Healthy granola bars

I’ve been searching and trying recipes for a couple months now for a healthy crunchy granola bar recipe that both me and the boys enjoy. I spend so much money at the store on a small box of granola bars and it’s very hard to find ones that aren’t loaded with unhealthy sugars and extra additives. I’ve found a few different store options, but they are expensive and last about a day in my house. I’m always bringing bars with us to the park and like to have them for school snacks too. After trying a few different recipes, I finally found one yesterday from Well Plated that was delicious, easy, healthy, and had that crunch I’d been looking for. They were a hit by all in the house and I anticipate making another batch this week. I’ll probably experiment with adding different seeds and nuts the next round and maybe even some dried fruit.

healthy granola bars

Tips

When I first took these out of the oven, I thought they were going to be a bust. The recipe tells you to cut them immediately out of the oven but leave them on the parchment paper until completely cooled. When I first made my cut, they started to crumble a bit and I thought, “Oh man, this is going to end up just being granola.” But after that I let them be. Once cooled off completely they firmed up and stuck together making them easy to pull apart into individual bars. I recommend using honey for all homemade granola bar recipes. I love to use maple syrup and agave as sweeteners in recipes, but honey is much more binding and helps the granola bars stay together.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts, but next time I think I will try almonds)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I think for fall I’m going to try pumpkin seeds this week)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (unsweetened is key to keep these healthy!)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Mix together oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes on a rimmed, ungreased pan and bake for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat honey and peanut butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until smoothly combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Add oat mix to the honey peanut butter mix.
  4. You can add chocolate chips but let the mixture cool first or they will melt.
  5. Turn down oven to 300.
  6. Line a 8 or 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper so that two sides of the paper overhang the ends. You want to be able to lift up the entire sheet once cooked and cooled with the edges.
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and press down with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 20 minutes will make them crunchier, 15 more chewy. With the bars still on the pan use a knife to cut them into the desired size bars. Leave them alone afterwards until completely cooled. Once cooled lift up the entire thing with the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Cut them again on your lines and pull them apart.
  9. These will store for up to 1 week at room temperature or 2 weeks in the fridge. They get extra crunchy when you put them in the fridge!

Super easy protein waffles

These waffles have been a go to of mine for years now. I love them, my boys love them, they are super healthy, super easy, and only involve 4 ingredients…all huge wins for this mom! I love to make a batch on a Sunday and have them for go to grab breakfasts for the week, perfect for school mornings. To reheat them I usually just pop them in the toaster for a minute and they taste like they did on day one coming off the waffle iron. My son goes back and forth between having maple syrup and whip cream on it for his topping. As you can see, he tends to go a little overboard when I give him the freedom to do it on his own ;-). Feel free to experiment with adding extras in, like cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice seasoning etc. to give them a little extra flavor.

Protein waffles

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Throw all ingredients in a blender, or a bowl if you only have an immersion blender.
  2. Blend till smoothed.
  3. Use 1/2 cup batter per waffle. Throw on waffle iron and enjoy!

Blender hack

I used to have a Vitamix which was my all-time favorite kitchen tool. But my ex amongst other things destroyed it. I miss it so much. I haven’t wanted to spend the money on another blender yet, will probably get something relatively inexpensive like a Ninja. If you don’t have a blender but have an immersion blender you can also blend it in a bowl. It’s not quite as simple as throwing it all in a blender, but it works!

Enjoy 🙂

Meal prep for the busy mom: Stay-at-Home Mom side hustle

Whoa, life has been BUSY these past couple weeks. With the start of school for my oldest, family visiting, birthday parties and more, it’s been a minute since I’ve found the time to sit down and write about all that’s going on in life. I’m feeling pretty stressed these days, trying to find some balance in my life with all that’s going on. I’m trying to make a new life for my little family, trying to find a job after 8 years at home, and it’s not easy. But, in the midst of all the chaos, I also have a new opportunity that I began this week that I’m pretty excited about! I’m looking forward to sharing this new journey with you as it grows, evolves and becomes whatever it may be ;-). I don’t have a name yet for this new side gig, but I’m thinking something on the line of, “Meal Prepping Momma for all you Busy Mommas.” I’m not so great with names, so by all means, if you have one, help this momma out ;-).

new beginnings

A couple weeks ago a friend I grew up with connected me with one of her mom friends who was looking for some childcare help. If you’ve been following my journey, you probably know that my ex has left me any boys with no financial means to stand on. I’m actively looking for employment opportunities, but with no money at all for childcare, and no car, well it’s been challenging. I’ve been extremely frustrated these past few weeks with the legal process. It’s been almost 6 months and I still have not been granted rights to the proceeds from our home, assets, accounts etc. The legal system is so maddening at times, but I’ll save more on that part of my life for another post.

Embracing new opportunities

Today I want to talk about something exciting, as I haven’t had a lot of that in recent months! As I was chatting with this mom, we began talking about health and wellness and how I love helping other moms get fit and healthy. She told me that having healthy family meals and prioritizing nutrition more for her family is a priority, but she finds herself having little time and motivation to cook. When she asked me if I would be interested in being paid to meal prep for her family one day a week I jumped at the opportunity. Not only do I love helping other families eat clean, but it also has forced me to explore and try out some new recipes for my family as well. It’s a work in progress and we’re still trying to figure out what will work best for both of us, but yesterday was my first day and I feel like it was a success. She sent me an email end of last week with her wish list for this week. I took what she was looking for, researched recipes, came up with a food list and sent it to her. She stopped and got any items that she didn’t have on my list before I got there yesterday.

Clean eating for the whole family

This week she was looking for a healthy breakfast to have on hand for the week, protein balls for the kids, a healthy veggie dip, chili, and a stuffed cabbage recipe. We discussed things like reducing sugar intake and staying away from processed foods. Over the past few years, I’ve worked with a lot of moms and families who find it challenging to find easy healthy meals that everyone in the house will eat. I love a challenge. I love trying to find recipes that will not only be good for you, but also be loved by both grownups and kids. Eating healthy, nutrient dense food doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. It doesn’t take hours in the kitchen each day, but if you put a little work in one day a week it can make a huge difference. Mornings with kids for me are difficult so I personally like to have a couple healthy breakfast items prepped for the week. I also find when my kids eat a nutritious breakfast it really sets their mood and energy for the day, so making sure they start their day off right is a priority for me. After my oldest got on the bus yesterday I headed over to her house and got to work. She has a beautiful kitchen which was fun to play around in. It took me a little while to figure out where everything was etc., so I think next week will go much more smoothly.

I’ll be sharing my recipes that I prep for this family each week under my fitness tab! If you’re looking for some yummy, healthy family recipes be sure to check in there weekly to see my latest finds. I’ll give you my honest feedback, which recipes were a keeper, and also ones that I would adjust and how!