Um, yeah, it's the day after Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, and it's currently a sweltering 93 degrees Fahrenheit here along the coast in Orange County. Wahhhh! So hot! (I commend those of you who live in normally-warm temperatures. I'm a wimp-wimp.) But, I cannot wait for autumn to start--the cooler temperatures, the dark and early evenings, the pumpkin EVERYTHING!
What's been new since my last post a million months ago? Not too many classes as I did finish up my MS courses. I taught (and graded) a lot as I was a teaching assistant for two quarters. I started my dietetic internship this summer, the summer of the HUMIDITY. I learned lots this summer through the different experiences that I had, met and worked with lots of fantastic people, and I'm incredibly excited to be starting my clinical rotation in two weeks! EEK!
I remember the last time I was on a very good schedule with my blog posting--when I was at UCI. I'd be writing and editing posts sitting there in BC's Commons in-between classes. I am SO going to be on a schedule this next year since I'll be in my rotations. Thus, I'm hoping to get back into a groove with my writing and sharing posts with you. Ooh, just one more year! Hopefully, this time next year I'll have the initials "MS, RD" after my name. Woot-woot!
Now, onto the good stuff. I'm excited about this recipe because it's super scrumptious, so easy to make with hardly any cooking at all, and great to eat when you're on-the-go. It's a no-bake granola bar, which is definitely a plus when you don't want to fire up the oven! OMG, so hot :-(
These bars are definitely great to have on hand if you're going to be sitting in traffic for awhile, too! One of the most delightful bits about this is that you can add in anything you want. You can add nuts, dried cherries, chopped banana chips, dried strawberries, use almond butter or cashew butter, whatever your heart desires. I used peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries, soaked dates, quick-cooking oats (really not sure why I had these on hand instead of old-fashioned rolled oats but they worked just fine), and ground flaxseed. I have a boatload of flaxseed. Why? Well, one day, I was at the store and saw it, remembering that I had used up what I had left on my banana bread, so I bought it. A few weeks later, I was at Sprouts and saw that ground flaxseed was on sale, and you know me and sales. I go to put it away in my cupboard and hmm, there's already bag in there that looks awfully familiar. Now, I'm holding in my two hands two bags of unused Bob's Red Mill Ground Flaxseed. D'oh!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cranberry Oat Bars
Thank you to Daisy at Simplicity Relished for this recipe. You won't regret it. The basics of it are:
1. In a small saucepan, heat together your peanut/almond/cashew butter with the honey. Brown rice syrup and agave nectar would work, as well.
2. Pulverize your moist dates (I had to soak mine in hot water for about 10 minutes) in a food processor until it becomes a paste.
3. Add the oats into your mixing bowl and then add the warm liquid mixture as well as your date paste. Mix it around using a paddle attachment or work those muscles of yours using a wooden spoon.
4. I like to add the fixings in the bowl because I like them dispersed throughout and not just on top. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined; it'll probably be a touch on the sticky side.
5. Place parchment paper in the quadrilateral pan of your choice. I used a 9" x 13" having doubled the recipe. If you're going to follow the recipe as is, an 8" x 8" should be just peachy. Make sure the paper extends beyond the pan and that it is pushed into all the edges.
6. Scoop out your entire granola mixture onto the prepared pan and using wet hands/fingers (just moistened with water is fine), pat it into an even layer. Now would be the time to smush extra ingredients into the top if you'd like!
7. Refrigerate for at least one hour (I did it for 24 hours) and then lift the paper out and simply cut into your desired size of granola bar.
If you noticed this was vegan, you would be correct. I've been digging the vegan fare for awhiles now and am always enjoying the experimentation process. These bars are packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids (thank you, flaxseed), and even antioxidants from the dark chocolate chips I used. Another plus is that they're gluten-free. Just make sure to buy gluten-free oats if you're making it for someone with Celiac!