Chewy Granola Bars


Many moons ago, my friend, Tiffany, gave me this recipe.  I went through a season of making them a couple of times a month…and then we greatly reduced our grocery budget.  (Sigh.)  Fortunately, there is now a bulk foods store nearby that sells most of these ingredients well below grocery store prices.  Yay for us!

These bars will not taste at all like the chewy granola bars that you can buy.  They are heartier and less artificial in taste and texture.  A pan of these can last our hungry family for several days–unlike a pan of brownies.  The ingredients are super flexible and easily altered to accommodate preferences and pantry supplies.  For instance, the ones I’m making this morning have almonds and flax seeds instead of sunflower seeds and wheat germ.  As long as you get a reasonably-right combination of wet and dry ingredients, your chance of success is fairly solid.

1/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. honey
2 T. hot water
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 T. sesame seeds
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. shredded coconut

Mix thoroughly and press into buttered 9×13″ baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes before cutting into bars.  Allow to cool completely before storing.

Tightly wrapped, these store very well for a week.  Or, feel free to tuck them into the freezer for anther day.



Farmgirl Chocolate Chippers

Don’t worry.  You don’t have to be a farmer…or a girl…to enjoy these cookies.  Their delightfulness surpasses every demographic, which is a good thing…because this recipe makes a LOT.

2 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
2 t. vanilla
5 c. regular rolled oats
4 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 12-oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 7-oz. chocolate candy bar, broken into several pieces
3 c. nuts, chopped (I especially like almonds.)

Cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.

Process half of oats in blender until powdery.  Process remaining half of oats until coarse, then add broken chocolate bar and process until oats are powdery and chocolate is chopped.

Add oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, then stir into butter mixture.

Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.

Form into golf ball-sized balls and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 10 or so dozen.

NOTE:  These cookies freeze very well.

Skeleton Recipes

Skeleton recipes are “bare bones” low-cost foods that are combined with other ingredients you already have on-hand to make fast food at home–without the guilt of low-quality, high-cost eating.

Here’s a cooking segment I did on WISH-TV to share the whole idea of skeleton recipes.

I also share some skeleton recipes in my book, Eat Cheap!, which is available at a special price on this website under “Books”.

Cowboy Cookie Mix in a Jar

This is our favorite cookie jar mix!

1 1/3 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. chopped nuts of your choice (or peanut butter or butterscotch chips)
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

Layer ingredients in a quart jar in the order given.  Press each layer in gently but firmly before adding next layer. Include a card with the following instructions:

Cowboy Cookie Mix in a Jar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together 1/2 c. softened butter, 1 egg and 1 t. vanilla.  Stir entire contents of jar into bowl.  Dough will be very stiff; you may need to use your hands!

Shape into walnut-sized balls and place 2″ apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Peanut Butter-Oat Bars

If you like gooey, you’ll like these!

4 c. rolled oats
1 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Combine oats and butter in stockpot and cook on low until butter is melted, then add remaining ingredients–EXCEPT chocolate chips–and cook on low until sugar is dissolved.  Be sure to stir while cooking!

Press into greased 9×13 or into greased mini muffin cups.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over warm bars.  Allow to soften for a minute, then spread with the back of a spoon to create a swirled effect.

Oat Applesauce Muffins

These are tasty, hearty, healthy muffins that do well with add-ins like dried fruit, nuts and seeds.  They freeze beautifully if well-wrapped.

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups rolled oats
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground cloves
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg
¾ cup milk
3 T. vegetable oil
1 cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mix well.

In a large bowl, combine the egg milk, oil, and applesauce.

Stir in the dry ingredients, and mix well. Spoon the batter into the greased (or lined) muffin cups so they are two-thirds full.

Bake until firm and golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

“Hot & Hearty” Oatmeal Casserole

If I ever publish a cookbook, you can bet that this recipe will be in it.  First of all, it’s easy.  It’s tasty.  It can also be very cost-effective.  Even more important to me, though, is the people it brings to my mind.

My college pal, Tif, gave me this recipe a number of years ago.  She grew up in Homer, Alaska, and she has fond memories of her momma, Betty, putting this warmer-upper on the table before Tiffany and her siblings headed off to school of a morning.

Betty and her husband, Tom, hold a very special place in my heart.  They loved on me during a time in my life when I didn’t even like myself.  I will never forget their kindness and hospitality to me during a very dark season.  Every time I make this casserole for breakfast, I thank God for their example to me and for the privilege of crossing paths with such a phenomenal family.

This is the recipe as Tif shared it with me.

Dump in bottom of 9×13 dish:

4 c. crushed fruit (Tif’s sister, Tia, sometimes uses one giant can of peaches)

Combine the following and dump on top of fruit (so that you have two layers):

1/2 c. brown sugar
3 c. rolled oats
2 c. dry milk (I don’t use dry milk.  I combine the juice from whatever fruit I am using with enough milk to make two cups, then I omit the liquid below.  If I am using fruit without extra juice (like frozen blueberries, I will just use two cups of milk.)
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, melted

Pour 2 cups of liquid (water or water and peach juice/syrup) over the oat mixture.

Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until top turns brown.