Homemade Granola Bars w/ Almond Butter & Banana

I was pondering what to make for my client gifts this year...I knew I wanted to make something and wanted it to be healthy—there are enough sweets and extra calories being consumed around this time of year. One of my girlfriends suggested granola...now, I don't really like granola, but it definitely does make for a nice gift. My first issue was that I have never made granola and my second issue with this choice was the packaging, so I figured I would go one step ahead in my culinary feat by doing granola bars...you know, to make it just a bit more complicated. :)

I began my search with vegan granola bars, gluten free granola bars and cacao granola bars. Lots of these recipes call for different natural sugars, which is fine and sometimes necessary for the binding of ingredients, but I finally stumbled upon a bar that had no added sugar! Score! In the meantime, I had emailed myself four different recipes and proceeded to spend over 100 dollars in ingredients that I might use. Ugh. I have enough nuts and seeds to feed myself through another Sandy blackout. I figured I would just mix and match the recipes (NOTE: not a good idea when you haven't already made the recipe). Once I got home, I realized that I was being crazy, and decided on the simple recipe I found with a base of banana and almond butter.

The bars were super easy to make and required very little culinary skills, so I recommend this for anyone who wants to make something new as a snack for you yourself, family or even as a gift. I've given out many bars so far and have heard good reviews, so I'm gonna give myself a 9/10 and say they were a success. Remember, when making your own, you can swap out the nuts, seeds and fruit and kind of play with the recipe as you see fit—I made them a bit differently the second time around and both batches turned out nicely.

RECIPE

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond butter

2 bananas, mashed

1/2 cup whole almonds

3/4 cup dried apricots or mixture of dried fruit of your choice

½ T of cacao powder

½ T ground flaxseed

½ T ground cinnamon

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or whatever you have on hand)

1 cup rolled oats

Cooking

Preheat oven to 350F. Line wide loaf tin or pyrex dish with parchment paper.

In a small pot, heat almond butter and mashed bananas on low. Stir gently until well combined. Set aside.

In a food processor, coarse chop the almonds and dried fruit (I found that with both nuts and fruit in the processor, that it didn't chop up properly, so I did them separately). Transfer to a bowl. Mix in cacao, flaxseed, cinnamon, seeds and oats. Fold in the almond butter mixture. Press the batter into prepared loaf tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool for a couple hours before cutting into bars/squares. After about 30 minutes, I took the bars out and set on a cutting board to cool, then waited another hour or so.

PHOTOS

 

 

 

Kale Chips

This is my yummy kale chip recipe - great for kale lovers and also those who say they don’t even like kale. These are better than any chip you can buy in a store…I promise! Once you eat one, you will eat the entire plate - make a lot of you plan on sharing! Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cook for 10-15 minutes

  • Rinse kale, remove stems and dry completely in a salad spinner or dry off with paper towels; rip into 1-2 inch pieces
  • Put kale in a bowl and massage with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) - make sure it’s coated completely, but not drenched
  • Spread kale on a cookie sheet covered in foil (if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to wash the sheet) and make sure the pieces aren’t on top of each other
  • Top with your favorite seasonings! For me this includes sea salt, sesame seeds, garlic powder and brewers yeast, but play around with your favorites or just keep it simple with salt and pepper!
  • Pop it in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven - the first time you make these may be trial and error (the kale chips do burn, so watch them!)
  • Place on a plate on top of a paper towel to absorb some of the oil and enjoy right away! (if you plan to store them, wait an hour or two for them to cool off completely, and place into storage bins)
  • YUM!