Thursday, September 8, 2016

Homemade Granola/Cereal Bars

  So I needed a treat for my toddler's nursery group at church.  I wanted to make something tasty yet semi-healthy and didn't want to go to the store.  I found a super easy crispy treat recipe using corn syrup (no marshmallows on hand), peanut butter, and sugar.  I had all the ingredients and had some nasty WowButter (soy butter) that needed using up and it would be safe for anyone with nut allergies at church.
  This has been life changing... so much so I actually hopped online to make a blog post :o)... so I can share it more easily with friends.
This is a half batch in a 7x11" pan.  The full batch makes much more squares.
Now I'm making these regularly and I'm playing around with different ingredients.  I just follow the same basic formula and it's so easy I don't even have to look up the recipe (which I'm terrible with numbers).

  • 1 cup corn syrup (or honey works too. Going to try pure maple syrup next time and cook a little longer)
  • 1 cup sugar (or granulated/dry sweetener I used powdered honey last time)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (WowButter works and I bet almond or Nutella or anything similar consistency)
  • 6 cups cereal (all one kind or a combo. I've used all of these in different batches: quick oats, rice crispies, cheerios, wheat puffs, (these are just the boring cereals I buy (I don't buy sugary cereals for my kiddos... they are content with the boring stuff).
  • optional stir-ins: (maybe just 2 cups or less of these things... so they hold together) peanuts, sunflower seeds, craisins, raisins, mini choc. chips, or any flavor baking chips*, gummies, mini-Reese's pieces, 
Butter a 9x13 pan.  Combine corn syrup and sugar in a bigger pot (so you can stir all the cereal in later). Stir and melt the sugar in the syrup and bring to a simmer (cooking longer will make a stiffer bar, less will make them soft and gooier-but fall apart easier) .  Stir in the peanut butter.  Add cereal(s).  Stir in any add ins*.  If too gooey add a little more cereal or oats (they seem to be more absorbent) Press into baking pan.  Cool 20 min or so. Cut into squares.

I like to wrap them in plastic wrap once completely cool and hide them in the pantry with other kids snacks to put into lunches (if made without peanuts).  It is also good to free up my baking pan and to keep me from snitching on them all day.

*For melty chips I press a layer of 1/2 the cereal goo in the pan, sprinkle a layer of chips and then press the rest of the cereal on top so it sandwiches the melty, messy chips in the middle.

My kids love these.  All the kids at church loved them.  Let me know what you think.  Let me know what combinations of ingredients you try. 
 Happy Snacking!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ginger Snap Overnight Oatmeal

As per request... I am making a post with my recipe for overnight oatmeal.  I randomly saw a post about it and went out to buy slow-cooking steel-cut oats just to give it a try (they were really cheap at Bulk Barn...never heard of Bulk Barn, eh?... it's a wonderful place I found in Canada).  I haven't made a post on this blog in a long while... just scroll my feed... you'll see.  I had a 3rd kid, I started a home based business, did a lot of travelling with kids in tow, and I moved to Canada... yeah I've just been a little busy.

So I happened upon this recipe probably from a Facebook post:

I cut the recipe in half because my husband doesn't get out of bed at a decent hour and rarely bothers with breakfast, and I knew 1 cup of oats would make plenty.

The first attempt I crumbled up dried apples, added a little extra water for them, added brown sugar and cinnamon.  I also left out all the nuts/seeds in the recipe since my toddler can be a little too regular when fed nuts and over fibrous meals. I turned it on at 10pm and turned it off around 6 am... overcooked a bit and kind of brown and crispy on the sides but my kids ate it with a little milk... and the dried apples where just like cooked apple pieces in an apple pie. I like to scrape and eat the brown caramelized bits from the sides of the crock... the best part.

I decided to get my outlet timer for my 2nd attempt and only cook it for 5hrs instead.  I realized I had a container of ginger I never opened and packed up to Canada when we moved so I decided to find a way to use it in the oatmeal... and my kids love ginger snaps... Then I thought... I'll just get my inspiration from a ginger snap recipe... so here goes.


1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups of water (I just realized I'm going to use part milk next time)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped ginger (can also use powdered ginger or whatever you have)
2 Tbsp Molasses
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar

Cook on Low in the slow cooker for five hours.  Serve with milk, yogurt, or straight from the crock. Feeds about 3 small kids and one adult... maybe 3 adults... easily 2 adults and 1 kid... Double if you want an equivalent of 4-6 adult servings (the recipe I found made with dbl the water and oats said 8 servings... I guess it had nuts too... but I wouldn't think it would serve 8 adults.)

This stuff is super-cheap and easier than making separate bowls of oatmeal in the microwave for my kids in the morning.  You can put pretty much anything in it you like.  I think I'm going to do apple spice and almonds on my next attempt.

Let me know if you like it and if you have any other overnight oatmeal recipes... I am definitely a novice on this.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter-time Again.

Easter is just around the corner.  I hope we're enjoying time with our family preparing for another holiday.  Just a reminder of the purpose of Easter.  My daughter asked last week, What is Easter about anyway?  I asked her what she guessed... springtime, new baby animals, and eggs (although she wasn't sure why).  I told her that we celebrate Christ's resurrection and how he rose again.  He was dead like everything seems to die in winter and just like springtime brings new life, He lives again.  It is beautiful and wonderful.

There is a new video on with an inspiring message:

Because He Lives

In previous years I've shared some great posts.

  For more spiritual focus:  

and for some festive fun:

As far as egg decorating this year, I just did some dying from a simple kit. I had fun dipping while layering different colors in stripes (best to start with primary colors and layer on analogous colors). I found that rubber bands are a fun way to make stripes (especially the thick broccoli rubber bands).  And we had a kit that came with tattoos which are really cool and look much better than the stickers you find in most kits.

Here are a few of my beauties:

Some of them I just left in the dye cup after all the kids were done while I cleaned up.  They came out really bold with spots where the egg floated above the surface of the dye.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Neglected Blog....

Dear Blog,
I felt a twinge of guilt today.  Thinking about you... sorry I am not posting wonderful posts about all the wonderful things I'm doing.  No awesome tutorials about the Christmas cookies we made or some fabulous new healthy soup I found.  I've been busy.  Frankly, I'm glad I was neglecting you.  This fall I've been trying to take better care of myself, my home and my family.

  I've been trying to get back into an exercise routine.  I've been working on repairing a diastasis recti. See this link about it too (if you've had a baby and have no clue what that is... you should). I'm surprised that my first 2 OB's never brought it up, but I may not have had it until #3 since he was my first full term birth.  I've also been seeing a chiropractor regularly to figure out why I've kept putting my back out since having this last kid and to address a long-term sway back issue that's a big reason I'm having these issues.  My posture is better than ever.

---Maybe TMI for the gents: I had a nasty bout of mastitis just before I began the weaning process with my kiddo.  That was not a fun Halloween weekend.  My advice... when the baby is distracted and not nursing well make sure you get him to nurse well at some point... and make sure both sides get well drained... feel them and work out any lumps before he's done or make sure you get them worked out asap. During or after a nice hot shower lather with lots of coconut oil and massage them out.  Don't put it off and forget about it.  Coming down with fever, chills, and all sorts of pain and tenderness....ouch it hurts to recall... so not fun. Take ibuprofen to reduce the swelling and pain.  The tips from the Kellymom site on mastitis were very helpful.  I got over it within 3 days and didn't have to go to the doctor or be put on antibiotics (I would have gone in if I didn't get it handled by Monday).

I took an awesome online class called Behavior is Language (for my teaching re-certification).  It's for helping control classroom issues and understanding why kids act out, preventing it, and dealing with it when it happens.  I'm trying to use the knowledge and tools to better understand my family and friends and interact in more positive ways.

I've been trying to keep up better with laundry and dishes and trying to get my kids to help out more, and take more responsibility for all their crap stuff.  I also read this awesome article: Raising a Moral Child the other day and highly recommend it.

I signed up for and got 2 free audio books: Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, and Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage by Dr. Laura Schlessinger.  Then I de-activated my audible account and still have access to listen to these whenever I want.   I If I want to get more audio books I can activate it again and pay whatever monthly fee.  I also joined a "Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands Book Club" on Facebook. Both books are really helpful no matter how good your marriage is.  The first book is good if you're working on things on your own.  If your husband wants to get on board the Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage is also really good.

I'm just glad I did stuff with my family and didn't bother to grab my camera to document everything for my blog or put it off because I wasn't mentally prepared to do it properly and document it on my blog.

I don't feel too guilty after all.  It's not like this blog is making me any money.  I just hope it helps other moms out.  Sorry Blog, but I'd rather neglect you first than the other priorities in my life.

-DIY Mom

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Apple Skin Apple Butter.... sooo good.

When processing apples into Apple Pie Filling  you may find that you end up with a huge pile of apple skins.  These are not garbage... Go ahead and dispose of the cores (or dump them in the alley for the resident deer population to munch on).  While you're peeling apples keep a large crockpot nearby.  Toss the skins in the pot as you go (have it turned on low heat) and toss a cinnamon stick in there too.  If the pot is left open as you work, be sure it doesn't boil dry (add a little water) and keep it going all day.

I'm sure once you're done processing pie filling you'll have tons of energy to do apple butter.... I DON'T (we do 2-4 batches of filling and I'm beat). So I leave that baby cooking all night.  Before bed I cram it full (because the skins cook down a lot) by using a simple corer/wedger and stuffing as many apples in there as I can.  I fill a 2.5 qt and a 3.5 qt crockpot (so 6 qts.) and leave them bubbling all night.

Then in the morning we wake up to a heavenly apple smell.  I turn off the crock pots to cool while we get our morning routine out of the way.  A couple hours later I get going on it.

Apple Skin Apple Butter

20 Cups apple skins chunks and wedges slow cooked ~18hrs
1 1/2 cups Honey
1 1/2 tsp salt (w/out iodine)
I scoop the apple mush (removing cinnamon sticks!) into my blender until it's filled to the 5 cup line.  Then I blend until smooth and pour into my large pasta pot.  Repeat until all of the apples are pureed.  Adjust your recipe according to the amount of apple mush you measured (ex: 3/4 cup Honey for 10 cups of mush). Measure before blending since it adds air and makes it seem like more volume.  Heat until simmering and add honey and salt.

I can mine in pints or 1/2 pints, processing 15 min + my 10 min extra for altitude (don't forget to adjust for altitude).  I've been using a Victorio Steam canner (which is awesome) but a water bath method also works.

Feel free to adjust the recipe!  If you only have sugar you can use sugar. I am trying to consume less sweets so this recipe is not super sweet... you could double the amount of sweetener in the recipe (if you want it sugary like jam).  I have also added pectin before to make it thicker just following the jam directions (it is expensive so I usually leave it out since I make so much).

I use apple butter as a spread on toast or English muffins (I smear a little normal butter on and then the apple butter (like I do with jam).  We eat a lot of oatmeal (microwave 1/3 cup oats with 1/2 cup whole milk for 1 min).  One of my kids favorite stir ins is a big scoop of apple butter (I also like to add some flax seeds and a spoon of plain yogurt to mine.)

Peanut Butter Apple Fluff: To make sandwiches I make a goober mix (half creamy peanut butter half apple butter) and spread it generously between two slices of bread.  The kids call it Peanut Butter Apple Fluff.  You can use crunchy peanut butter (but the moisture from the apple butter can make the chunks soft). So I only use crunchy on sandwiches that will be eaten right away.  Peanut butter Apple Fluff is like frosting.... it is also good to sandwich between graham crackers before putting them in an airtight container in the fridge... You get soft and cakey graham bars after a few hours... such a yummy treat.  I think I will use it to frost a cake sometime in the near future... when the baby is okay-ed to eat peanuts.

Let me know if you try this... or if you made any excellent alterations.  Share your favorite ways to use apple butter.  I love comments.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Canned Apple Pie Filling II & Honey Sweetened Recipe

I've improved my recipe from last year: see how many more apples are crammed in the jar! and the 'sauce' is thicker.


7 quart jars/batch
a crank apple peeler/corer
canning supplies (pot, jar lifter, lids, rings, funnel)
lemon juice
apples enough to fill 7quart jars 5-8 apples/jar depending on size

Peel and core apples on a peeler/corer/slicer as seen above.  If you'd rather you can do any other preferred method but this is much faster.

Using a very large bowl pour lemon juice and water (maybe a half cup of lemon juice/quart of water). about 1/3 full (you can add more water/lemon as needed).
As each apple comes off the end of the corer, cut it in half and remove any pieces with skin, flaws, etc.  Then you will have smile shaped slices.  Save the skins in one container (puree cook them down sweeten and make them into apple butter...mmm).  Place the slices in the lemon water to wait until you process to prevent browning.

If you have someone helping (which I recommend because this is a pretty time consuming project)  Have the other person prepare the filling sauce:

Filling Recipe:

4 cups honey (I will likely use 1 cup less next time + a little extra water)
5 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tsp cinnamon (I used more spice to balance w/ the honey flavor)
2 tsp. salt (non-iodized)

In a large pot dissolve honey in the water.  Measure flour and stir in the cinnamon and salt.  Whisk flour mix into the water until smooth.  Heat until bubbling.  Reduce heat to keep warm.

5 cups sugar
1 cup thickener (I prefer flour for a hearty apple pie--some like cornstarch for a clear jell--looks store-bought to me)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt (non-iodized)
5 cups water *

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl making sure to break up any flour or starch lumps.  Measure cool water in a large sauce pot, whisk the dry ingredients into the water until smooth.  Place on stove top and bring to a boil (watch closely and stir)  I do this on high so I don't have to stand around all day waiting for it to boil.  You don't want to leave it to boil or it can boil over and make a big mess of the stove (I know).

Fill the Jars:

 When you've filled a large bowl of apple slices, take a minute and prepare your jars by rinsing in very hot water or have them waiting in a hot dishwasher and fill your canner maybe 1/3 full with hot tap water.  Prep your lids by letting them sit in hot simmering or near simmering water. 

Using a funnel fill each warm jar with 1 cup of hot filling *.  The best way to measure is by following measuring marks on the jar-if they have them.  Then pack apples into the jar and push down into the filling until you get the jar filled up to just beneath the neck of the jar (1 inch head space).  It is just right when you push the apples down and the filling rises up to that level flush with the apples.  It's okay if the apples rise up a little higher after you pull your hand away. 

This is the method for filling jars I came up with because you have a consistent amount of filling and apples in each jar and very few bubbles in the jar. You will have some leftover apple filling/sauce.  You will have more or less depending on how long your pot sat there warming/evaporating while waiting for the apples.


Wipe the rims of each jar with a clean damp cloth, top with a lid, and secure with a ring nice and tight.  Lower the jars into your canner filled with quite hot water (not boiling or even simmering).  Add cool water if you warmed it too hot.  Your filling is not very hot because of the cold raw apples, so be sure the water isn't too hot or you might break some jars.  Make sure their is 1-2 inches of water above the tops of the jars.  Bring the water to a boil and time it (process it) for 25 min. at sea level.

Be sure to adjust processing according to your altitude. I do mine for 30 min.

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner
Altitude in Feet Increase processing time
1001-3000 5 minutes
3001-6000 10 minutes
6001-8000 15 minutes
8001-10,000 20 minutes

 (chart from -- I adapted the recipe and made up my own method after trying out the recipe/process from this site).

Carefully remove your jars with a lifter from the hot water and place on a towel to cool and seal.  Don't mess with them until completely cool or you could hamper the sealing process.

When ready to bake a pie follow the directions for your crust recipe for a filled pie.  Each jar will fill an 8" covered pie.  I always make sure to cover my edges with foil to prevent them from burning.  Because I'm lazy I often use 1-1/2 to 2 jars of filling in a 9x13" pan  to make an apple crisp (plus it's got whole grain oats instead of pastry).  We serve it warm with vanilla ice-cream.


Stay tuned:.....MY APPLE SKIN APPLE BUTTER Post is going up on Sat. Nov. 1, 2014.

*changed from original recipe

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fall is in the Air.

First day of kindergarten last year: walking to the bus stop.

Today I'm going to make some of my favorite cookies (because it's cool and wet: a great day to bake).  Plus with my six year old going back to school next week I'll need healthy treats to pack in her lunches.

Best Ever Cookies

(I've also simplified the recipe)

Grilling Obsession: My hubby bought us a new (used but new to us :o) grill this summer and I've been doing a lot of grilling.  I thought it was a ploy to get me to cook large amounts of meat (my meat philosophy).  I've actually been doing more veggies than anything. Loving grilled kebabs especially with yellow squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sweet onion chunks (tossed in bacon grease w/ salt and pepper before skewering).  Grilled Broccoli is also Amazing (I just marinade in Italian herbs & spices a little oil and vinegar-instead of buying a bottle of dressing).  And something new I've tried is Grilled Cabbage. It is so tasty. I usually struggle to find ways to use a whole cabbage (I'm the only one who eats coleslaw around here) but this makes it go really fast.  We had it with brats... It was really good on the brats and it would be good to top burgers too.  The grill is a great way to cook veggies.  I challenge you to try something new on the grill while you still have the chance (unless you live in a land of eternal summer).

I'm also getting prepared for my apple harvest and to do some serious canning... I love having pie filling in the cupboard so I can quickly throw together a tasty apple crisp.  I'll also be making a whole lot of apple sauce and apple butter.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...