chocolate granola bars | our current addiction

It’s safe to say that anything with chocolate, I will gladly gobble up. But when it comes to what my kids eat… I’m not so lenient. A few months ago I set out again to make another granola bar. I’ve made so many I’ve lost count. I never kept with one recipe because of one reason or another. Here are the top reasons I don’t like certain granola bars: too hard, too chewy, too crunchy, too healthy-tasting, too much sugar. Well, my dears, I stumbled upon this recipe at Once Upon a Chef. I tweaked it to our likings, and we fell in love. Since then I have literally perfected the art of this particular granola bar and I am so proud to call it my own. I have made approximately 30-35 batches of these granola bars. That is actually not an exaggeration. We are hooked. But before I dive into the recipe, you must listen to the art behind it. (Leave me alone, yes there is an art to these, sshh.) We have also made these using ‘common’ ingredients. And let me tell you… they make a whole ‘nother treat. Not a bad one, just not our favorite, and definitely not the same. We were surprised to taste such a difference in the bar by just using slightly different ingredients. So if you make this recipe with different ingredients than the ones we use, it will technically not be the same granola bar. Trust me. Okay.. here goes. I really don’t think you are ready for this.

Start out by melting about 6 tablespoons of Earth Balance. (Honestly, I haven’t made with dairy butter, but I really think it would be fine here… just obviously not as healthy.) Melt on medium-low heat while adding 1/3 cup of brown sugar, a heaping 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of RAW WILDFLOWER HONEY. Clover honey doesn’t taste as good in these. Especially processed honey. Just don’t even buy that stuff.

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Once fully combined, bring this to a low rolling boil for about 1 minute. It’s important to let it boil up, as this will help the granola bars stick to each other and stay chewy.

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In the meantime in a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of quick oats and 2 1/4 cups of completely plain PUFFED BROWN RICE (Rice krispies do not taste as good here, and will make a completely different chocolate bar).

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Then add in 1/3 cup of ground flax seed.

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Sometimes we like to add in a nice handful of hemp hearts (hemp seeds) for an extra boost of awesome.

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Then the best part… chocolate chips. I can be lenient here, but I’m telling you. The BEST chocolate chips are called Enjoy Life. They are tiny, and only made of the best ingredients, and allergen friendly. Add a heaping 1/3 cup of these into the cereal mix.

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After you’ve boiled the sugar mixture for a minute, immediately pour into the cereal. Start stirring first thing. Keep stirring until the chocolate has been fully melted and distributed. I love using silicone spatulas here. Also I always use my pink spatula when making sweet things because I am convinced it makes everything taste a little bit sweeter. ;)

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Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with some oil, and press down the granola till flat & even.

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Now here’s the hard part. You MUST let it rest uncovered in the fridge for 2 hours. Then you are free to eat to your tummy’s content. Keep covered in fridge, good for a week! (Trust me, it won’t last that long.)

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Please let me know if you make these granola bars, & if you have any questions at all! Sweet eats, dears! xo

Homemade Quinoa Pasta + Creamy Butternut Squash Alfredo

So this was the third time we’ve tested Wesley’s homemade pasta recipe. And let me tell you: IT. IS. MARVELOUS. Here are the variations we have delectably eaten this pasta:

-Hand rolled & cut ravioli filled with pesto

-Pasta machine linguine

-Pasta machine spaghetti

This recipe is surprisingly simple & quick, and stood the test of durability! And if you have never put fresh pasta on your palate, you are definitely missing out. For this recipe you will want your sauce ready to go, because it takes 5 minutes to cook this pasta. So let’s start there!

We used this recipe (slightly adapted) for the sauce and regret nothing.

You will need 2 pounds of butternut squash (please try and find organic!).

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We had to weigh out two to find 2 pounds worth.

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Peel the squash, cut off the ends, and remove the seeds and strings.

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Cube up the squash, and place in a large pot with 1 chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, and olive oil. Saute for about 7 minutes, then add 1 teaspoon of salt.

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Once the onions are soft add in 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower back down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Transfer this mixture (carefully!) to your food processor or blender.

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Blend until super creamy! (If for some reason it were too thick, add in a bit more broth.)

Have I mentioned that May is my favorite month?

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On to the pasta! Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

1 cup of quinoa (ground into flour)

1 cup of oat flour

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons of flax mixed with 6 tablespoons of water)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of xantham gum (most people haven’t heard of this, but it helps gluten free mixtures rise. I can’t remember why we even used this. I’m not entirely sure what the recipe would do without this, but I honestly feel it would be fine without it because pasta has no reason to rise.)

1/4 cup of tapioca flour or cornstarch (organic/non-gmo please!)

Whisk together the dry ingredients, drizzle in the wet. Add in 1/2 cup water increments until it all forms together fairly well. I used about 1 cup of extra water. Remember this is pasta dough, not bread dough so it needs to remain dry and tough.

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This is when you can begin running it through your pasta machine, or roll it out with extra dustings of oat flour. Flatten it out super duper thin and cut strips with a pizza cutter. We actually just used our Omega 8006 masticating juicer that we got on sale; it came with pasta attachments! Before you shape the pasta, have your large pot filled with water and a dash of salt, boiling nearly to the top.

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You’ll want to stir it only a few times and very gently. Cook for only about 5-7 minutes.

Drain and do a quick rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

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Transfer pasta back into the large pot, and pour over the sauce. Combine!

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I love my Dove, and I am so thankful for him. He inspires me and pushes me and challenges me. I didn’t want to attempt this recipe in the beginning, but I’m glad I listened to his idea and let him be creative in the kitchen. He makes me swoon.

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We served this dish with sea-salted steamed broccoli.

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The girls were asking for seconds before Wesley and I had 3 bites.

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Give it a go, friends!

xo,

L&W