Homemade Granola

One of my husband’s favorite snacks is Greek yogurt with granola and blueberries. While we have tried many commercial mixes, including a really yummy one from a nice lady in Arizona, it was cost prohibitive to buy in the bulk we needed. Enter, The Pioneer Woman’s homemade granola recipe! I have been making Ree’s recipes for over 10 years now and they have not steered me wrong. This one is no exception. One of the things I like about it is it’s versatility; you can add/remove and tweak the recipe to make it your own.

  • 6 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/4 cup light oil (not olive)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered
  • 1 cup dried fruit of choice, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the oats with the oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Stir in the vanilla. Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, pecans, almonds and fruit if using. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss to combine; it will be sticky. Press into 1 baking sheet (thoroughly greased with butter, or line pan with foil and grease foil) and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. As it is cooling I like to start breaking it up into small pieces as my husband doesn’t like big chunks of granola. The longer you let it sit as it cools the crunchier it will get and be harder to break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Hot Buttered Churro Cheerios

I am always on the lookout for new finger foods to make for my kids to snack on. I love to munch on plain Cheerios, but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. I made the first batch yesterday and it was gone in under an hour. My youngest made it into a cereal and my teenage son and his friend just ate it by the handful. It is also incredibly versatile. This recipe calls for cinnamon sugar, but you could easily make a savory version with a ranch packet, or a pumpkin pie version with pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups Cheerios
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add in the vanilla, then the Cheerios. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cereal is nicely toasted. Once toasted, pour the cereal into a large bowl and toss in the cinnamon sugar.

Fruit and Peanut Butter Protein Bars

pbproteinbars-2My husband’s preferred snack is a homemade protein bar, so I’m constantly on the lookout for a good one. I found this on Pinterest and it is so versatile. You can add any kind of dried fruit you want, even chocolate chips or nuts. The chocolate topping is totally optional, and my husband actually prefers it without.

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit of your choice
  • 1/3 cup dessicated or shredded coconut, optional
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon coconut oil, optional

In a sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. Heat until thoroughly mixed and smooth, then remove from heat and add in the vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter mixture and the protein powder until smooth. Then add the oats, chia seeds, dried fruit and coconut if using. Once the mixture is fully combined, press into a lined 8×4 loaf pan and refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into bars and store tightly sealed in the fridge.

Caramel Corn

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 8.12.09 AMThis recipe is another gem we found on the Centr app. The first time I read the ingredients I was very interested/perplexed to see how maple syrup, peanut butter and coconut milk would taste like caramel but it really does. This snack is incredibly addicting; I suggest making multiple batches at a time. (But make this exact recipe multiple times, for some reason when I’ve tried to double it it hasn’t turned out as well.)

  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) popping corn
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, canned

Preheat the oven to 250° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pop your corn kernels, either in a stock pot on the stove or in something like this super cool microwave container (I bought this after burning a couple of batches on the stove and it is so awesome). Put your popped corn in a large bowl and set aside. Heat peanut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to boil. Stir through coconut milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until golden and thickened. Pour caramel over popcorn and toss well to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the batch to cook it evenly after 15 minutes. Serve once cooled.

This stuff does not last long in my house, maybe a couple of days so store in an airtight container.

Protein Balls

I saw this recipe of Trisha Yearwood’s show on Food Network.  They are great snack to grab before a workout, or for a breakfast on the go. I add chocolate protein powder to up the protein. Recipe and photo courtesy of Food Network.

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed

In a food processor, pulse the oats, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, cranberries, protein powder and flax seeds until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Form balls from the mixture (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and place them on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

This recipe came from the blog “in the kitchen with Kath”.These are a dead ringer for the red boxed cheese crackers. If you want them to be crunchier make them even thinner, otherwise they will be slightly puffier, but still really tasty.

  • 6 oz grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces 3⁄4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1⁄2  teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Put everything except the milk in a food processor. Pulse the processor, 5 seconds at a time, for about 5 or 6 times, until the dough is in coarse crumbs. Add the milk and process until the dough gathers into a ball. Roll the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin that has been floured until it is about 1⁄8” thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You can put a bit of flour on the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking. Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker. Place the crackers on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. Put the baking sheet on a rack and let the crackers cook completely. Store in an airtight container to eat within a day or two.