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Granola Bars

August 15, 2012

Every once in a while, a recipe comes along and changes something big in our day to day. This recipe is it for me.

Every mom knows the pull to pick up expensive, processed snacks for their little ones.  My mom mostly had fruit and graham crackers for us when I was little, and on days when my kids are begging me for snacks I think how did she do it? (This did lead to some disgusting sugar-craving fueled concoctions. A bag of frozen rasberries and a bag of coconut don’t make for a great snack, just a lifetime aversion to both. Hence why I left it out even though the recipe calls for coconut).  But I am still always filling my cart with Nutri-NOT Grain Bars and other expensive empty calories.

Enter homemade granola bars. Seriously habit forming, as nutritious as a bowl of oatmeal. What’s not to love?


These bars are so easy, and they are such a great thing to make with kids – very hands on, messy, and delicious.



This recipe is from Ina Garten, but I made a few kid friendly changes when I made it. I added apricots, cherrys and cranberries, and I used toasted pecans instead of almonds.  You can use whatever fruit and nuts you like.  I also cooked the butter and honey in the microwave instead of the stove in an easy to pour container:


It made me wonder why do it any other way, especially when it pours into the mixture so well? (Be sure it boils at some point when it is in the microwave).


For a girl who LOVES mixing ingredients together, this was a dream come true…even my son wanted in when it involved mashing something.



SOOO yummy, my husband couldn’t stop eating them. Part of the can’t get enough taste is from toasting the oats and nuts first.

Why do we buy granola bars again?

Granola Bars

(adapted from Ina Garten, printer friendly link here).


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Breakfast Outside

July 27, 2012

Before my husband left for work last week, he asked me if I had seen the article in the Boston Globe.

I went online, and what I read really hit home.  It was an anthropological study of 32 families in L.A. The researchers were trying to create a snapshot of family life in our current day.  What they found was that American’s rarely eat together as a family, are buying tons of stuff they don’t need, and are hardly ever going in their backyards. You can read it here.

It was eye opening, and it really hit on all the reasons why I have this food blog.  Homemade food is the heart of something intrinsically valuable.  It feeds the soul, it celebrates everyday life, and it upgrades the quality of life for my family.

It was a gorgeous summer day. I decided we were eating breakfast outside.

I made French Toast with Blueberries and Whip Cream.


It was super easy, and I used the best bread, Jessica’s Brick Oven French Toast Bread:


It already had swirls of cinnamon in it and and amazing thick, chewey texture. (You all know how much I appreciate good bread!)


French Toast:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 6 thick slices of bread
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup

And by Maple Syrup, I mean REAL maple syrup.  I am super passionate about Grade A syrup if you can find it.  And it is not cheap, but like good wine or olive oil, it makes an amazing difference.


I got mine at a local farm stand.  Yes, that price tag is correct!  But totally worth it.



We started off the day on such a happy, yummy note.  So glad that article pushed me outdoors.  Dining al fresco at any meal makes life lovely.

Did I mention I was in my pajamas?


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

February 2, 2012



I discovered these when friends of the family used to make them all the time.  I recreated the recipe because I started to crave them! And once I had kids I realized they are a great way to use up ripe bananas.  This is also a great recipe to make with kids too (mashing bananas & snacking on chocolate chips keeps them very occupied). 

I make them different every time too, sometimes just with chocolate chips, sometimes half chocolate, half white chocolate chips, and feel free to add walnuts too. They make your house smell sooo good too, you’ll be smiling when you see the bananas turn brown because you know that these beauties are right around the corner.  And I always make them mini (built-in portion control) but you can make them big.  

These travel so well I always try to make them before a trip or a visit. Enjoy! 


Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

 1 stick Butter

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

3 ripe bananas

1 t. vanilla

1 c. chocolate chips (white or black)

1/4. c. chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter & sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together in separate bowl the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mix.  In a seperate bowl, mash bananas with a fork.  Mix with 1 t. vanilla.  Add to flour and butter mixture.  Add chocolate chips and nuts, if using, and slowly mix with a spoon.  

Spray 2 mini muffin tins with cooking spray.  Pour each 3/4 full.  Cook for 15-18 min.  
(If using large muffin tin, cook for 20-22 min).