Ring-ring! “Hey girl, can I call you back? I’m making chocolate-dipped granola bars.”
“…oh my God, who ARE you???”
Apparently, I am a girl that bakes homemade granola bars in her spare time. Don’t be too impressed; it’s honestly not that big of a deal. Anyone who’s made their own granola before can tell you how cheap and easy it is. Turning that granola into convenient, portable bars takes just a few more steps:
1. Add something sticky and gooey to the granola.
2. Bake said granola.
3. Cut said granola into bars.
4. Dip bars into high quality chocolate.
The one trick is waiting for the granola to cool before you cut it — if you’re impatient and try to cut too early, you risk ending up with a (delicious) heap of crumbly clusters instead of the handy bars you intended.
Granola is especially substitution-friendly, so use whatever ingredients make sense to you. I used a mix of almond, pecans, and blueberry craisins here, but any another combination of nuts and dried fruit would work just as well. I used agave nectar to bind everything together; honey and maple syrup are great alternatives.
These sweet, nutty granola bars are the perfect energy-packed snack get you through a long afternoon. Recipe after the jump!
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I have some version of this strawberry salad for lunch almost every day. I love salads like this for a couple of reasons.
1. Size matters: This thing is ENORMOUS. It’s not some piddling side salad that will leave you feeling even hungrier than you were before you ate. This is a salad mountain, my friends. After this meal, you’ll feeling full and satisfied — not deprived.
2. Looks matter too: Honestly, what a gorgeous meal. You’ll get compliments on it, I promise. And guess what? Those colorful veggies aren’t just pretty. All those beautiful colors mean nutrients. This strawberry salad will do nothing but good things for you.
3. Simple and convenient: Like I said earlier, I make a salad like this for lunch every day. I’m a working woman, so that means I have to make it travel. It’s super easy. In the morning, I toss the dressing ingredients together in a little bottle. I put the mixed greens in one container and the chopped vegetables in another. Done and done. When I get hungry, I plate it. It doesn’t get much easier (or cheaper!) than that.
I really like this version because the strawberries and chopped almonds make the salad just a little bit special. In spite of the cold weather, it makes me feel like spring is just around the corner. The lemon-basil dressing is the perfect complement to the flavors of the salad. It’s bright and clean and subtly sweet — just the thing for those juicy strawberries.
Here’s the recipe. Read more… →
As I’ve said many times before, I do not consider myself to be a baker. Mastering the bakery arts (…that’s a thing, right?) requires a combination of precision and fearlessness that I’m not sure I have yet. So when I bake, I tend to cheat. These pumpkin spice cupcakes are a prime example. Boxed cake mix is one of my favorite shortcuts. Just add a little pumpkin purée and water to the mix, bake, and voilà! Perfectly moist pumpkin spice cupcakes every time.
Frosting is another matter. While store-bought frosting definitely has its place (I love a sugary sheetcake as much as the next girl), frosting is usually a lot better when you make it from scratch. Besides, it really couldn’t be simpler to do. For these pumpkin cupcakes, I thought a maple-infused cream cheese frosting would be just the thing.
Girlll lemme tell you. This maple cream cheese frosting was so good I had to call my mama about it. Topped with some buttery, lightly salted, roasted pecans? MMM. Oh, and did I mention that you get all this deliciousness for under 140 calories? Oh yeah. You want this recipe. Read more… →