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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?

2013- The Year of… Granola?

Happy new year everybody!

We hope you all had a fun evening celebrating with your friends and family, and of course eating some good food- we certainly did!

We attended a potluck dinner and brought hummus (obviously) with veggies, turkey chili and corn bread, and the tastiest gluten-free healthified sugar cookies you’ve ever tasted (assuming that you’ve already tried healthy gluten-free sugar cookies…) We also failed to take any photos of it, but never fear, we will have the recipe for those cookies for you soon… we promise!

Today, instead we will be talking about a recipe that we’ve had waiting in the wings for quite a while, that we’ve been saving for when all the Christmas hype begins to die down a bit.

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And that recipe is peanut butter granola.

A humble recipe, yes, but delicious nonetheless, and definitely worth the effort of making home-made granola (which isn’t a very intensive process, anyways).

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And if you’ve made a new year’s resolution to improve your diet, then you’ve come to the right place, because this granola is much lower in sugar and fat than traditional granola, but still offers that deliciously satisfying crunch that we crave in a good granola.

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And like our previous granola recipes, we used a mixture of oats, Kamut, and spelt flakes.  When we posted about our pumpkin granola, we received a very informative comment about Kamut that we wanted to share with you all:

Yum! Yum! Yum! Your pumpkin pie granola sounds delicious and looks so pretty! I represent Kamut International and am so pleased to see that you are using KAMUT® Brand flakes in the recipe. I wanted to let you and your followers know that “KAMUT” is actually a trademarked name for an ancient variety of organically grown wheat.

KAMUT® Brand khorasan is an organic, non-genetically modified, ancient wheat variety similar to durum. In 1990, “KAMUT” was registered as a trademark by the Quinn family in order to support organic farming and preserve the ancient khorsasan wheat variety. Under the KAMUT® Brand name, khorasan wheat must always be grown organically, never be hybridized or modified, and contain high levels of purity and nutrition. Today, Kamut International owns and has registered the KAMUT® trademark in over 40 countries, and is responsible for protection and marketing of all KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat throughout the world.

KAMUT® khorasan is grown on dryland certified organic farms primarily in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. The grain is prized by consumers who appreciate the grain for its high energy nutrition, easy digestibility, nutty/buttery taste, and firm texture. KAMUT® khorasan wheat is higher in protein, selenium, amino acids, and Vitamin E than most modern wheat and contains essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. It is used as whole grain berries, whole grain flour, white flour, flakes, and puffs to make a variety of products. Some specific benefits of using KAMUT® khorasan are receiving more nutrients, protein, and taste than conventional whole wheat – plus supporting organic agriculture and helping to preserve an ancient grain.

Interesting, isn’t it?  That comment came from Jamie Ryan Lockman– thanks Jamie! 🙂

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We think we’ve come up with our new year’s resolution- eat more granola! 🙂

Peanut Butter Granola

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Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20-30 minutes
Makes: 1 large Mason Jar

Ingredients:

1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. Kamut Flakes
1/2 c. Spelt flakes
3/4 c. dry-roasted peanuts
pinch of salt
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375F

In a large bowl, combine oats, kamut and spelt flakes, peanuts and salt.  In a separate bowl blend the honey, peanut butter and water together until you have a “syrup”.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything is evenly coated.  Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes.

~twosaucysisters

What did you do for New Year’s? What are your resolutions for 2013? Some of our resolutions are to stretch more, write down all of our recipes, and eat more granola, of course!

Risky Business

Cooking can be risky business.

Sometimes you get a great idea for a meal, you decide what ingredients you need to use to make it, you get into the kitchen, and you fail miserably.  For whatever reason the stars just don’t align for you that day.

And then other times, you get a sort-of idea for a meal, wander around your kitchen opening the cupboards and the fridge gathering ingredients on a whim, and magically everything comes together and you realize you’ve made a masterpiece!

Well that’s what happened to me the other day when I made this:

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Butternut Squash and Chickpea Peanut Stew!

So here’s the story:

Julie went for a run, but I am currently off the running scene.  Apparently I managed to either strain my oblique muscles or get a stress fracture in my ribs (it has yet to be determined) while I was sleeping, so running is out of the question for a while.  It’s not cool.

But let’s not talk about me, let’s get back to this stew!

While Julie was out running, I went for a walk.  And naturally, I spent my walk thinking about what I was going to make for dinner!  What else does one think about when they’re by themselves?

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Did I mention that it was cold outside?  I don’t know what the weather’s like where you live, but here in southwestern Ontario winter has definitely arrived.

And what does that mean?

Soup, stew, and everything warm and comforting, that’s what! 🙂

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So I walked around the kitchen just pulling things off shelves, and this is what happened- a big bowl full of sweet chunks of butternut squash, crisp peppers, sauteed onions, and buttery chickpeas, all in a smooth, peanut-infused broth.

So. Freakishly. Delicious.

I’m giving myself a pat on the back for this one 🙂

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And did I mention this is one of the first meals we’ve made using our new-found peanut flour?  Julie and I searched high and low for peanut flour, and we finally found it!  Don’t be surprised to see it pop up in several recipes over the next little while 🙂

But if you don’t have peanut flour, never fear!  You could easily add some peanut butter to the broth (a 1/4 c. would probably be sufficient), just make sure that you add some other flour or corn starch or xanthan gum to the broth so it will thicken a bit.

So that’s the story of how this soup came about.  I scored some serious sister-of-the-year points when Julie came home to a steaming bowl of this stuff 🙂

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Peanut Stew

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Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 c. diced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 c. cubed butternut squash
1/2 c. diced sweet peppers
1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas
2/3 c. milk (we used regular 1%, but any unflavoured non-dairy milk will work, coconut milk would also be fabulous!)
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 c. peanut flour
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
siracha sauce (optional)
crushed peanuts (for topping)

Directions:

In a pot, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until onions begin to turn translucent,  about 4-5 minutes.

Add garlic, ginger, squash, and peppers, and cook until squash becomes soft, about 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together milk, soy sauce, and lime juice.  Gradually whisk in the peanut flour, stirring vigorously to avoid clumps.

Once the squash is cooked through, add the chickpeas and the broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide into two bowls, and top with siracha sauce (if you like things spicy!) and crushed peanuts, if desired.

~Brit

ps- Today is December 1st.  Get ready for a whole lot of eggnog, cranberries, and all things red and green!