I have a sweet tooth problem. Like most women I know, I love chocolate. I would eat it all the time if I could, but alas, not only am I not supposed to eat a lot of sweets, it is not exactly kind on the waistline. One thing that helps me get my chocolate fix & feeds my sweet tooth is granola. I love making it. I make bars, squares or just straight up granola with chocolate in it of course. It is easy to make & my daughter loves helping me too.
But my favorite of all granola snacks that grace my lunch box are granola balls. There is just enough chocolate to keep me happy, but with no sugar added, I feel less guilty.
3 cups of quick oats
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of peanut butter
2 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp vanilla
3/4 cup of dark chocolate
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix in honey, oil & vanilla, stirring well. With a fork cut in the peanut butter until mixed well. Add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Scoop a spoonful of mixture & roll with your hand into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet & bake for 15 minutes.
I am going through a huge granola kick right now. I can not stop making it & eating it. I started making it as a healthy snack alternative & also for some added energy while I train for my 5K & now I am hooked. I just finished off my last batch & wanted to try something different. Tonight with the help of my trusty helper, we made a batch of Maple Nut Granola Bars.
2 cups of quick oats
1/2 cup of Rice Krispies
1/4 cup of chopped pistachios
1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
1/3 cup of real maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of sea salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine oats, nuts, Krispies & salt. Mix in vanilla & honey. Stir until evenly coated. Add maple syrup and mix well. Scoop the mixture little by little into a 8X6 or 8X8 baking pan, packing it well with each spoonful added. Once all of the mixture is added, pack firmly one last time. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars or squares.
Here is a funny tidbit of information about me. I worked as a regional manager for a chain of health clubs for about 10 years, I married a marathon runner and I absolutely hate exercise. Everyone always assumed that I was a health nut. Nope! While my husband is running marathons, I am trying to find my way to the finish line with a forty ounce of beer. I don’t workout & I definitely do not run. For years my husband has been trying to convince me to run a race with him, but I just would not budge. I just could not understand why he and so many others loved this. Running hurts my knees and my shins. I am a big baby. I just was not interested in putting my body through this torture for no reason. Lately, I have begun to find myself more and more curious as to why so many loved to run. I know that obviously it is great for weight loss, but there are other ways to do it, so what is the draw. I have been gaining motivation through watching my husband, friends and even some of my fellow bloggers, Runsaltrun .
Soooooo, I, Kim the anti-runner have agreed to do my first 5K. I am a registered participant for one at the end of next month. This week, I began my training. What I have discovered is that I am grossly out of shape, but I am working on it.
When ever I start a exercise routine, I know that I am going to need some extra fuel to keep my body going. One of my favorite energy foods is granola. It is healthy, delicious and easy to make.
2 cups of quick oats
1/4 cup organic honey
1/4 cup organic peanut butter – Make sure to stir the peanut butter well before measuring out as organic peanut butter can have an inconsistent texture if not stirred well.
1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/4 unshelled sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350. Mix oats, honey and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well, breaking up any chunks of peanut butter and evenly distributing honey and peanut butter through the oats. Mix in the almonds, sunflower seeds and chocolate. Add the vanilla and sprinkle in the sea salt. Stir well. Spoon on your mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Spread out the mixture compactly to form larger granola chunks or scatter for smaller bites. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Watch carefully not to burn. Remove from the oven & let cool. Toss in the cranberries and crumble granola in to chunks.
The great thing about granola is their are so many possibilities and different fruit and nut combinations. Granola is great alone or sprinkle over yogurt or even ice cream.
Stay tuned for more on my 5K training saga…
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