Homemade Chewy Granola Bars {Recipe}

homemade granola chewy granola bars

Peanut butter. Chocolate. Chewy. What more could you want in a snack? I have emptied out my fair share of store bought granola bar boxes, but it’s kind of scary what all is in there. I’m really trying to eat more real stuff this year and you know what? Real is way better and so easy.

In my quest to find some better breakfast options, I searched and searched for a granola bar recipe that wasn’t too crazy. I didn’t want to have to make a trip to Trader Joe’s for native-natural-free range-organic something every time I wanted to make them. I found recipe after recipe and the one I liked the best was from How Sweet It Is and that was my starting point. I adapted it based on our taste and what we had in the pantry.

Seriously, this may be the best granola bar I’ve ever eaten and it is so simple to make

homemade chewy granola bar recipe peanut butterYou want to start with 3 cups of Old Fashion Oats then add 1 cup of Rice Crispie type cereal (the unsweetened kind) to give it little pockets of crunch. Then add 1/2 cup of roughly chopped almonds and mix them all together in a large bowl. Trust me on the large bowl thing. I made that mistake.chewy homemade granola bar recipe Add 1/2 cup of real honey.

granola bar home sweet here hoStir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. It will be sticky, but the honey will fully incorporate into the grains.

homemade peanut butter granola recipeNow comes the fun part. Add 3/4 cup of melted natural peanut butter. If you have not tried natural peanut butter, put it on your list. The flavor is amazing. I’ve tried a few different brands and they are all so yummy. The melted part is as important as the natural part. If you’ve never melted peanut butter, do that too. It’s like heaven from the microwave.

peanut butter homemade granola recipeThrow in your chocolate chips and stir the PB in until it’s all combined. It will still be kind of sticky, but you can tell when it’s ready. Just pour it out into a greased 9×13 pan and press it down with wax paper. You can use your hands, but be prepared to lick.

homemade granola bar recipeBake it in a 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. You’ll be able to smell when it’s done. Let them cool for just a few minutes before enjoying with cold milk. Just be warned, they probably won’t cut in pretty little sticks like Quaker so go with squares. You’ll thank me later. You can also opt not to bake at all. They are gooeyer (real word), but there is nothing wrong with that.

Homemade granola bar recipeAnd to make things even easier, I’ve added a printable recipe for you. I hope you enjoy this yummy treat as much as we have. You can really mix anything you want it in them- different nuts, raisins, cranberries, PB chips, toffee bits. Or dip them in chocolate. The possibilities are limitless.

homemade chewy PB chocolate chip granola recipe

What “healthier” snacks have you been making? If you happen to make these please let me know how they turned out or what you mixed in for fun. Also let me know if you like getting recipes here. I would really like to start doing that more often since cooking is something I absolutely love to do and do it daily. If you would like to see more, please say so! You can leave a comment or send me an email at homesweethere@gmail.com.

Happy Easy Granola Eating!

Easy Christmas Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Alternate Title: I’m too tired to bake a seven layer cake but I still want to make a special Christmas treat.

Peppermint  Bark

Christmas is hard! There I said it. I love it, it’s magical and meaningful and it really is the most wonderful time of year. But if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to feel the “it’s almost Christmas, I’ve only finished half my shopping, none of my wrapping, I didn’t even send Christmas cards, there are tons of year end things happening at work and when I come home I want to fall asleep” time of the year.

It happens. Seven layer cakes are great, but sometimes you just need a quick fix for a Christmas treat. Hello, Peppermint Bark. Easiest recipe ever, but everyone will love you and think you are a culinary rock star. Seriously, I have people who expect this every year and it could not be simpler. Christmas Cheer in a hurry=everyone is happy.

Are you ready? You need White Chocolate Bark and Candy Canes. Unwrap them and crush them up.Peppermint Bark

Melt the chocolate. You can add some peppermint extract if you like, but it’s still good with just plain old yummy white chocolate.peppermint bark

Pour the chocolate out on some wax paper and spread it. Make it thick, thin or however you like it. Then just sprinkle on your peppermint pieces on top and gently pat them down into the chocolate. This year I did the same thing with Oreos. Yum! But use whatever you have. Leftover halloween candy? No one is judging, it’s called repurposing.peppermint bark

Pop it in the fridge. When it’s set, break it into chunks.Peppermint Bark

peppermint barkPackage it cute, spread some Christmas Cheer all around and go to bed happy that you made something homemade and yummy but didn’t spend hours. Go to bed happy with visions of sugarplums peppermint bark dance in your heads.Peppermint Bark

Peppermint  Bark

 Do you have a favorite treat this time of year? Want to see some other yummy recipes? Check out the Recipe Link Party over at Shue Love. Yummmm…

Summer Came Early, Let’s Eat Ice Cream!

I failed pretty miserably at something last year. I hate to admit it, but I just didn’t make enough ice cream. Please don’t hate me, it was an honest mistake.

In order to stop this tragedy from happening this year, I made a deal with myself- when the first lightening bug appeared, I would start the ice cream making. (that’s what some of you call fireflies- they are lightening bugs around here.)

Somehow, a miracale happend in late April. I was taking Avery out for her last potty break before bedtime and I saw it. Just a little twinkle, but it was real and it was there.

And it meant one thing for me: ICE CREAM!

There are not a lot or recipes that are all mine. I cook most days but most of those things come from family, books, magazines or good old food network. But my Ice Cream is all mine and I hope you don’t think I’m a little overconfident when I tell you it is my favorite ice cream on earth. I love it.

When I think homemade ice cream, that means vanilla to me. I make other kinds too, but homemade vanilla is what I grew up on so its what I always start with. So, when I got my ice cream maker several years ago, I started with the classic vanilla recipe that came with it and while it was good- it was not the ice cream in my memories. It tasted too much like heavy cream and not enough like sugar, so I tweaked until I got it perfect, in my (not so humble) opinion.

I guess I should also mention here that I refuse to eat the ice cream with eggs in it. You don’t need that to make it rich and creamy. All you need is four simple ingredients.

1 1/2 cups of Sugar

2 Cups of Whole Milk

2 Cups of Heavy Cream

several splashes of Vanilla

and a cute little pig for company :)

That’s it and it has never failed me. This is also the base of most of my ice creams, but we’ll get to those a bit later in the summer.

Back to the Vanilla. You just want to mix the sugar into the milk with an electric mixer.Then add your vanilla- make sure you use enough. This is vanilla ice cream so you want to taste it. Taste test your mixture until you get enough. 

The next part is highly scientific, but key to perfect texture. Let me show you, then explain…

… now write this down, with a CLEAN FINGER, reach in and see if you feel the sugar. It may be a teeny bit grainy, but if you feel lots of sugar you’re going to want to keep mixing. If you happen to lick your finger after this test, that will also tell you if you got enough vanilla. It’s a win-win. It’s just super important you do your vigorous mixing here because next you want to gently add the cream. Mix this on a very low speed. We’re making ice cream,  not whipped cream. I speak from experience. We’re ready for the magic. Start you cream maker up and pour it in. 

Wait about 25 minutes (or whatever your freezer tells you to) but if you happen to stick a spatula in, you can see how it starts to freeze. You may want to take a little taste test, quality control is of utmost importance when making ice cream. 

Then it is done. And Perfect. 

Remove the stirrer thingy (technical term) and listen as the hallelujah chorus plays in the background. If some falls off, you know what to do. Scrape it all into a container and pop it in the freezer for a couple of hours to get it to that perfect consistency.

As all kinds of physical and chemical changes can happen at this point, you may want to scrape the remaining bits off the freezer…

… examine it carefully just to be sure it is, in fact, perfect. Another taste test may be appropriate here. 

And just to be completely and totally sure you have the best ice cream ever, I always like to enlist the help of my chief taste tester. 

Once all the approvals are granted and you’ve let it hang out in the freezer for a couple hours there is one thing left to do. EAT! I promise you this ice cream is perfect all by itself, but if it happens to find it’s way on top of Pioneer Woman’s Brownies, that isn’t a bad thing either.

And just in case you want to try it and don’t want to scroll through 492 pictures, here’s a handy dandy printable recipe for you.

So what’s you’re favorite homemade ice cream? Do you like simple vanilla like me, or do like to get all wild and crazy and throw in bananas or strawberries? Tis the season so I say we get to eating some ice cream!