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I love granola bars. I have tried making them myself a number of times. Each time, while they turn out tasty, they are either hard or crumbly. Now I’ve found the perfect recipe so the bars turn out soft and delectable. The downside – they are rich in processed sugar and they are dairy, as this recipe is based on sweetened condensed milk 😦 However, I calculated the calories etc. using SparkRecipes calculator and I deem it worth it, as these are truly delicious, easy, and packed full of healthy nuts and fiber. Perfect for breakfast on the go, and they freeze very well as well. I’ll keep searching for the perfect recipe, but in the meantime…

This is based on Easy Granola Bars. I actually came across this recipe by chance as I was searching for a way to use up sweetened condensed milk. A huge storm was on, and I needed an extra cup of milk to make Belgian waffles. I used 2 tbsp in some water for the recipe, and then had a whole can to use up. Since then, we haven’t had even one storm, but I keep using up sweetened condensed milk 😉

Ingredients: (about 30 servings)

1 can sweetened condensed milk (400 gr)
3 cups instant oatmeal
2 tbsp tahini from whole sesame seeds/peanut butter/other nut butter
3-4 cups additions. I use:

1 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
4 tbsp flax seeds
~1/2 coconut, shredded
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
handful chocolate chips sometimes

All nuts and seeds are unroasted with no salt added. I shred all nuts and seeds in the food processor (the almonds I buy ground as my food processor isn’t strong enough to grind them). Mix all ingredients (us a mixer with dough hooks if you have them or your fingers, it’s hard). Then press into an oiled pan using some baking paper (waxed paper) to prevent your hands from getting sticky. Bake at 175°C for 10 minutes or until edges are brown. Do not wait until it looks cooked in the middle! If you bake it until it’s more browned it will cool hard.

In the pan, brown edges only!

In the pan, brown edges only!

In the plate, just before they disappear...

In the plate, just before they disappear…

Some nutritional info per serving:

Calories: 160 cal; fat: 10g out of which saturated: 2 g; carbs: 16g out of which fiber: 2.5 g; protein 3.5 g; Rich in calcium, copper, iron and manganese. This was calculated on a version without chocolate chips and with tahini.

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I get hungry mid morning and want something light yet sweet. For my kids, I sometimes make the microwaved cakes in a bowl, but for myself I was looking for something that I can finish by myself without feeling guilty 😕

I found this amazing and excellent recipe. At first I was sure something was missing as it had absolutely no added liquids. But it surprisingly works very well. As it’s based on fruit and oatmeal, it’s reasonably healthy (well… if you ignore the 1/4 cup sugar, of course 😉 ). I used cherries instead of blueberries, and added ground almonds and coconut.

My first try came out more like a pudding, because I tried to substitute part of the oatmeal with ground almonds. I heard from a friend that she regularly substitutes ground almonds instead of flour, so it made sense. However, almonds simply don’t absorb liquids the way oatmeal does and this is not a good substitute.

My next tries were more successful – in them I added extra ground almonds, and as my bananas were large I added more oatmeal as well. The result was a very satisfying fruit cake, which I ate with some yogurt or quark.

As always, my eldest loved the cake and my youngest didn’t 🙄

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, mashed

One mashed banana

1/2 cup oats (I used Quakers). More if your banana is large.
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp coconut flakes
6-7 cherries, pitted and cut , or other fruit

[No oil, eggs, water, milk, baking soda, or baking powder. Cool, huh?]

Mix all ingredients together:

Before microwaving

Microwave for 3 minutes, check for done-ness by touching the top of the cake lightly. Top should be dry (assuming you didn’t touch a cherry) and firm.

If not done, add in one minute stages until done.

Done!

Let cool and eat!

I made twice the amount in four bowls for my kids to taste. The results were awesome and looked so pretty…

Four mini cakes

I also made an amount of these without cherries, to take with me to the hospital when I gave birth. They were sweet and very satisfying as a midnight snack when breastfeeding, and kept remarkably well.

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My little one (3 years old) visited a friend and ate there some chocolate chip cookies. He said “I want to make with you chocolate chip cookies just like at my friend’s!”. “I said, “Sure”, but thought  – no way. I don’t make just chocolate chip cookies. Let’s try and put some oatmeal in them! (Yep, that’s how I think all the time. My husband is slowly wearing down under the pressure 🙂 I actually got him to eat a few).

They turned out great!

Ingredients (based loosely on this recipe)

2 cups  oatmeal
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 cups white flour (I ran out whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
Chocolate chips, about 1/2 cup or to taste
Water if it’s too dry

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a seperate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Combine the two until everything is moistened (add water if necessary). Put by tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet. Flatten with a wet fork (it does not spread). bake at 190°C for 15 minutes until the edges are brown and looks cooked at the center (though it will still be soft in the center). Keep in a box for at long as it lasts 🙂

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Bon Apetit!

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After searching for muffins that are easy to make, taste good, and have some nutrition, I now proclaim: I’ve found it!

Apple Oatmeal Muffins - you are the ones for me!

Apple Oatmeal Muffins - you are the ones for me!

Apple Oatmeal Muffins
This recipe is based on apple oatmeal bread.

2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 apples, chopped
150 gr unsweetened applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C).
2. Mix all dry ingredients together.
3. Beat eggs with oil in a separate bowl. Add to dry ingredients and stir till moistened.
4. Add apples and applesauce and pour into muffin tins (for me it came to 2 heaped tbsp per muffin, 13 muffins).
5. Bake for 15-20 mins or until toothpick comes out clean. Muffins will still be sticky.

I made this once alone, and my 2.5 year old loved them. Today I’ll make it with him (He’ll pour things into the bowl, mix… and help eat this!). I think I’ll try reducing sugar to 1/2 cup.

I really need to have these on hand, as I am always hungry. Buying snacks is expensive and extremely fattening (as you have no idea what they put in it – I doubt they use oil instead of margarine, for example. Not to mention the amount of sugar they put in). And having something good and fairly nutritious on hand is just great. I used to make granola, but now my son is “spoiled” – he is used to having something tasty for breakfast/dinner, he loves making them with me and he is too small for nuts.

Bon Appetit!

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