Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars – No Bake!

Sometimes my cupboard does a convincing impression of Mother Hubbard’s.

And I just don’t feel like going to the store.

But the little people still insist on food.

In comes these protein, fiber filled bars! They come together in 20 minutes, no baking needed and are great for breakfast, snacks, or to pack in lunches!

Breakfast Bar 1

Peanut Butter Coconut Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Base

1 c Peanut Butter, crunchy or creamy

1/3 Honey

3 1/2 c Oats, quick or Old Fashioned

1/2 cup flax seed (can replace with 1/2 cup more oats if you don’t have them!)

Put PB & Honey in Microwave safe bowl, heat in increments of 20 seconds until soft and easy to mix. Add Oats and flax, mixing until coated. Press into a 9-inch square pan.

Icing

1/2 c Cocoa Powder

1c Powdered Sugar

3 Tbsp Milk (Alternately, 1 Tbsp and 2 Tbsp Coconut Coffee Syrup)

Coconut Flakes to sprinkle (optional)

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.  Add extra milk in teaspoon increments to reach desired consistency. Pour over base and use rubber scraper to spread evenly. Sprinkle coconut flakes over the top as desired.

Cover and cool in fridge until hardened. Cut into bars and enjoy!

**I store the extra in the fridge to munch while the kiddos aren’t looking 😉

Breakfast Bar 2

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Chicken & Vegetable Soup (The Get Well soup)

So, it happened.  We made it to February before all four of us got sick.  Little One gets sick every other week, thanks to her thumb sucking and daycare. But the rest of us have been pretty good this winter.  Well, today that changed.  Little One and Boy-O both got fevers, coughs, and sniffles – the whole works! Hubby got the cough and I got the sniffles.  Days like this need chicken soup, Pronto!  I love this soup because it is easy to make, nutritious, inexpensive, and warms you right up.

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Excuse the yellow-y picture – my nice white light went out so I used the regular kitchen light and it does take a funky looking picture, doesn’t it?  Look instead at all that good stuff in there, the chunks of chicken and veggies mixing together in a sea of brothiness. Yum!

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Olive Oil

1 small onion, diced

1 Tbsp minced garlic

2 – 16oz bags frozen mixed veggies

2 – 4oz Chicken breasts, cooked & shredded

6 cups chicken/turkey stock (I make my own stock, but feel free to use store bought or even bullion)

3 bay leaves

2 tsp basil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1. In soup pot, Saute onion and garlic in oil until onion is translucent

2. Add frozen vegetables and heat until thawed, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in Chicken, Stock, and Spices

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes

That is it – 4 steps!  And that 30 minutes simmer is just enough time to whip up a batch of biscuits to go with it, like the cheddar/ranch biscuit pictured above.  It has a secret ingredient, but the recipe still needs some tweaking.  Maybe it will be my next post?

The Fastest, Easiest, Most Versitile, Crustless Quiche you will ever make – seriously!

Fastest, Easiest, Most Versitile, Crustless Quiche you will ever make - seriously!

Are you looking for a quick dinner that will fill you up and use ingredients you already have? Then this is it. My dear friend passed on her crustless quiche recipe to me a couple months ago, and I have made it weekly ever since. AND it is never the same quiche twice!

Start with whatever veggies you have on hand. We have used brussel sprouts, olives, spinach, tomatoes and cooked broccoli leftover from another meal. Chop them up small and put in a greased pan. My photo is in muffin tins, but I also love making them in my 2.5 qt oval CorningWare dish.

Next you choose a cheese (this step is optional, though I never skip it) The original recipe had 2 1/2 cups of cheese, but I usually only use 1/2 cup total. It is really up to your preference. My favorite cheese to put in is feta, but any shredded cheese you have on hand will work (we have even used a taco blend!) Sprinkle the desired amount of cheese over the vegetables.

Last is the eggs. Open up to a dozen eggs into a bowl and whisk it until all yolks are scrambled. If desired, add seasoning. My friend uses Mrs Dash to avoid the salt, I love Tastefully Simple’s Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning. If I am using feta, I tend to skip seasoning all together. Pour eggs over cheese & veggies and use whisk to blend gently.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until middle is no longer runny.

That’s it! Three steps and done! If you make them in muffin tins, I whipped each egg individually so I didn’t have to figure out how much each egg was when pouring in. You can use less eggs in a smaller container or more in a larger container. Regardless of what size, it seems to always take at least 30 minutes to cook.

Quick and Easy 6-Can Chicken Soup

A coworker of mine couldn’t stop gushing about a 6 can soup she discovered on AllRecipes.  After listening to her for three days, I decided to give it a try; and now I want to gush about it!  This is the perfect ‘beat my cold’ sort of soup, it is hearty and takes 5 minutes to make!  I can’t wait to make it again. 🙂

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Ingredients:

* 1 15oz can whole corn, drained

* 2 14.5oz cans chicken broth (I used homemade stock I had in my freezer)

* 1 10oz can chunk chicken, drained ($1.39 at Aldi)

* 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

* 1 15oz can diced tomatoes

Open all cans and combine in soup pot.  Heat until the warm.  And that’s it!

I made it 7 can by adding a can of sliced mushrooms, along with some green onion I had in the fridge to be used.  The original recipe had a 10oz can of diced tomato with green chiles instead of the larger diced tomatoes, but I had 5 minutes until Aldi closed and didn’t spot the green chile can, so I subbed for the other.  I loved it and bet the zest from the chile would be delicious as well.  My coworker served it with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and sour cream.  What ingredients would you use? I would love to hear your ideas for mixing and matching the cans in this soup, so please comment below.

Keep your eyes peeled for my next post, I made my own dishwasher detergent and will soon be sharing the results of the adventure!

Chewy Granola Bars – No Bake and Super Easy!

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Thank you Lauren’s Latest for this wonderful recipe.  When I saw that I could make my own chewy granola bars, in a healthier way, I was all in.  BONUS: They are no bake!! Here is the recipe as she writes it and how I made it:

Yield: 10 bars

Prep Time: 2 hours including cooling time

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats!}
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan {about 12x8x1} and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. {If your pan isn’t small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together.} Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Recipe Notes: If your granola bars don’t seem to be staying together when you cut them, you may have not boiled the mixture long enough…you want it to make it just past the softball stage. OR you made them too thin or you didn’t pack them in tight enough. Stick them in the fridge for 20 minutes and that should help keep them together. {Be sure not to keep them in there too long or else they’ll become super hard!} The next time you make them, try boiling for an extra 15 seconds or so.

After making these I am filled with possibilities of where this could go.  I can sub peanut butter for the butter to make chocolate chip peanut butter granola bars, or stir in nuts/seeds/fruit to make a healthy breakfast bar, or use dark cocoa powder with coconut flakes to make dark chocolate coconut bars as a treat. And this is just the beginning of my ideas – think cinnamon raisin, or maple brown sugar, or so many more.  Please comment ideas for add ins and let me know what you make!

PS – I did use rolled oats, even though she said not to.  I got a huge container cheap at Aldi and decided to go with it – they tasted great and held together without an issue.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Mini Muffins

Looking for something delectable, pop-able, and guilt-free? So was I. After browsing online for muffin recipes with banana and whole wheat, I didn’t find what I wanted in a recipe. So, I created my own! Below you will find the muffins that have what is likely already in your house. No flax seed meal, or vital wheat gluten, or buttermilk.
The recipe makes 60 muffins, and at 33 calories each – you can pack them in groups of 3 for a satisfying sweet treat (or freeze them and thaw as needed)

Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 60 Mini Muffins
Nutrition Facts: 33 Calories, 0.6g Fat, 6.2g Carbohydrates, 0.8g Protein

1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 /4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a mini muffin tin.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Mix together honey, yogurt, bananas, eggs, & vanilla.
4. Add wet mix to dry. Do not over mix!
5. Fold in chocolate chips
6. Fill mini muffin tins
7. Bake 8 minutes
8. Use knife and pop up the side of muffins to cool
9. After 5 minutes, remove from pan and set on cooling rack (or in your mouth)
10. Enjoy!

Up Next: Make your own Laundry Detergent – Under $30 for a year supply!

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast

My next post was going to be about the importance of menu planning, and how shopping for an entire week or two helps you be budget smart. I will still write that blog. This, however, is not that blog. In fact, this isn’t even healthy smart.
I have a huge sweet tooth! Sometimes, it gets the best of me. Like this weekend. We had friends over after church for brunch and I took it as the perfect excuse to whip up a recipe I had seen – on Facebook, of all places. This is how the original recipe was posted:

FRENCH TOAST BAKE

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1 loaf Texas toast
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

1. Melt butter in microwave & add brown sugar….stir till mixed.
2. Pour butter/sugar mix into bottom of 9 x 13 pan….spread around
3. Beat eggs, milk, & vanilla
4. Lay single layer of Texas Toast in pan
5. Spoon 1/2 of egg mixture on bread layer
6. Add 2nd layer of Texas Toast
7. Spoon on remaining egg mixture
8. Cover & chill in fridge overnight
9. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (covered for the first 30 minutes)
10. Sprinkle with powdered sugar
11. Serve with warm maple syrup

Sounds good, right? Well, I decide it could be even better. I added cinnamon to the egg mixture and doubled the vanilla. Then, and this is where my real genius came in, I made homemade Summer Wheat bread to use instead of the texas toast. Whole wheat is healthy, so therefore using whole wheat bread makes the recipe a little healthier. (What can I say, I learned young how to justify food splurges)

This was awesome! I loved the heartiness of the wheat with the sweet brown sugar bottom. It didn’t even need the syrup, it was delish. I made the bread in the bread maker and here is the recipe:

CHAD’S SUMMER WHEAT BREAD
All ingredients at room temperature (70°F-80°/21°C-27°C)

11–12oz. water

1-1/2tsp. salt

1-1/2Tbsp. vegetable oil

2Tbsp. molasses

2 cups flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. active dry yeast

Measure all ingredients into bread pan in the order listed above, beginning with the column on the left, followed by the column on the right. Select Whole Wheat setting. Select crust setting if other than “Medium.” Press the “Start/Stop” button to begin the breadmaking process.

While this may not be a healthy recipe, it is good for your budget!  I had everything I needed in my house already, so it was easy to whip up without adding anything to my grocery list.  Speaking of grocery lists, I promise my next post will be about menu planning as a key way to stay in your budget.

And I must give credit where credit is due:
French Toast Bake recipe by Devonay Stanton Potter
Chad’s Summer Wheat Bread by Oster