Tag Archives: Canola

Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

I’m a big fan of dark chocolate and granola bars. So I decided to combine these in a really yummy granola bar recipe! My recipe was inspired by one I saw at Another Lunch, with a few changes. Instead of using chocolate chips, I used a 4-ounce Ghirardelli 60% cacao dark chocolate bar, chopping it up coarsely. I used coconut oil instead of canola oil, using a few teaspoons more than the original recipe did. And I used puffed brown rice cereal instead of crisp rice cereal.

I love the way they tasted! The only downside is that, after the granola is done baking, it needs to sit overnight to fully set before cutting into bars. If you cut them sooner, they’ll fall apart. They were still slightly crumbly in some places when I cut mine the next morning, but not too bad. I found that when I refrigerated them they held together better, too.

These are great for a quick breakfast (chocolate for breakfast–YES!) or an afternoon snack. They’re easy to take to work or pack in a school lunch if you wrap each bar individually in wax paper after cutting them. Next time I make these, I may add some chopped almonds, too.

This recipe makes 10 to 12 yummy granola bars!

DARK CHOCOLATE GRANOLA BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from Another Lunch

Makes 10 to 12 bars in an 8×8″ pan

  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats (regular oats don’t hold together as well in this)
  • 1/2 cup puffed brown rice or crisp rice cereal
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons  ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, well-packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut oil (or substitute canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (4-ounce) dark chocolate bar, coarsely chopped  (I used a Ghirardelli 60% cacao bar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8″ square pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Mix oats, rice cereal, flaxseed or wheat germ, brown sugar, and salt, blending so ingredients are evenly distributed. Add in the oil, honey, and vanilla, and slowly blend ingredients well, taking your time, so the wet ingredients can “soak” into the dry ingredients and hold together better (you can use a big spoon or even your hands to mix the ingredients). Then stir in the coarsely chopped bar of chocolate, blending so chocolate is evenly distributed. Firmly press mixture into your parchment-lined 8×8″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until top is golden (I baked mine 22 minutes).

Let granola cool completely and set overnight in pan (if you don’t let it set long enough, the granola will fall apart when cutting).

The next morning, lift the granola out of the pan with the edges of the parchment paper.

Using a long, sharp knife, cut into bars…you’ll get 10 to 12, depending on how wide you cut them. I cut mine into 10 bars. The granola was still a little crumbly in some places when I was cutting…these bars are definitely more delicate than the store-bought kind (but I think they taste so much better!).

If you’re not eating the granola bars right away, wrap them up individually in wax paper or a waxy type of sandwich wrap (I got mine at Sam’s Club). You can store them, wrapped, in an airtight container, but I like storing them in the refrigerator better–after mine were in the fridge a bit, they held together better.

Then enjoy your granola bars whenever you’re ready for a great snack!

Do you make your own granola bars? What ingredients do you like putting in yours?

Debbie’s Honey Pecan Granola

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A friend and co-worker of mine, Denise, gave me a yummy homemade gift this past Christmas season…Honey Pecan Granola. And she included the recipe, too, which I was excited about, because I love this granola! Denise got this wonderful recipe from her daughter’s boyfriend’s mother Debbie. She had given Denise the granola last Christmas and it was so good Denise made three batches this year for Christmas gifts! Hence, I am calling this recipe Debbie’s Honey Pecan Granola, and I’m so glad Debbie made it for Denise so Denise could make it for me! 🙂 I’ll want to carry on that tradition myself next year! But it’s a recipe you’ll also want to make throughout the year for your family and friends because it’s not only really good but it’s healthy, too, sweetened with honey and flaked coconut. It’s great for breakfast with milk or mixed in with yogurt. I like to snack on it just the way it is. Denise told me that others told her it was really good as a topping for vanilla ice cream. So it’s a pretty versatile recipe! Thanks, Debbie and Denise, for sharing this!

DEBBIE’S HONEY PECAN GRANOLA

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 225˚F. Combine oats, coconut, and pecans in large bowl.

Microwave oil, honey, and vanilla in small bowl until honey is like the consistency of water, about 1 minute.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and combine well. Spread this onto a 15″ greased sheet pan and bake at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, turning granola every 30 minutes to keep it from over-browning.

Remove from oven and spread onto waxed paper (or parchment paper) to cool.

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What a yummy way to start the day! Do you have a favorite granola recipe?

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Potluck Sunday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Show and Tell, Strut Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Favorite Things Friday, Favorite Things Saturday.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

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I had planned on making a traditional gingerbread recipe for the holidays, but then I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread at Allrecipes.com…it had a 5-star rating, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with this! It makes two 9 x 5″ loaves, and I was so happy with how they turned out! I substituted milk for the water, canola oil for vegetable oil, and added a ginger glaze. If you prefer your quick breads without a glaze, these loaves are so moist and flavorful, they don’t really need one…so you can’t go wrong either way. These loaves take an hour to bake, which is great when the weather is cold…your kitchen gets nice and warm and scented with a great pumpkin-ginger aroma! 🙂

PUMPKIN GINGERBREAD by NancyCreative, adapted from AllRecipes

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 (15- oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5″ loaf pans. In large bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add milk and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean. Let loaves cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely before adding glaze, if desired.

GINGER GLAZE:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons milk or half and half
  • 3/4  to 1 teaspoon ground ginger

In small bowl, blend powdered sugar and milk or half and half; mix until well-blended. Stir in ground ginger and blend well. Drizzle over cooled loaves, as light or heavy as you want. You may have some glaze left over…I always save the extra glaze in a small container and refrigerate it…there’s usually something else I bake later that I can use it on!

But like I said, these loaves are great without glaze, too…you may just want to forget the glaze and eat it warm, fresh out of the oven!
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NOTE: If you want to make mini-loaves for gifts, this recipe makes six 3 x 5″ mini-loaves. Or you could make one large loaf and 3 mini-loaves. The baking time for mini-loaves is about 35 minutes.

Linked to Motivate Me Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, We Did It! Wednesday, Show and Tell, Foodie Friday, Fat Camp FridayFavorite Things Saturday.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

The first time I ever had sweet potato fries was at a restaurant about 8 years ago. They had such a delicious sweet coating…it was kind of like eating a dessert! So I thought I’d try making some baked sweet potato fries, since I don’t eat fried foods much. I looked up some recipes and came up with a few different ways to make this yummy side dish. There are two “versions”–one that’s more spicy and salty and one that’s sweet and slightly spicy. I like them both ways…it just depends if you’re in a sweet or salty mood. 🙂 In my photo up above, the spicy fries are on the plate and the sweet ones are in the small bowl  (my “fries” actually look more like chunks, but you can cut yours into wedges or slices if you want them to look more like fries). They’re both very easy to make and sweet potatoes are so good for you, so you may want to give these two recipes a try!

SPICY BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, wedges or chunky “French Fry” slices
  • 1 1/2  Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

And depending on how spicy you want your fries, you can add these if you like:

  • 1-2 Tablespoons taco seasoning mix (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut up potatoes (an easy way to make wedges is to cut each peeled potato in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 6 wedges). In a plastic ziploc bag, combine the cut sweet potatoes, oil, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper or chili powder, and (optional) taco seasoning and onion powder. Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Spread the  potatoes out in a single layer on a large baking or cookie sheet (if you want easy clean-up, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper).  Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 30 minutes or until the potato edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through (halfway through baking time, turn the fries over using a large spoon so the potatoes will bake more evenly). The thinner  your chunks, wedges, or slices are, the less baking time you’ll need. These taste great just the way they are, but you can also serve them with honey mustard sauce or ketchup for dipping.

SWEET and SLIGHTLY SPICY BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, wedges or chunky “French Fry” slices
  • 1 1/2  Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut up potatoes. In a plastic ziploc bag, combine the cut sweet potatoes, oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper or chili powder. Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Then add 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup to the bag and coat potatoes evenly. Spread the  potatoes out in a single layer on a large baking or cookie sheet (if you want easy clean-up, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper).  Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 30 minutes or until the potato edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through (halfway through baking time, turn the fries over using a large spoon so the potatoes will bake more evenly). When potatoes are done, while still warm, coat the potatoes evenly with an additional 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup (you can place the potatoes in a bowl and toss them with a large spoon to do this). Then serve immediately.

Here are a few more baked sweet potato recipes I’ve come across if you want to try them out…

OVEN SWEET POTATO FRIES (from EatingWell.com)

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss sweet potato wedges with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the wedges out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until browned and tender, turning once during the baking time. Makes 2 servings.

SIMPLE ROASTED SWEET POTATO FRIES (This is very similar to the above recipe, but it makes a bigger batch. I can’t remember the source–sorry!)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Lay each half flat, then cut the potatoes into wedges, about 1/4″ thick. Cut the wider wedges in half or so they are not more than 1/2″ wide. In large bowl, combine the wedges with oil, salt, and pepper (along with garlic powder and paprika, if you’re using those). Mix well, until wedges are well-coated. Lightly grease a baking sheet and roast the wedges at 420 degrees for 30 minutes, turning the wedges over after 15 minutes.

BAKED SWEET & SPICY SWEET POTATO FRIES (adapted from The Cooking Channel)

  • 3 sweet potatoes, washed & scrubbed
  • 3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2-1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • a few grinds of coarse black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar (for garnishing)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • PAM (olive oil flavor)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together oil, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika.

Cut the potatoes into strips (french-fry size) and lay them on a baking sheet. Pour oil mixture over potatoes and toss until evenly coated. Spray with some pam and make sure each strip is hitting the baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over potatoes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until darker and crispy, tossing every 10 minutes. Remove and cool. While cooling, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and garnish with chives. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce–honey mustard is good with these. Makes 4 servings.

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Potluck Sunday, Motivate Me Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Make it Yours Day, Show and Tell, We Did It!, Get Your Craft On Thursday, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Foodie Friday, Favorite Things Friday, Favorite Things Saturday.

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