Sunday, July 15, 2012

Granola bars you'll actually WANT to eat!

Well here I am. I promised! And I'm about to roll out one of the original Celiac Sisterhood recipes...tried and tested time after time, until it was finally ready to share with all of you. 

You may remember the first time I posted about these granola bars. My messy, sticky, gooey, complete-and-total-mess granola bars. It was way back in August 2011. If you missed it and care to see it, you can find it here. If you don't care to, then don't! Fine! No one's making you! 


Gluten-free granola bars are hard to find. The frustrating thing is, granola bars may APPEAR gluten-free on the ingredient lists; but if the oats used in the bars are not 100% "clean" gluten-free oats, then you're out of luck. And you'll end up spending the rest of your day in the bathroom crying for relief from the pain and cursing out Nature Valley. (I'm not speaking from experience or anything...)

These granola bars have it all...sweet & salty, crunchy & moist...chocolate, cranberries, almonds and honey. So good! So, after much tweaking, and many pans of granola bars, we have perfected this recipe. Read on, and are going to love these!

Granoli Bars

3 1/3 cups gluten-free oats (I buy mine at Trader Joe's: $3.99 for 2lbs of clean GF oats!)
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup Jules all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins are best)
1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (I use Nestle chunks!)
1 cup almonds (chopped)
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
1/2 cup almond butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease the sides and bottom of a 13" by 9" pan with Pam cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine all dry ingredients - oats, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, cranberries, chocolate, and walnuts - in a large mixing bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, almond butter, vanilla & honey thoroughly until combined. Pour butter mixture over dry mix and stir to thoroughly combine.
Pour into prepared pan.
Spray a large piece of wax paper with Pam cooking spray and place over granola mixture. Press down firmly into pan, making an even, firm bar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until sides and top of granola bars are browned slightly.
Cool COMPLETELY before attempting to cut them. Be patient, it will pay off! Otherwise they will fall apart since they are inherently gooey and sticky. They MUST cool. I refrigerate mine before cutting them and it works very well.

So. Darn. Yummy.

They keep very well in the fridge. Store them in zip sandwich baggies for easy on-the-go snacks you can stick in your purse! Or man-purse, if the case may be. :) 

Sweet & Salty goodness!



An Explanation, a Miracle, and the Empty Blog...

Hello dears. Erica here!

It has been months since I sat at this computer for the sole purpose of blogging! Several months. ten months, to be exact. TEN! That makes me feel quite ill, considering how passionate I am about food, cooking, and baking gluten-free, and how much I love helping other Celiacs find food and life again. 

The time that I was absent from this blog - September 30, 2011 to now - were very busy months for me and my family. The other half of the Celiac Sisterhood (Cait) finally had her liver transplant on October 11, 2011. Her dear friend, Janelle, donated 60% of her healthy liver to Cait. The liver did not take, and we almost lost Cait about 4 days after the first transplant, but her life was saved thanks to Jesus' hand and the incredible skilled doctors at MGH. She was then put back on the waiting list for another liver. We were broken. But God gave us another miracle...Cait received a whole, healthy liver after being on the list for just 8 hours.

8 hours. People spend the rest of their lives on these lists. And she waited 8 hours.

A young man in Massachusetts died in a car crash that day. And because of his selfless decision to donate life when his own life ended, Cait got a 2nd transplant. And this one took.

And she lived. She's alive, healthy, whole, and thriving. To say we are thankful would be an understatement. We will always hold that young man who chose to be an organ donor close to our hearts. He saved all of us. I can't wait to wrap my arms around him someday and say thank you when it's time for me to go Home, too. God is so good to us. Since then, we have been urging friends and family to register to be an organ donor. For more information on becoming an organ donor in your state, please click here.

From October-December, we all laid low as Cait and Janelle both healed from their surgeries - with quite a bit of wedding planning interspersed, as Cait and her fiance Jon's wedding was set for March 3rd! In January, we began wedding planning in earnest, and when the wedding day came on March 3rd, it FLEW by. But what a beautiful day. What a celebration of love and life and blessings - for all of us!

And that leaves April-July. So...what about my blogging absence from April-July? All I can say is I have been recovering from life! I have been in college continually, and working two jobs, and living life. I realize all of those things may sound like cop-outs, but they are also all quite true. :) 

But I'm back now. And I have a PILE of new recipes, products, and tips to share with you all. While life may have been crazy, topsy-turvy and upside-down, one thing in my life stayed the same. My kitchen, my haven, my little happy place. My love of cooking and finding delicious gluten-free food. I may have stopped blogging, but I never stopped cooking. :)

So thanks for sticking with us! :)  

Later tonight, I will be posting one of my all-time favorite recipes. It's finally perfected and ready for all you lovely people! We wanted to make sure it was just right! 

Stay tuned! It's going to be one recipe you will make over and over again...mainly because people will eat it so fast you'll have to make it over and over again.