I know I post a lot of treats on here, but I’m trying to also give space to savory dinners and healthier treats. Today I’m sharing some healthy recipes that will work for breakfast, snacks, and dessert. I’m also trying to get back in the habit of letting you know about things that piqued my interest during the previous week.
Let’s start with a really healthy, hearty granola bar for your breakfast. Granola’s not actually that hard to make, but these bars are even simpler. I love that they’re naturally sweetened and chock full of good for you seeds and nuts. These hold together really well and are a great make ahead breakfast to have on hand for busy mornings.
Hearty Granola Bars (by Oh She Glows)
1 1/2 c. mashed bananas (about 3)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. rolled oats
1/2 – 3/4 c. chopped dried cherries (If you’re uber sugar-conscious, you could sub in an unsweetened dried fruit like raisins.)
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. sunflower seeds (shelled)
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/4 c. hulled hemp seeds (I didn’t have this, so I subbed in chia seeds.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and line with parchment a 9×13 pan. In a large bowl, stir together the banana and vanilla.
2. In a food processor, pulse the oats til they’re coarsely chopped (but not turned into flour). Stir the oats into the bananas.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix til moistened, then pour into the prepared pan. Press down firmly and smooth out the top.
4. Bake 25-27 minutes or til firm and lightly gold on the edge. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, slice into 16 bars.
I said granola was easy to make, and this recipe will prove it to you. This is a healthy granola recipe that’s lightly sweetened, makes a good bit, and tastes like banana bread. Here’s just how easy it is.
Banana Bread Granola (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
3 c. old-fashioned oats
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. mashed banana (about 1)
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. maple syrup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the banana, oil, syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour the liquid mix over the dry ingredients and stir til coated. Spread on the baking sheet.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool on the baking sheet.
This last recipe involves more work than the first two. In fact, when I first made it, I decided that I would never make it again. But that was before I’d tasted it. These little energy bites taste just like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Now, I’m not usually a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies. I’ve had too many of them that tasted of burnt raisins, so I tend to stay clear of them on principle. But these cookie bites aren’t baked, so you don’t have to worry about that. And though it’s a bit tedious to roll all of the sticky mixture into little balls, they do taste REALLY good. Next time I might try pressing them into bars to see if it’s any easier. These are pretty sweet, but it’s just from raisins and dates. Here’s how I get my oatmeal raisin fix.
Cinnamon Raisin Cookie Bites (from Texanerin Baking)
3/4 c. walnuts
3/4 c. rolled oats
1 c. dates
3/4 c. raisins
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 – 1 c. oat bran
1/2 – 1 c. rolled oats
1. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and 3/4 c. oats til there are no more large pieces; set aside. In the food processor, pulse the dates and raisins together til smooth. Add in the vanilla and cinnamon and pulse to combine.
2. Add in the nut mixture and pulse to combine. Add 1/4 c. each of the oat bran and rolled oats and pulse til you reach a good consistency (it should hold together when squeezed). Add more of each if necessary til the consistency is right; be careful to not add too much.
3. With wet hands, firmly squeeze by tablespoons into compact balls. (This is what took a lot of work. The mix is very sticky and it takes a lot of squeezing to compact it tight enough. Because it was taking so long already, I didn’t bother to make mine round. I got a couple dozen bites, but it would just depend on what size yours are.)
This past week, I read a couple of great cookbooks that I wanted to share with you. The first one was Cook This Now by Melissa Clark. I really like Melissa’s style of writing, and I found a few recipes that really grabbed my attention. In the future, you can be on the lookout for Pistachio Shortbread (Sounds really good, especially with the exotic addition of orange blossom water.), Carroty Mac and Cheese (A classic baked mac and cheese with the shouldn’t-be-too-noticeable, healthy addition of grated carrots.), and Thai-Style Ground Beef with Chiles and Basil (I’m really not sure why, but this one just sounded too tasty not to write down.).
I also read a cookbook by one of my favorite food bloggers. It’s called Easy Gourmet, and it’s by Stephanie Le of I Am a Food Blog. As readers of her blog would expect, the cookbook is filled with inventive recipes, gorgeous photography, and a fun style of writing. The recipes that really caught my eye were Pistachio Pavlovas (Are you sensing a theme?) and Quinoa Pea Cakes (You know I love quinoa, so of course I want to try it in fritter form.).
What’s caught your eye lately?