Friday, March 18, 2011

Granola Bars

After I made the almond butter, I used it to make granola bars.  This was my first attempt and I am pleasantly pleased with the end result.  I googled "homemade granola bars" and took a few ingredients from each recipe.  I plan to keep tweaking the recipe until they are absolutely, positively delicious.  The kids and my husband said they were good enough to share now, so here is how I made them:

Granola Bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick cook oats)
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 + 1/4 cup honey (you could use 2 different sweetners for more flavor)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg (6 oz) dried cherries, chopped
1 cup almond butter

Get a big bowl and mixed all these ingredients together.  After they are thoroughly mixed, line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper.  Press the mixture into the baking pan until the mixture is evenly distributed throughout the pan and tightly packed. (Mine didn't quite reach the edges on all sides, but I didn't worry about it. It just made for a couple of odd shaped bars when I was cutting them out.)
Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool in the freezer until the bars are firm.  Lift the parchment paper out of the pan, remove, and cut into bars.  I think it made about 20 bars.  I forgot to count last night and now there are only 13 left. :-)
Store bars in an airtight container.  I put them in those little ziploc snack bags.  Bars may be frozen for up to a month and thawed as needed.

If you try this recipe and tweak it some, please let me know so I can try your ideas!

Almond Butter

Yesterday I decided to make almond butter.  It was so easy and delicious.

Almond Butter

bag of almonds (I used a lb)
food processor

Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and roast in a 350 degree oven.  This does not take long - maybe 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Pour almonds into food processor and blend.  Don't lose heart when they turn to dust, just keep blending them.  After a few minutes they will turn into almond butter. 

Stay tuned for what I did with the almond butter!

Kraft First Taste

Would you like to know about new products as soon as they are available?  You might want to check out Kraft First Taste.  This is what it says on their homepage:

"There's always something exciting happening at Kraft Foods! So join Kraft First Taste today and you will be among the first to learn all about the latest products and newest programs from Kraft Foods. Plus you'll be able to post your opinions and read other members' ideas on what's hot and what’s not. 
Join the community today! It's fast and easy — and before you know it, you'll be learning all about the latest and greatest from Kraft Foods."

If that sounds like fun to you, then head over to Kraft First Taste today and become a member!


If you're not a member of BzzAgent, you should check it out.  It's a word of mouth marketing network.  They send you free samples to test and give feedback.  They often send extra samples and coupons you can share with friends.  I got a Maybelline SuperStay 24 2-Step Lipcolo BzzCampaign last week.  Then yesterday I got the Smart & Easy Spring Cleaning from SC Johnson BzzCampaign:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

In my new quest for a healthier lifestyle, I read about making your own hand soap.  I tried it yesterday.  It was so simple and so easy that I almost can't believe it's better for you than store bought soap. :-)

Castile soap (available on amazon; I found it locally at Target.  It was $15.99 for 32 oz, but I think it will last forever)
empty foaming soap bottle

Simply add 3 squirts of the castile soap to the empty bottle and fill with water.  It's that easy.

Homemade Soap

Breakfast Cookies

Giant Breakfast Cookies

1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips

Mix butter, honey, eggs, salt, cinnamon, soda, vanilla and buttermilk.  Stir in flour and oats.  Fold in raisins or chocolate chips. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool 3 - 4 minutes on cookie sheet before removing cookies to cool on a wire rack.
Makes 18 cookies.
I found this recipe at Heavenly Homemakers.  She has lots of yummy recipes posted and I can't wait to try more of them!