredients

Recipe adapted from Parade.

 

NO BAKE GRANOLA BARS

Ingredients

  • 2 cup quick-cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cashews (or peanuts)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Spray an 8×8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats and nuts. If you want to throw in chopped up pieces of dried apricots or prunes for a little more fiber, now is the time.
  3. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together corn syrup and brown sugar until the mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, canola oil, and vanilla until it looks well-mixed and thick.
  4. Pour the mixture over the dry oats and nut mix and stir until combined. Now add the chocolate chips and mix together. If you mix the chocolate chips in any earlier, they will all melt. Lesson learned.
  5. Spoon the mixture into your greased pan and press down batter so that it spreads evenly. Let it cool. Once cool, cut into 10-12 bars. (According to Parade recipe, bars may be frozen, wrapped well, for up to three months)

 

TIP: These bars are especially yummy the next day with a cup of coffee.
no bake granola bars homemade

 

Meringue Kisses

When I was younger, my dad would take me to Mazzetti’s Bakery in Pacifica before church on Sundays (on non-Mazzetti Sundays, we’d go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and pick up Egg McMuffins with extra hash browns). Mazzetti’s makes fresh pastries on location and made these amazing meringue kisses that I craved. Light, airy and fluffy perfection. My favorite? The white kisses with the multi-colored sprinkles on top.

I have attempted several times over the years to recreate Mazzetti’s meringues with no such luck. They never look or taste quite the same. Thank goodness Pinterest came along because the variations are endless (though the ingredients are basically identical) and I might one day be able to recreate a version close to my old favorite. Maybe I should invest in a piping device so I can get the shape just right.

Meringue kisses different colors

Recipe via McCormick

 

Another Green Smoothie {Recipe}

I’m back on another health kick and started exploring my options in the kitchen. I threw this together and it was actually pretty tasty.

green smoothie with strawberries pineapple greek yogurt green smoothie with Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass Powder

Ingredients:

– 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass

– 5 frozen organic strawberries

– 5 frozen pineapple pieces

– 6 oz. non-fat Greek yogurt (I got mine from Fresh & Easy)

– 1 cup orange juice

 

Directions:

Blend. Drink. Let glass soak in the sink in warm water — the wheat grass residue sticks.

green smoothie with Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass Powder

Thoughts:

If you haven’t tried wheat grass before or don’t like your smoothies powdery, I’d suggest putting less wheat grass in, at least until you get used to it.

Make Your Own Pesto {Recipe}

Using a lemon and basil from my garden along with a couple other inexpensive ingredients, I made fresh pesto! The recipe is extremely easy. Put all of the ingredients (except the lemon) into a food processor (or blender if you don’t have one) and squeeze the lemon until you’ve juiced it enough. Add any salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

easy pesto recipe with fresh ingredients