Whole Wheat Apricot Jam Granola Bars

IMG_2312
Confession … I am a fool for everything and anything that contains oats. Whether it be a breakfast, lunch or dinner dish, I could literally eat oat themed meals all day, everyday, and have zero problems with it. Long story short, I am an oatmeal addict. There I said it…

We have had this conversation to some extent before, but I feel like I have never really confessed just how deeply my love for all things oat related in quite so much detail. So hey – I mean as long as we’re being really honest here – I guess I should tell you that I actually have no problem eating raw oats on their own. Yup, that’s right – believe it or not, I actually find raw oats to be incredibly delicious and sometimes I eat them with a spoon straight from my oatmeal jar . Ahh… that felt so good to get that off my chest ūüėÄ

Are you thinking to yourself … “this girl has gone bananas” yet? Well, then I guess this will make you think that I am double crazy time, but I gladly sit down to an extra large bowl of warm oatmeal Every. Single. Morning. Mhmmm , I never miss an oat-meal…. {bad pun definitely intended} ūüėÄ

Cole on the other hand is a little less than enthused to sit down to a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. In fact that is probably the last thing that he wants to see on the breakfast table when he is in a hungry-bear man mood in the morning. It’s not that he wouldn’t eat the whole bowl if it was his only option for food… but, let’s just say it takes a little more pizzazz when it comes to getting him excited about consuming his required daily amounts of whole grain, oaty goodness. But it’s okay because I’m always up for the challenge…

Read More

Dark Chocolate Mocha Granola

1426017073

Stop what you are doing right now, and prepare to be floored by the most amazing granola ever! Okay that may be a slight exaggeration and I don’t want to be making claims that I can’t back up seeing as how I really haven’t tried all of the granola’s of the world- but this granola is pretty damn delicious if I do say so myself!

Not only is this granola damn delicious, but it is also made with healthy, all-natural ingredients! That’s right I said healthy, all-natural and delicious… has your mind been officially blown? Probably not, because if you are reading this post I am sure you are already well aware that healthy can be ultra delicious, but for the few of you out there who are skeptical, let this be your first lesson in the¬†deliciousness¬†that is healthy eating!

So one morning I was thinking to myself… I could really use a mocha right about now… but the reasonable part of my brain was telling me that I should really curb my need to caffeine and eat a good healthy breakfast instead, and then the genius in me was like… put your hands together my friend... and thus the idea for this granola was born.¬†So instead of filling myself up with a 400 calorie mocha from Starbucks (which is literally a meal in itself, so I could forget about having some actual food on top of that) I decided that chocolate and espresso infused granola was the perfect answer to my dilemma.¬†Now ordinarily I would not refer to myself as a genius… but I really do think that in this instance the title is justified.

But I didn’t just want to make any old granola – I wanted to make a granola that at its core is super healthy, and made extra delicious with just the small additions of chocolate and espresso. I mean really… how can you really go wrong with dark chocolate and espresso?

1426017136

Dark Chocolate Mocha Granola

Things you need…¬†
2 oz dates
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
1 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp freshly ground espresso
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

How to make…¬†
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Set dates into a bath of warm water and allow so stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine maple syrup, peanut butter, molasses and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add espresso powder and cocoa powder and mix until cocoa powder is completely combined.

Once dates are finished hydrating, put them in a food processor or blender and puree until pasty. Stir into wed ingredients until moistened. Add the rolled oats, coconut, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Stir until oats are fully coated. Stir in almonds until evenly distributed.

Spread mixture onto prepared baking pan to make an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes being sure to stir the granola 2-3 times every 7 minutes or so to encourage even baking/crisping.

The granola will still be a bit soft when you remove it from the oven, but it will get crunchy as it cools. Lift the parchment paper from the pan and set it on a large cooling rack and allow the granola to cool completely.

Once the granola is cooled, break it into smaller bite sized chunks and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

9824167

So there is the recipe for this incredibly delicious, healthy and just downright addicting granola! Seriously, please exercise caution when making this recipe, because once you try it… it’s almost impossible to stop eating those espresso and chocolate infused chunks of deliciousness. I am one of those people who just keeps eating “one more little chunk,” until I look down at the tray and oh look at that, I’ve gone and eaten the whole tray to myself -oops… I mean, this doesn’t happen to me :S

Before I sign off for today I want to leave you with just a few of my favourite ways to enjoy this tasty granola! There are so many ways to pair it with other delicious foods that make it even better (if that’s even possible.) Here are a couple of my favourite ways to it…

1. All by its gorgeous self!
(This granola really is a slam dunk all on its own)

2. Mix it up with some dried banana chips, a few pretzels (and possibly a few yogurt chips)
(This makes for an amazing homemade trail mix!)

3. Warmed up with some skim,  almond or coconut milk
(Nommmmm…. that’s why – oh and calcium muaha !!!)

4. Half a cup served over a helping of 2 % plain greek yogurt!
 (Feel free to check off your fibre, protein and caffein intake for the day in a single bowl with this one!)

5. I love to eat it with a little helping of peanut butter
(because… Well I really don’t think this needs explanation :p)

6. ¬†Last but not least… lets get desserty!!
One of my favourite ways to eat this granola is atop of a little (large) dollop of freshly whipped cream
with a freshly sliced banana… seriously this is the ultimate in somewhat healthy desserts.

I’m sure there are about a million more ways to eat this amazing granola, that I haven’t tried, so please whip up a batch and share your ideas with me! I would love to hear them… and obviously try them!

Happy Baking!

KP xoxo