Because I had Monday off, this week has absolutely flown by - short work weeks are the best :)
Lately I've been reading alot of posts about meal planning, food prep and make-ahead lunches. I always have great intentions of planning ahead and buying only the groceries I need for the meals that I plan, but I always stray. I really need to start doing this because I know that I would save SO much money each week rather than heading to the grocery store to pick up random items several times per week. It's shameful really because my fridge and pantry are busting at the seams. We have so much food here, we could probably last a month without ever setting foot in the grocery store if we put our minds to it! Another reason I'd love to do some food prep each weekend for the upcoming week is that I much prefer whole, homemade meals and treats to the store bought alternatives. I like to know where my food is coming from and what it contains.
I found a no-bake granola bar recipe by Lindsay earlier this week and I've been thinking about making it because I think it'd be a great treat to take to work each day. I've tried a couple granola bar recipes in the past, but I haven't found something that I'm absolutely in love with....that is until now! Taste-wise my granola bars turned out to be something fantastic; the only problem is when it comes to being adhesive, I had an epic fail. No matter how long I left them in the fridge to set, the little suckers would not come out of the pan without being crumbly. Luckily, I had some plain Greek yogourt to eat up, so I took one of my crumbly squares, put it onto a plate and topped with some yogourt. Hello Dolly! This was freakin' delicious. The tart yogourt is a perfect compliment to this sweet and nutty square.
I love it when a fail turns into an unexpected success :)
The original granola bar recipe can be found here. Of course, like granola, you can add any add-in imaginable to make a creation that is perfect for tickling your own tastebuds :)
Chewy No-Bake Trail Mix Squares
Makes 18 - 24 squares
These bars turned out to be phenomenal! I love that we now have some homemade bars to snack on that are full of raw nuts, dried fruit and delicious, healthy ingredients. I also love that I was able to use up some things in my pantry that otherwise may have gone to waste. They are so healthy, but when you top them with a dollop of yogourt, they transform into something truly decadent.
2 1/4 c large flake oats
2 tbsp flax seed
1/4 c chia seeds
1/3 c raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c chopped raw almonds
1/3 c large shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c carob chips
1/3 c dried cranberries
1/4 c dried blueberries
2/3 c creamy peanut butter (I used regular, but all-natural would definitely be my preference)
1/3 - 1/2 c pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Add all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine your peanut butter and maple syrup. Microwave for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes until the peanut butter has melted. Mix well. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and mix well.
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Press your granola mixture into the pan. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours.
Remove from the fridge and cut into squares. I like mine served with plain or vanilla Greek yogourt. Your family can eat these all week as a filling and delicious breakfast, dessert or snack! I'm also planning to freeze a few squares so that I have some pre-made treats in the weeks to come.
The dry ingredients.
Mix the wet & dry ingredients together.
Use your hands to tightly press the mixture into your pan.
Carefully cut into squares.
Notice how you can see each and every ingredient?
Voila! Transformed into a decadent dessert.
What is your must-have ingredient in granola? Mine is peanut butter & coconut!
Do you have any superstitions about Friday the 13th?
Enjoy your day,