Mid-Week Baking

I won’t be posting this weekend.

So…I baked mid-week.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the recipe I’m about to share (gasp…yes, I did say share!).

Back story:  For nearly 18 months, I’ve been on what I’ll call a “fitness journey”.  This conscious effort to achieve health and wellness has made me very aware of the connection between what I put into my body and how my body feels.  I  am a devout follower of what I will call the religion of moderation.  I will never follow a diet that calls for complete elimination of any type of food.  When you strictly prohibit something, you want it even more.  Hello?!  I’ve been in the classroom long enough to know that that holds true whether you’re talking about food or human behavior. You want what you can’t have…ahhhhh….the human condition.  We’re a tortured, twisted bunch, aren’t we?

Having said that, I will share that the more fit and healthy I become, the less I crave “bad” foods.  I have begun to look for high quality foods that taste great AND provide nourishment.  That nourishment may come in the form of what is truly good for the body, but at times, that nourishment also means indulging in what feels good in your soul.  That’s why I haven’t stopped baking.  I’d rather have 1 or 2 of the BEST cookies I can find (or make) and really indulge in the act of enjoying that moment than binge on something that is overly processed and made with low quality ingredients.

Like I said in my last post, take the time to find and prepare your food with the best quality ingredients you can afford.  You will not regret this.

Why not start with granola bars?  My recipe is one you can customize to your liking and it really is easy to make.  I would recommend using a stand mixer if you have one, and if you don’t, use your hands.  Trying to mix these bars with a spoon would ridiculous, so don’t do it.  Give your hands a good wash and dig in!

Ok…so, here’s what you need to begin…

Granola Bars (I often call them Energy Bars)…a Pink Peppermint Exclusive!

 

The ingredients...

 

2 1/2 c. rolled oats

2/3 c. packed brown sugar (I use dark brown)

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 c. flour (I had white unbleached, but you could use whole wheat or any flour you have and use for baking — except self rising or cake flour)

1/4 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. honey (look for local honey — it also helps curb allergy symptoms)

1/4 c. vegetable or canola oil

1/4 c. applesauce

1 1/2 t. vanilla

Add ins: (My staples — but you could pick ANYTHING you love – look for dried fruits, nuts, other types of chocolate that you and your family enjoy.)

1/2 !c. mini chocolate chips

1/2 c. dried cranberries

*Like I said, the chocolate and cranberries are my thing…you can go for anything you like.  Think about the ingredients you like in a store-bought granola bar and try adding those to the basic recipe above!  If you are unsure about adding something, leave me a comment and I’ll help you figure it out!

The procedure is simple — preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a pan (9×9 or similar size) with foil or parchment — leave wings for easy lift out (makes for easier removal and cutting) and then spray with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients (including your chosen add ins), then add honey, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.  Once the mixture is well incorporated, press into pan.

 

All ready to bake!

 

 

Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 1 hour, then cut according to your preference.

 

A whole stack of good!

The Close Up...There's nothing like homemade!

 

When I’m done cutting, I wrap mine in plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge.  I have no idea why, but I like mine chilled.  When I’ve made them (this recipe makes 12 bars — depending, of course, on how you cut them), I always have 1 or 2 on me so that I never hit “headache hungry” and feel the urge to binge on food that won’t make me feel good.

 

All wrapped up and ready to go!

 

If you try the granola bar recipe, let me know how it goes!  If you try alternate add ins, let me know! I’m always looking for new flavor combos!

 

To close, find time this weekend to make something great.  Slow down, think about ingredients, enjoy the process, and indulge in food that is BOTH great tasting AND good for your soul.   Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Mid-Week Baking

  1. Hi Erin! Have you ever tried using almond flour in your baking? I never have, but it seems like this recipe would be a great place to try it. I like the flavor of almonds, and I’d use your mini chocolate chips as my only add in. What do you think?

    • I wish I had an answer for you…I’ve never used it. I think I would probably go the route of adding slivered almonds or using some almond extract if you want the almond flavor. I’ve really only ever baked with white and wheat flour. I think the almond flour would serve the same purpose in terms of binding the mixture, but I don’t know if it would impart a noticeable almond flavor with all of the other flavors in the bars — if it has any almond flavor I kinda think it would get covered up since there’s only a cup of flour in the whole mixture.

  2. Well, I will NOT be baking this weekend. I plan on sitting on the beach or deck and relaxing in the Outer Banks. GASP! I meant to pilfer some books from the book exchange. I guess I will download some to the Kindle instead. I will, however, be making some lovely mixed drinks such as Mudslides or simply pouring a glass of champagne. I will be thinking of you and I shall drink a toast to you and your baking!

  3. I’ve been meaning to look up a recipe for Bear that isn’t full of sugar and sodium. As you well know “healthy” often comes under the guise of an obscene amount of salt and sugar of some sort. “Sugar free’ is another label I stay away from. I refuse to serve her chemically made anything. Just like..all natural vitamin c …since when does God grow pills on a tree? My theory is a little real butter is a whole lot better than some spread deemed “health food” by a bunch of pastey faced vegans in a back room somewhere. Thank You! I have used almond flour in a few things. Surprisingly it tates nothing like almonds to me. Nor does almond butter make a great almond cookie instead of peanut butter. Who knew right? Joan…you are disgusting. he he… gotta love the sun. Must go back to playing Thomas the Train. Is it bad to hate a little train? Besides all he does is whine.

    • I know you’ll play with the recipe, so let me know what you come up with! I even think you can reduce the amount of oil further – maybe 1/8 c. And replace that with more apple sauce. You still need some of the oil though – without it the texture is all wrong! Can we have a date soon??! I miss you! Thanks for stopping by!

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