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No-Bake No-Problem

So, we’re about to open another post talking about the weather.  We hate to be repetitive or predictable, but really, the weather has so much of an effect on what we eat that it really must be mentioned!  At least in this post, anyways.

Because today we’re talking about these:

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No-bake peanut butter banana granola bars!

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You see, we try to always have quick snacks in the house that we can toss into our lunch bags when we go to work.  Lately, though, we’ve been on a huge muffin-kick.  Remember these?  So what do muffins have to do with the weather?  Nothing.  Except that they require an oven…

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And you might recall us mentioning a couple times the heat-wave we experienced a few weeks ago.  Definitely not muffin-baking weather.  Which is where these granola bars come in.

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Our first attempt at these granola bars was made during said heat-wave.  Unfortunately, while they tasted really good, they fell apart very easily and so we knew we needed to give them another try before we gave the recipe to you guys.

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But then the heat wave came to a very abrupt end (as in the temperature literally dropped by about 20 degrees Celsius overnight), and suddenly not using the oven wasn’t such a priority.  But we had already made one attempt, and we knew we couldn’t back down from the challenge!

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On the second attempt, the stars aligned and they turned out just the way we wanted!  Don’t you love it when that happens?

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Confession:  The first time we made these they had chocolate chips in them.  The second time around we went to put chocolate in them again and realized we were all out- yes, it was a shock to us too- so these ones are chocolate-free.  But adding chocolate chips is highly recommended.

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So we’ve put muffin-mania on hold for a few days, because right now we’re all about the no-bake granola bars!  Our oven could use a little vacation, anyways 😉

No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Granola Bars

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Makes: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, divided
2 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seed*)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1 ripe banana, mashed
1.2 c. peanut butter (we used all-natural)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 c. chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Grind one cup of the oats in a blender or food processor until it is a fine flour.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oats with the remaining 2 cups of whole oats, chia seeds, salt and chopped peanuts.

In a separate bowl combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla and stir until it is smooth and fully mixed.  Pour the peanut butter banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain.  You may add the chocolate chips at this point if you are using them.

Line a 9×9 inch square glass dish with wax paper.  Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to firm up.  When they are ready, use the edge of the wax paper to gently lift the un-cut bars out of the dish.  Cut into 12 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*You can use ground flax seed in place of chia seeds, however we have not personally tried this and cannot guarantee the bars will stay together as well.  If you decide to give this a try, please let us know how they turn out!

~twosaucysisters

What are your favourite no-bake treats?  Have you ever tried making no-bake granola bars?

Simple Sunday: The Half-time Snack

Today is a big day in our household: aka it’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as manager of Manchester United! What an incredible man who has done so much for not just United but for soccer and the English Premier League in general. Alex, we will miss you!

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Yesterday was also a big day in the game of soccer, because it was David Beckham’s last game of his 20 year career! Not only did he have an incredible career, being the only english player to win major league titles in 4 different countries, but he’s probably the most famous and celebrated players of all-time. We wonder why…? 😉

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Oh, David, how we will miss watching you run around on the soccer pitch!

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of soccer watching here lately, and with games being at least 90 minutes long, half-time snacks are a requirement. After all, to cheering takes a lot of energy, right?

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A few weeks back, we posted a recipe for salsa and mentioned how we would do a Simple Sunday post about our home-made tortilla chips – well, here they are! 🙂

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These are about as simple as they get, people! There are only 4 ingredients, and they take 15 minutes tops to make. All you need are some tortillas (we like to use the small ones best), lemon or lime juice, course salt (sea or kosher) and pepper. That’s it!

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These are great for when you want chips and salsa (or nachos) but don’t have any on-hand, or if you want chips that are full of flavour but much lower in sodium than their store-bought counterpart.

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So whatever your sport, grab some salsa and get snackin’!

Home-made tortilla Chips

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Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 12-15min

Ingredients:

Your favourite tortillas
Lemon or Lime Juice
Sea salt (or kosher)
Ground black pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Spread the tortillas across a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the tortillas into triangles. You don’t have to cut all the way through them, just enough to draw lines so that they will easily snap once baked.
Put in the oven and bake for 8min, then flip the tortillas over and bake for another 3-5min, until golden and crispy.
Serve with your favourite salsa and enjoy!

~twosaucysisters

What’s your favourite game-time snack?

Meatless Monday and More Granola

Hey everyone!

So today marks week 2 of the blueberry edition Heather’s Meatless Monday party, which requires us not to make a new recipe with blueberries, but to choose one of the other participant’s recipes to make.

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With so many amazing-looking recipes, it was really hard to choose one!  Since we went the sweet route last Monday, we decided to make a more savoury blueberry dish this time around.  We still had a big bunch of cilantro left over from our salsa-making expeditions, and had just bought some fresh tomatoes at the grocery store, so when we saw Lindsay’s blueberry salsa we knew it was meant to be!

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What a fabulous recipe!  It had just the right amount of balance between sweet and savoury, and the perfect level of heat- and it came just in time since we had just run out of our own salsa 🙂  Thanks Lindsay!

And of course don’t forget to head on over to visit Heather at Better With Veggies to check out what everyone else has been up to this week!

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Now on to the other half of this post! Which is, if you haven’t already deduced from the title, more granola!

Now when you read this recipe some of you might think “wait a second- this recipe is almost the exact same as their banana tahini granola recipe!”  And you’re right.  It is basically the exact same, just with a few ingredient swaps.  So yes, we admit it, this is a bit of a cop-out recipe, but when you find a formula that works, why change it, right?

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To be honest, we weren’t planning on giving you this recipe so soon after posting about our banana-tahini granola (in hopes that you wouldn’t notice how similar they are ;)) but after mentioning it in yesterday’s post and then tantalizing you with pictures of such a pretty-looking parfait, we felt we couldn’t hold out on you any longer…

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So yes, this granola is basically a copy-cat of our last granola recipe, but we think it’s equally as delicious, so we’re not too upset about that 🙂

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So there you have it, folks- granola version 2.0- perfect for layering in an apple parfait, or just for eating by the handful 😉

Apple Cinnamon Granola

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Makes: ~5 cups

Ingredients:

3 c. large-flake rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c. unsweetened almond butter
2/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg white
1/2 c. raisins

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350C.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until evenly mixed.

In another smaller bowl, whisk the apple sauce and almond butter together until smooth.  Add the maple syrup and egg white and mix until everything is fully combined.  Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry spots left.

Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared pan, pressing down slightly.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir, breaking up the granola slightly, but leaving several large chunks.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven again and stir the granola so that the darker pieces are moved to the bottom and some of the less-baked pieces are exposed.  Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will get crispier as it cools).

~twosaucysisters

Do you have a go-to base recipe for anything that you like to use to make variations?

 

Study Breaks

As I type this post, I’m listening to Christmas music! I know, I know, It’s exams Julie, you should be studying! But you see, I am a firm believer in taking breaks and relaxing a little during exam time. I’m not one of those people who can sit down for six (or more!) hours straight and study. I max out at two hours, and then my brain starts to get all fuzzy and I can’t absorb anything. This exam period I have two types of study breaks: Running ones and blog related ones. I obviously adore my running breaks, for the getting to see my friends part just as much as the actual run itself! I also love my blogging breaks, as they result in something like this:

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Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash!

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Or as I like to call it – Squash stuffed with Christmas! Seriously, I have fallen in love with cranberries! They are tangy, ever-so-slightly sweet and bursting with flavour. To me, they are one of those flavours that sort of embody Christmas. Like eggnog, peppermint and clementines, they have a way of getting me in the spirit!

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Delicious! Unfortunately, I have procrastinated long enough – back to studying!

Cranberry, Pear, Lentil and Millet Stuffed Squash

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Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 acorn or peppercorn squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
dash salt
pinch pepper

1/2 c. red lentils
1/2 c. millet
3 c. water

3 c. kale
1/2 c. cranberries
1 pear
1/4 c. onion
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/3 c. walnuts

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375F.  Cut your squash in half, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the squash cut-side down on a tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

Place the red lentils, millet, and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until the lentil an millet is cooked and most of the water is soaked up.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat a drop of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion, pear, and cranberries and cook until the onion is translucent and the cranberries begin to split.  Add the garlic and kale and saute for another few minutes until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and dash of salt and cook for another couple minutes.

When the lentils and millet are finished cooking, add them to the pan with the cranberries, onions and kale and stir to combine.  Stir in the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is heated through and and the liquid is evaporated.

Place the walnuts on an oven-safe plate and place in the oven for the last 10 minutes of cook-time with the squash, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

When the squash are done, remove them from the oven and flip over.  (be careful- they’ll be hot!)  Fill each half with as much filling as you can fit.  (you’ll have leftover filling, but don’t worry- it makes for great leftovers on top of salad!)

Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and an extra drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

~Julie@twosaucysisters

What do you do when you take study/work “breaks”?  What kinds of foods get you into the Christmas spirit?