THE BEST Granola Bars…EVER

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I love these granola bars as do my friends, family, and coworkers! They are the perfect snack or breakfast, and I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like them. These granola bars are anything but ordinary because they’re full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

What I love most about this recipe is that you can easily change the flavor by choosing a different nut, dried fruit, and/or sweetener. Each time I make them they turn out wonderful! My favorite combination is dried cherries and pecans with a mix of honey and coconut palm syrup (about 50/50). I’ve even started making them with half brown rice cereal puffs and half oats. It changes the texture a bit, which I love!

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My only warning is to be careful because they are highly addictive! Once you start eating them, it’s VERY hard to stop.

They are a great snack if you’re going on a hike or traveling somewhere. These bars also freeze really well too.

 

Ingredients

2 cups Old Fashioned Oatsgranola5

¼ cup Ground Flaxseed

1 ½ cups Walnuts, chopped (or your choice of nut or combination of nuts)

2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds

1 cup Dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins, or any combination)

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

½ cup Honey (I’ve done 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 cup coconut palm syrup)

4 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

½ tsp. Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 pan and line with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
  3. Measure the oats and ground flaxseed. Place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Measure the nuts and chop into small pieces if not already in pieces. Add to the bowl with the oats and flaxseed. If using brown rice cereal puffs, toast them with the nuts, flaxseed, and oats.
  5. Mix the ingredients in the bowl and place on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. Flip them every few minutes so they don’t burn.
  6. When you start to smell them and see they are getting a little brown, pull them out of the oven. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.
  7. Measure the chia seeds and dried fruit and set aside. You can use the same bowl that you had your oats and nuts in.
  8. Add the toasted ingredients to the chia seeds and dried fruit.
  9. In a small pot put the honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Bring to simmer stirring constantly for a few minutes.
  10. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the oats, nuts, dried fruit, etc. in the large bowl, and mix all the ingredients together.
  11. Put all of the mixture into the prepared pan. Press into the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. A piece of parchment or wax paper also works well for pressing.
  12. Let it cool and set up for about 2-3 hours. It can also be placed in the cooler or freezer to speed up the cooling (for about 20-30 minutes).
  13. Finally, flip the pan onto a cutting board to desired size. Enjoy for breakfast or as a snack!
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Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

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This cranberry sauce is what I’ve been making for Thanksgiving for the past few years. It is so gooood and very easy to make.

This recipe is what I used to put on my orange poppyseed scones. It’s still tart but the orange flavor distracts the taste buds a bit. The maple syrup could be adjusted to make the sauce sweeter, but I like the tartness.

 

Ingredients

12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries  cransauce1

¾ cup 100% maple syrup

1 Tbsp. fresh orange zest

Juice of 2 medium oranges

 

Directions

  1. In a medium size pot, add the cranberries, 100% maple syrup, orange zest, and juice from the oranges. Place on a medium, high heat.
  2. Stir and bring to a boil. Be careful, as the cranberries cook, they pop open and can spurt at you.  cransauce2
  3. Continue stirring. They will thicken as they cook and after they cool. Mash them using the spoon or a potato masher to help break down the cranberries more.  cransauce3
  4. Let cool and serve. This can be made ahead of time.

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This cranberry sauce is great on it’s own, on my orange poppyseed scones, or as a spread on anything you desire, like toast, bagels, or English muffins.

Enjoy!

 

 

Orange Poppy Seed Scones

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Scones are probably my favorite breakfast pastry. They’re flaky and buttery and go awesome with a hot cup of coffee. Mmmmm. They can be made in a variety of flavors, even savory! Scones are very easy to make and don’t take long to bake in the oven. Flavors can be changed easily depending on the time of year. I love making apple cinnamon and even sweet potato scones in the fall.

I love orange and cranberry together, so I decided to make an orange poppy seed scone with an orange cranberry sauce that I make at thanksgiving. It thickens naturally so it ends up being like a jam.

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I used fresh orange zest and juice to get a wonderful orange flavor in the scone.

Chia seeds could easily be used in place of the poppy seeds, like in the orange almond chia coffee cake I posted previously.

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups AP Flour                 orangescones5

1 Tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Zest of 1 medium orange and the juice

½ cup cold butter, cut into chunks

2/3 cup almond milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1-2 Tbsp. sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl combine AP flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and poppy seeds. Mix it together thoroughly.
  3. Measure the milk. Add the vanilla extract to the milk.
  4. Zest 1 medium orange and squeeze all the juice out. Add to the milk and vanilla. Let it sit.
  5. Cut up the cold butter into the bowl of dry ingredients. A cheese grater can also be used for this part.
  6. Use your hands, a fork, or pastry cutter to cut in the butter chunks. Work the butter      into the dry ingredients until they’re about pea sized or a little bigger chunks of butter. It should be crumbly.
  7. Once this is achieved, add the milk mixture a little at a time. There will be about 1/8 to ¼ cup of it left. You’ll know when to stop once the dough comes together and can be made into a nice 7-8 inch disc. It shouldn’t be sticky or wet. orangescones3
  8. Cut into 8 triangles and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (It doesn’t have to be lined with parchment but makes clean up easier.) Depending on how warm the butter got when cutting in the butter, you can placed them in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so…or placed in the freezer 10-15 minutes before baking. This will create the flakiness. orangescones4
  9. Brush the tops with remaining milk mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes. This recipe yields 8 scones. Serve with cranberry sauce or your favorite jam.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! The cranberry sauce will be coming soon!

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Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’ve made these cookies many times but this time…they are the BEST they’ve ever been! And for all you chocolate lovers, you must make these cookies! I tried something different and used half unsalted butter and half shortening. The result was a very thick and chewy cookie. I also added pecans and walnuts to some of the cookie dough which I find really enhances a cookie. My family was in town this last weekend and absolutely loved them! They were exactly how every cookie should be.

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They are best fresh out of the oven when they’re still warm and the chocolate chips are melted…as is any cookie, but these ones especially. They would make great ice cream sandwiches too!

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I highly recommend making them! My favorite is with toasted pecans. They’re oh so yummy!

Here’s the recipe!

 

 

Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)dblchoccookie5

½ cup shortening

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

2 ¼ cup AP Flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 cups Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional but strongly encouraged!)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the AP flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Chop your choice of nut if desired and toast for about 3-4 minutes. When you can smell them they are done. Set aside to cool. This will add extra flavor to the cookie.
  4. Combine brown sugar, sugar, butter, and shortening into the mixing bowl. With the paddle, cream until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.
  6. Add the dry ingredients slowly.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and nuts. Mix until combined.
  8. Scoop onto an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for about 8-11 minutes.

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Yields 50-60 cookies depending on size.

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