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.
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