Baked Granola Bars with Orange Zest & Pepitas

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Since I fell in love with the Snack Bar Maker, making granola bars has becoming my Sunday afternoon baking ritual. And what I love about this master recipe is that you can change up the mix-ins in so many different ways! It’s like a new recipe each week!

There is a little bakery across the street from my office that has these great bars that they make and sell for $7.50 each (YIKES!). I’ve been trying to recreate them and I think this week I nailed it! And for much less $$$!

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Baked Granola Bars with Orange Zest & Pepitas

Makes 16

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels
1/2 cup salted pepitas
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sea salt

  1. Heat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Zest an orange to measure 2 teaspoons.  In a medium bow, combine the oats, baking soda, mini chocolate morsels, peptias and orange zest.  Add in the agave nectar, melted butter and brown sugar, stirring well to combine.
  3. Using a medium scoop, transfer the mixture into the wells of the Snack Bar Maker and press down with the Mini Nylon Serving Spatula.
  4. Bake 12 minutes or until the oats start to brown.
  5. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes.  Cover with the lid and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes until set.

Enjoy!

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See me make this recipe here:

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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

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What We’ve Been Eating

I’ve had very little time to do any writing. Summer is insanely busy for us and this year has proven that the trend is very much still intact. We’ve had some fun travel, first over Memorial Day weekend we went to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware with a group of friends. There were 8 of us and we had such a great time! Then mid-June we traveled to MI for my god-daughter’s high school graduation (and a dr visit for me… more on that later), then we spent 6 days in norther Michigan at the Boyne Mountain Resort. That trip was pure bliss! We had amazing family time and played golf almost every day! It was wonderfully relaxing! If you follow my instastories, you saw the pics and how wonderful both trips were.

As July rolled in, we had our annual July 4th party where 79 attended and had a fantastic and safe time! We are so blessed. The same day as the party, we also had our first house guests of the season arrive. When all is said and done, we will have guests with us for 7 weeks straight (not all the same ones!) Needless to say, it doesn’t leave much time for blogging, but I have been taking photos of what I’ve been making and will share them with you here!

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I love this recipe.. it’s the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad from Inspiralized & Beyond. SO. AMAZING. You cannot tell it’s not tuna! I’ve blogged about this before and I will continue to make this one because it never disappoints. I also use Maille Old Style Whole Grain Dijon Mustard in this recipe and it contributes to the texture.

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This recipe was Grilled Salmon with Artichoke Tapenade, Lemon Grilled Zucchini from Against All Grain and Roasted Corn with Chimichurri Butter that we made from The Fresh20.

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This was Bruschetta & Zucchini Linguine with Grilled Chicken. I did this for a demo for a Pampered Chef virtual party that I did. This is another great recipe for sumer. If your garden is overrun with basil, zucchini and tomatoes, this will become a go-to. Pair it with grilled chicken with the Sweet Basil Rub.

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This is another recipe I’ve made more than once. I have a habit of not repeated recipes as there are so many I want to try! This is the Sesame Orange Slow Cooker Chicken from Against All Grain with Cauliflower Rice. The kitchen smells amazing as this cooks and it just melts in your mouth. It’s also quick and easy!

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This lovely dinner came from The Fresh 20… Teriyaki Salmon with Broccoli Rice. It was so pretty and perfect for a warm summer evening.

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The weekend after July 4th, our neighbors invited us over for a party. A friend of mine on Facebook made this version of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake and when I saw it, I jut HAD to duplicate it! I ended up making it twice that weekend for two different events! Isn’t it pretty?

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We had some of Bill’s extended family over for swimming and a cookout so I made this one from Celebrations! It’s on the Father’s Day menu… Grilled Tri-Tip and Veggies. This platter was licked clean!

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After my most recent doctor visit, I am focusing more and more on what I put into my body. It’s so hard. I sit and eat salad while I watch others eating cheesy lasagna (that I made!) But I know it’s better for me to eat what I’m eating and possibly I can venture back into the cheesy wheat-filled world again at some point.

The recipe above is Coconut Green Curry from Inspiralized.com. The word that comes to mind for me on this dish is *lovely*. It’s delicate and flavorful and comes together incredibly fast. If you’re a coconut curry fan, be sure to put this into your rotation.

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The next day I repurposed it for lunch adding some grill chicken tenderloins. I had them in my refrigerator and needed to use them up. I couldn’t get enough of this recipe!

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Last night I made Thai Quinoa and Zucchini Noodle Salad from Inspiralized.com. Another perfect recipe! It has a mild kick from the Sriracha and the peanut sauce has just the right consistency.

For a few years I’ve been wanting to Cook A Book. Now, as some of you know, I work at a financial planning firm in addition to my Pampered Chef business and writing this blog. Now worries, I am not doing anything illegal! I will be cooking my way through a cookbook in the Julie & Julia way. I am not going to put a time limit on the completion… I’m just going to do it as I go. At the moment, I working through the Inspiralized Vegan Meal Plan. When I finish it, I will move on to cooking through Inspiralized & Beyond!

As a result of my most recent dr visit, a thyroidectomy is in my near future. A gluten-free and dairy-free diet is essential until I have the surgery and depending the results, I may or may not venture back into eating gluten and dairy in very limited ways. I had been hesitant to commit to cooking a book because there are so many recipes that I can’t have. So my plan is to start with the ones I can make without any modifications and go from there.

So for the time being, I’m putting writing my own recipes on hold because I just don’t have the time it deserves to do so. I’m disappointed but thinking of fitting that in was stressing me out and that’s definitely not something I can afford to do. Of course, I will be blogging about what I’m making and sharing pictures. Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I will be posting the pics there as I make them and blogging here a recap each week.

Thanks for reading and following my blog! Can’t wait to share my new journey with you too!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Mediterranean Puttanesca Pizza

Traditionally, puttanesca sauce is named for the ladies of the night and contains tomatoes. This one I changed up a bit and instead of the tomatoes, I used roasted red pepper strips. I find them less acidic and to have more flavor. This dish has a ton of flavor and is very quick to make and the topping can also be used as a ragu for sprialized noodles.

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Mediterranean Puttanesca Pizza
Serves 4

Crust:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, spiralized
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes
1 egg

Topping:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 anchovy filets
2 cups roasted red pepper strips
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Heat the oven to 375˚F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the spiralized potatoes and sprinkle with the salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the almond flour and mix to combine.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat with the egg/almond flour mixture. Spread evenly on a round baking stone and press to flatten. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned.
  5. While the crust is baking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and anchovies. Lightly sauté until the anchovies have dissolved into the oil.
  6. Add the red pepper strips, olives and capers and heat through.
  7. Remove the crust from the oven and slide a spatula under the crust to loosen from the stone, if necessary.
  8. Add the toppings and sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. Return to the oven 5 minutes longer to heat through.
  9. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parsley. Cut into wedges and serve.

Enjoy!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Potato Pizza Crust

When I was researching my new diet, I came up with several pizza crust recipes that fall into the *what I can eat* category. Some I bought that I found that they just didn’t have the texture of REAL pizza crust or they were mealy. When you get used to eating in a new way, you adjust to many things but certain textures has been something that I haven’t quite gotten used to.

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What I love about this one is that it can crisp up enough to be able to pick it up and eat it like real pizza. Also, it has a neutral flavor so it won’t take away from your choice of toppings.

 

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Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, spiralized
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg
3 tablespoons almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

  1. Heat oven to 375˚F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg in a medium bowl.  Add the almond flour, salt and pepper and mix gently, then set aside.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and add to bowl with the egg mixture. Toss to coat.
  5. Spread the potatoes onto a baking stone to the edges. Flatten with the back of a spoon to even out.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and loosen from the stone with a spatula, if necessary.
  7. Top with desired toppings.

Enjoy!

 

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Chewy Bars

When I knew my new Snack Bar Maker was going to arrive in a few days, I started researching GF/DF bars I could make. I stumbled upon this one on the PETA website.

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This was a test and only a test LOL. I had everything I needed to make them and I always find that very exciting! I made them last night and while they were a partial fail, I will definitely make them again!

What I learned: I needed to fill the wells with less mixture. Next time I will use a medium scoop (2 tablespoons) instead of the large scoop (3 tablespoons). They puffed up a bit and spilled over the edges. Also, I will bake them a few minuets longer so they set more. I let them rest in the wells overnight to completely set.

These are fantastic and very flavorful! I forgot I had sunflower seeds so I used pepitas instead. I liked the color they gave the bars.

When you try them, enjoy!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!

Sesame Zoodles

This is a great recipe and vegan! I adapted this from a Rachael Ray recipe I had never tried, but since I really like a lot of her flavor profiles, I knew I’d enjoy it!

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What I love about this recipe is how quickly it comes together! Using zoodles instead of pasta is not only much healthier, but it’s faster too! No waiting for your water to boil, making sure the pasta doesn’t stick and then draining. It’s pretty much a one-pan meal!

I will spiralize whenever I can. I use this one and I prefer it over the others (which yes I have tried a few) because it’s gravity-driven instead of horizontal. It’s just easier to use and it’s dishwasher-safe. When you check out the link, there is a free e-coobook halfway down the page!

 

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Serves 4

3 medium zucchini, spiralized into linguine-size zoodles
1 large carrot, grated
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, pressed or grated
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds

  1. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the tamari, tahini, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger until smooth. Set aside to let the flavors blend.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the zoodles and grated carrot and sauté 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sauce and toss to mix. Heat through 3 minutes or until bubbly.
  4. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with the green onions and sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

SHOP MY KITCHEN!


Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. Colleen Finley is an independent advanced director for Pampered Chef. She earns a commission by linking to products she uses and trusts. If you purchase a product through her website link, your cost will be the same, and Colleen will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us enrich lives, one meal and one memory at a time!