Cranberry Almond {No Bake!} Granola Bars!

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So I was cruising through Pinterest the other day and I kept seeing different recipes for chewy granola bars. I thought “hey awesome I can make granola bars with pronounceable ingredients!” It’s amazing (and I don’t mean in a good way) what nonsensical things are in prepackaged food! Ok ok, getting off my soapbox now. Back to the granola bars… I pulled the best parts of a few different recipes and did some ingredient swapping and I ended up with yummy yummy in my tummy easy to make granola bars! So I give you.. Cranberry Almond {no bake} Granola Bars!

What you need…
The Basics:
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (4tbsp)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cup quick cook oats (get Gluten-Free Oats, like Bob’s Mill, if you are on a GF diet)
The Fix’ins to Mix in:
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded or flake coconut
1/4 broken up pretzel sticks + a few more to press on top of the bars (we used Glutino pretzel sticks, which are super tasty and Gluten-Free!

Add the sugar, butter, almond butter, and honey to a medium pan and heat over medium heat.

Tip: for measuring things like almond butter and honey, this Pampered Chef measuring cup is my hero!
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Bring the sugar mixture to a low boil and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Add your oats and stir to coat. Once it’s all evenly coated let it cool for five minutes.

Now it’s time to add in your fix’ins!
Doesn’t that look like a tasty pot of heavenly goodness!!!
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Mini Thor helped me mix in the goodness
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Line a casserole dish with parchment paper and then spread your granola in the dish. Top with some extra pretzel pieces and use the bottom of a cup or bowl to press everything down really well.
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Let that goodness chill in the fridge for 2 hours and then you can cut them. You end up with about 12-14 bars depending on what size you want them to be.

What emerges are delicious, nutritious sweet, salty, chewy (insert more adjectives as needed haha) granola bars!!!

I took half the batch to Granmomma and received this text two days later…
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The great thing about this recipe is the flexibility. Use “The Basics” and you can add what ever “Fix’ins” you and your family would like. You can even substitute the almond butter with peanut butter if that’s what you have handy. These bars can be made a number of ways….although I must say they are pretty darn tasty my way 😉. I hope you whip up a tasty batch of your own to be enjoyed by the little super heroes in your life.

-Kate

Black bean & Squash Tortilla Bake

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Every week I try and make at least one new recipe. This week we are starting off with a recipe using squash, I’ve been craving some squash lately! This recipe is based on one by Mom Foodie..

What you need…
– Small Zuccini Squash
– Small Yellow Squash
– 1 packet if Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mix
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
– 2 cups crushed tortilla chips (We used On The Border tortilla chips, they are so delicious and they are gluten free! I buy them in the big bag as Sams)
– 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 cup shredded cheese, divided
– Salsa for topping

The how-to:

Preheat that oven to 350 degrees

Slice the squash into thin disks and place them in a ziplock bag with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1/3 of the ranch seasoning packet. Work the squash around to coat all the squash with the seasoning and set aside.

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Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spary

Crush your tortilla chips, this would be a fun step for the little ones to help with!

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Reserve 1/3 of a cup of the black beans and add the rest of the can to the chips and mix well. Once mixed pour in the casserole dish.

Whisk together the buttermilk and remaining ranch seasoning. When well combined pour that zesty deliciousness over the chips and beans.

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Top with 1/2 cup of cheese

Arrange squash on top of the cheese alternating types of squash as desired

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Top with reserved beans and then remaining 1/2 cup of cheese!

You’re probably thinking “man that looks tasty,” and you’re right!

Baked for 25 minutes!

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Serve topped with your favorite salsa! I topped mine with Pain is Good Habanero Garlic Salsa, it’s hot hot hot but amazing! Mini Thor’s was topped with a locally made mild salsa.

He didn’t want to try it at first but when he finally did he said “mmm, actually good,” what a stinker!

-Kate

Cheater-Cheater-Pumpkin-Eater Mini Muffins

When the leaves turn orange and its jacket weather I start craving pumpkin and cinnamon like nobody’s business!  So, pumpkin muffins recently exited my oven.  These are pretty much the easiest muffins in the world, you cheat by starting with a box cake mix.  With just four, count’em four, ingredients these are super simple!

Here’s the How-To..

Ingredients:

  • Box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix)
  • 1 Can of Pumpkin
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract (GF vanilla if you need it completely gluten-free)
  • A couple of dashes of Cinnamon (sorry, I didn’t measure)

Just mix all the ingredients together!

The batter will be a fun orange color, which kiddos will probably enjoy.

Spoon the batter into a mini muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes.

They aren’t the prettiest of muffins but they are tasty and moist.  This recipe makes 36 mini muffins at a mere 50 calories a muffin!

Chicken Sausage Skillet

When Mini Thor eats a second bowl of something I always feel like jumping up and yelling, “victooooory!”  This dish is one of Mini Thor’s absolute favorites!  The kid loves when I  make something that has mushrooms in it.  How awesome is it that he wants to eat his veggies?!?!  This dish is both healthy and easy, and that’s a combo that is sometimes hard to come by.  From start to finish, including the prep, this dish takes about 30 minutes to make!  Does that make it a win-win-win dish?  Yes, I think so!

Here’s how to make my Chicken Sausage & Brown Rice dish….

Ingredients:

  • Package of 5 Italian Chicken Sausage Links
  • 1 Packet of Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice
  • 6 stalks of Celery
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 of a large onion, minced
  • 4 0z of Baby Bella Mushrooms, Cubed
  • 2 Tbsp minced Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

The How-To:

Start by putting your bag of rice in a 2 quart microwave-safe dish and add 2 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, and the poultry seasoning.  Microwave for 12 minutes (or as directed on the box).

While your rice is cooking, squeeze out the chicken sausage from the casing (yeah, I know, that’s gross) into a medium skillet.  Cook at medium-high heat and break up into small pieces as it cooks.  Cook until the sausage is fully cooked and starting to brown.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, I use cast iron (I’m pretty much in love with my cast iron skillet), add the olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Cook on medium heat.  While your onion is getting a head start, rinse and chop your celery.  Add the celery to the skillet and cook for 12 minutes stirring occasionally.  Next, add in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes while stirring.

Now your almost done!  Add in the rice and about 3 Tbsp of the remaining liquid from cooking the rice.  Add in the chicken sausage and stir well.  Add salt & pepper to taste and cook on low for about 5 minutes more minutes so that all the flavors can meld.

Ta-Da!  A tasty meal!

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I feel like a zombie, but instead of walking around saying “braaaaains,” I’m like “coooooffeeeeeee!”  I’m sure you know exactly what I mean!  I don’t know about you, but sometimes my morning cup of coffee just begs to be paired with something sweet.  This morning with my (strong) coffee I’m enjoying a slice of Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread that Mini Thor helped me make last night.  This tasty treat is so easy a two year old can make it, I mean literally!

What You’ll Need

  • Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Dreams)
  • Three over ripe bananas
  • 1/2 Cup of applesauce (or one of those little snack cups of apples sauce)
  • 1/2 Cup of chocolate chips (or more if you want)

Preheat your oven to 350 and let the banana smashing begin!

Mini Thor used a whisk to smash up the bananas!  Then we added in the applesauce and stirred it in to the mashed up banana mush.

Next, Mini Thor mixed in the cake mix (just the mix don’t add anything listed on the box) and some chocolate chips!

Once its all mixed up put it in a greased loaf pan and pop that sucker in the oven!

It’ll take about 45 minutes to bake, or more depending on the cake mix you use and your oven.

After your chocolaty bread is done baking it should look something like this…

Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Let it cool and then enjoy!  An 1/8 of the loaf is about 300 calories.  Mini Thor and I hope you will try out this easy recipe, let us know what you think.

Keeping on smiling and adventuring,

-Kate

 

P.S.  You can make this banana bread with any cake mix, it just won’t be gluten-free (but it will still be easy and tasty)