Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Granola 2 Ways

We had another weekend at home.  I finally started Isabella's baby album (she is going on 2 1/2 years).  It was fun pulling out all my scrapbooking tools, stickers and papers.  Getting creative while I looked back at pictures of our "baby," remembering when she used to sleep and was sweet all the time.  :)  Her book is going to be 1/2 the size of her sibling's because she is #3 and we have about 1/3 less pictures of her then her brother and 2/3 less then her sister.  I guess it's the usual, right?  Well, that's what I'm going to tell myself so I don't feel so bad.  You parents with more then 3... God Bless You!  Regardless, it's been fun pulling out each kids memory box and looking at their baby albums.  Oh, to have them itty bitty again, without talking back and whining.  Although, then I'd miss the talks we have and their little personalities.  It seems I'm never happy, huh?  These 3 little people have been the most amazing and challenging thing I've ever done, even more then marriage!  Can I get an "Amen!"
To start off our weekend I made Granola and Granola Bars.  Both are super easy (don't be scared off by the ingredient lists), better then store bought and delicious!
We'll start with the Granola Bars.  This is a recipe I found on Pinterest from RecipeNewz.com, but the original recipe is from Insidebrucrewlife.com.  I have tried all different versions for my kids and that's what is so great about this recipe.  You can make them as healthy or not as you want.  All 3 of my kids gobble these up so fast that I now always make a double batch, making 2 different variations at once.  Here's the recipe:
 Granola Bars
1. In a small sauce pan mix together:
    1/3 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup honey
2. Cook over medium heat until melted and begins to bubble.
3. Reduce heat and cook 2 minutes
4. While that is cooking, in a separate large bowl mix:
    2 cup quick oats (I've done this with Old Fashions oats also, or 1/2 of each.)
    1 cup rice crispies
5. Once sauce is done, turn off heat and stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla
6. Pour sauce over oatmeal mixture and mix completely, let cool a few minutes before adding mix-ins
7. Stir in up to 2 cups of mix-ins:
    Chopped nuts of any kind
    Chocolate chips (mini or regular)
    Mini marshmallow bits
    Mini M&M's
    Peanut butter chips or any other flavor of "chips"
    Raisins (I add in about 1/2 tsp cinnamon with them)
    Other dried fruit
8.  Press into a jelly roll pan (I use a 9x13 baking dish because I like ours a little bit thicker), lined with foil and light greased with cooking spray.  Press tightly with wax paper so they will stick together.
9. Let cool and sit for a couple hours before removing from pan and cutting into bars.
10. Store in an air tight container or in individual bags for snacks. *These freeze well too.
These are cinnamon raisin and
chocolate peanut butter chip

This Granola recipe is so yummy!  It is Eric's Mom's recipe.  He grew up eating it and I got the recipe from her a few years ago.  I make it probably every couple months or so.  Everyone that eats it falls in love with it and I have passed this recipe around alot.  It makes a great gift in a jar with a ribbon too!  I'll give you the original recipe, but for us I make a double recipe of the sauce because we like to have larger "chunks."  I'll put the doubled amounts in parentheses.  We usually eat it as a cold cereal, but it is also good just to snack on or with yogurt and fruit.  Here ya go!
1. In sauce pan mix together:
    3/4 (1 1/2) cup(s) honey
    1/2 (1) cup peanut butter
    1/4 (1/2) cup oil (vegetable, canola, etc...)
    1/3 (2/3) cup water
    1/2 (1) tsp cinnamon
2.  Heat over medium heat until all is melted and mixed together
It will look similar to this when ready
3. While sauce is heating in a separate large bowl mix together:
    8 cups rolled oats
    1 cup coconut
    1 cup sesame seeds
    1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans, but whatever you like)
    1 cup raw wheat germ or bran
    1/2 cup sunflower seeds
I shop in bulk food sections for this.  I save all
kinds of jars and bottles for my dry goods.
4. Add sauce to oatmeal mixture and mix well until completely combined.
5. Line 2 sheet pans (jelly roll pan, whichever you call it) with foil (you will thank me later when clean up is super easy!).
6. Divide oatmeal mixture between the 2 pans and lightly smooth
My pans ready for the oven.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking time, until golden and edges are beginning to brown.  Let cool.
8. Once cool you can add raisins or dried fruit if you desire
9. Break apart into an air tight storage container or plastic bags
10. Enjoy!

I hope you all have fun making your own homemade Granola creations!  Have fun with it and let me know your favorite versions. 


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