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

 

My Top 5 Favorite Instagrammers

 1. bunnymama

Oh my! Talk about cuteness overload. This Instagram account follows the lives of two bunnies, Eddy & Rambo Bunny. I’m a sucker for bunnies.

bunny mama instagram

 

2. purposeofenvy

These pictures capture such beauty in the world around us. I wish my photos looked like these.

purpose of envy instagram

 

3. timlampe

Another collection of awesome pictures that make you wish you could travel across the states.

timlampe instagram

 

4. happyhourworkout

If I ever need motivation to get off my butt, I turn to happyhourworkout. One day, I hope I’m flexible (and skinny) enough to show off some of my yoga moves on insti.

happyhourworkout instagram

 

 

5. nerdx

A stunning look at San Francisco through the eyes of someone who knows how to capture beauty in all forms.

nerdx instagram

 

Who are your favorite users on Instagram?

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

 

I Prefer My Oreo Cookies Deep Fried!

Nom nom nom nom. Deep fried Oreo cookies are so easy to make and are one of my favorite desserts. I want these bad boys served at my wedding one day. I prefer my Oreos covered with powdered sugar and served with a scoop of ice cream, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Those delicious fried goodies covered in chocolate syrup below were from Rockabillies OM Express in Portland, Oregon. Yum!

deep fried oreos in portland oregon

New Hobby? Refinishing Old Furniture: Take 1.

It all started when Matt and I helped his grandparents move furniture into the garage to make room for new carpets. As we hauled bookshelves and side tables, Matt’s mom asked if I could help bring a dresser outside to make room in the garage for items from the living. This dresser was older. It had Crayon marks, scratches and dings, though I loved the look of it. It had that Mad Men-esc, 60s feel, perhaps a mid-century tallboy dresser.

We put the dresser on Craigslist hoping to make a little money. This piece of furniture obviously needed a little love, but you could buy a very similar dresser like any of these 1 / 2 / 3 for a good chunk of change. This was a good deal.

BEFORE

After several email inquiries, I told Matt I really didn’t want to part with it so we decided we would try refinishing it ourselves. We could always use a couple more drawers to store things in (like my clothes).

Challenge accepted.

original piece of furniture dresser to be refinished

See the pictures below throughout the process. I’m quite impressed. Matt’s dad already found on shoppok.com a side table, chairs, and a China cabinet to refinish. That’ll be for another weekend. Remeber, before you start, make sure the furniture is clean with specialist products like those found here https://www.bissell.com/vacuums/handheld-vacuums.

SANDING

sanding down furniture

STAINING

We learned that staining furniture with paint brushes was the hard way. Easy way: sponges. The paint brushes left streaks that kept showing up after each stroke. There’s supposed to be special paint sponges that we’ll try next time.

paint brushes for staining

staining process

AFTER

And here’s a look at the final product. Not too shabby for our first time. Looking forward to our next projects.

Dresser refinished

Treasure Island Flea Market

Last weekend, we went to the Treasure Island Flea Market and found some really cool finds. Matt bought a painting of New York city (which we didn’t realize it wasn’t San Francisco until we got home). Oh well — it’s still a really sweet painting.

I bought two rings. The rose gold-looking one is my favorite. It’s absolutely gorgeous and it was only $7. Such a steal. I also scored a pair of Lucky Brand booties for $30. I’ve been on the lookout for laceup booties and shoes like these, but haven’t been successful finding anything under $60.

Our friend purchased some vintage maps and drawings that date back hundreds of years ago. There really is something for everyone at the flea market. Looking for something in particular? You just might find it. Or not. But you probably won’t leave empty handed.

We stopped at the Zaarly booth to spin their wheel to try and win movie passes. We didn’t get any passes but Matt won two tickets to next month’s flea market. Guess that means we’ll be going back the end of June. Hopefully the weather is as nice as it was this time. Clear skies, sunshine and warm weather made it a perfect for shopping the outdoor flea market.

San Francisco flea market collage

vintage radio clocks

Robin and Matt at the San Francisco flea market may

flea market find Lucky Brand booties

flea market find rings

What will we find next time at the flea market?