Chewy Dark Chocolate and Apricot Granola Bars

chewy granola
Well, friends, I’m happy to report that my daughter, Eleanor, was born three weeks (almost 4!) ago and she’s doing amazing and we are surviving the sleepless nights and the toddler-sister adjustment without too many scrapes and bruises.  Life is certainly different than it was just a month ago.  But it’s also a billion times sweeter.  Here’s my new family (pics taken by my wonderful friend, Katrina):

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It’s remarkable how little time in the day I actually can get things done, which explains further why posting recipes took a very, very far back burner to everything else.  I also didn’t cook a single thing for two weeks.  It felt weird, but it was nice to have a break. We have remarkable friends who brought us dinner for nearly two whole weeks and then it was Thanksgiving and although we didn’t travel, we certainly cooked!  And a few of those recipes will come in the following weeks.  I wanted to post an easy and satisfying snack for my first post back, because that’s what I need in my new life, now, and honestly, I’m hungry all the time while nursing a baby around the clock.  I find myself insanely hungry when Eleanor wakes up for her 2 a.m. feed but too tired to go to the kitchen to find something and so I fixed that problem yesterday by making some truly crave-worthy granola bars.  Chewy, almost falling apart, no-bake, and filled with my favorite things – namely, dark chocolate, apricots and almonds.

I hope you enjoy these and I am looking forward to getting back in the kitchen around the baking-est time of the year.  🙂

Chewy Granola Bars

 

Chewy Dark Chocolate Apricot Granola Bars
makes about 16-24

2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup mix-ins (I used dark chocolate, dried apricots and some leftover trail mix that had almonds and raisins – you use what you can find!)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, salt and peanut butter and let it come to a boil for about a minute.  Remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients (if you don’t want your chocolate melting, add it after you get everything else combined.  I didn’t care and it didn’t melt that much).  Stir until fully incorporated and then press in either a 13×9 greased baking dish, or like I did, a rimmed sheet pan (for slightly thinner bars).  Let it cool completely and then slice and store.

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Easy Breakfast for the Week – Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

baked peanut butter oatmeal

 

I love the blogging world.  Especially the FOOD blogging world.  So many people in so  many different parts of the world, all coming together over good recipes  that bring comfort and ease to the day.  I  did a quick search for oatmeal recipes last week, because I had purchased a gigantor box of rolled oats and felt compelled to do something new with it, besides my same ol’ breakfast options.  Blogger Elsa of The Whinery (great blog name) came up in my search with her amazing Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal (say  no more) and since I had every single item the recipe called for, I hopped to it!  It was simply amazing.  Tasted like an oatmeal cookie in a bowl. With cream.  I swapped out cherries for cranberries and dusted the top with extra demerara sugar (raw), which gave everything a lovely molasses flavor.  I’m in love.  I’ll be making this again, for sure.  It was so easy!  I think it would work great with any milk and I thought it needed an extra splash of milk to make it palatable for my wee one.  I could have eaten the entire thing out of the pan as it was.  Thank you, Elsa, for making the world just a little bit sweeter with this recipe!

Enjoy!

baked oatmeal

Baked Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal
serves 2-4

  • 1 cup (old-fashioned) rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup almond milk or whatever you have on hand
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted & cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • A handful of dried cherries, cranberries, etc.

    Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a casserole dish or deep baking pan.  Whisk milk, peanut butter, melted butter and vanilla together in a small bowl.  Add banana slices and dried cherries to the oats and pour milk mixture over it. Stir gently until all oats are covered.  I had to add about an extra 1/2 cup to ease my mind.
    Bake for 25 – 35 until the top is nicely golden and the oatmeal has set.
    Let it cool and serve in bowls with extra milk and sugar, if desired!