Friday, September 21, 2012

No Bake allergy free chocolate chip granola bars!

I just might have heard the Hallelujah chorus drifting down from the Heavens when I bit into these AMAZING granola bars. And that's not even the best part....
They are allergy free! Meaning my youngest 2 bear cubs can eat them!!

Empty of all the yucky preservatives, and FULL of yummy goodness! Win-win.

These ingredients are for a double batch (9x13 pan).  Feel free to scale it down for a smaller batch (8x8 pan) though I cant for the LIFE of me figure out why ANYone would want to do that.

1/2 c butter (we use Spectrum shortening-its 100% palm oil)
1/2 c honey
2/3c brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
4c quick cooking oats, uncooked
2 c rice Krispie type cereal
1/4 c + 3/4 c chocolate chips (we use Enjoy Life brand)
Well greased 9x13 pan

In a large bowl, mix together your oats, rice krispies and 1/4 c chocolate chips.

Then, put your butter, honey and brown sugar in a pot and bring to a boil over slightly higher than medium heat while stirring (you dont need to keep a super close eye on it)

It should look like this...

Once it reaches that point, turn the heat to about medium low and simmer for about a minute and a half. When your timer beeps at ya, take it off the heat and mix in your vanilla extract (SLOWLY, as it will explode everywhere if you just try to pour it all in. Dont ask.)

Then pour your mixture into the oats/cereal bowl and mix well to moisten.  Spoon this mixture into your prepared pan and smoosh it all down nice and flat. To do this, I put my hand in a baggie and then press down over the surface of the bars which will be quite smooshy still, til they are nice and compact. Then you will take your remaining chocolate chips and sprinkle over the top (add more if you like.  I wont be mad atcha!)  Then again, using the baggie, press the chocolate chips down into the bars.  When you have done this, place the pan into the fridge for 15-20 min, or until the bars harden a bit. Then take it out and slice them up into rectangles. Or bars. Or tiny little army men. Up to you.

Here is the pan sittin' in my fridge making buddies with that 1/2 empty jar of Prego and that sweet juicy orange. He's a friendly one, that pan of granola bars...
Anyway, I took this picture in my fridge as I had a feeling they would hypnotize me when they came out of the joke....when I am cutting them up everything starts to get foggy, and when I come to, 1 or 4 of the bars is mysteriously missing....spooky....

I figured, I think, that when I cut them into 18 granola bars, that it was around 200 calories per bar. A little high I think, but you can swap something else out of your diet to fit these bad boys in. They are WORTH it.

This recipe is adapted from here

We've also done these plain, with cocoa powder added to the dry mix, and with craisins. It is so adaptable. Let me konw what creations YOU come up with!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

August 2012

August was slightly less busy than July...we started school back up full force (we go light in the summer), but we still made sure to make time for fun!

We were out on a hot day and momma decided we should wash the van, a.k.a. hose it off and wipe it down =)  Wish I would have gotten pictures of that-it was quite sweet watching them reach up as HIGH as they could to wipe the water off =)
After we did that, they decided to wash their bikes as well.  The Boy spent about 3.8 seconds washing his Thomas trike and decided he had enough of this 'work' and returned to his normally scheduled programming of being crazysauce.

My sister in law came to visit in August as well and we enjoyed a walk on the trails behind our house with her, my neice and my parents.  I must note that 75% of the pictures on the past few blog posts are courtesy of my 10 yr old daughter who has kindly stepped into the position of family photographer. She actually does a really good job and I love looking at her pictures and seeing the world as she does =)

We also got to watch our neighbors give their chinchilla an ash bath. The girls just LOVED it. This chinchilla was the softest thing I have ever touched. We loved him.
We went skating with some friends of ours who only come in town a couple times a year from KS. There dad and my hubs have been buddies since grade school. They have 3 kiddos who are all almost the same age as 3 of my kiddos. We love them
*I realized 2 are missing here...the Boy was with daddy at work, and my friends boy, who is 8 didnt really care to be in the picture with a bunch 'o chicadees.  =)
This is the hubs buddy, Josh, and my little Josh
Oh yeah, and sometimes we did school.....  =)
Ariel made Josh a 'train house'. He loved it and would have them 'knock' and then he would invite them in. They even played tag and hide and seek in this house. Yeah. Picture that.

Being smothered with love....

Went to Pepperwood Park again in August. Boy was it hot. Thankfully this park has a lot of shade all morning....
Here I am, with 1/2 of 3/5 of my children....?

Trying to locate her inner monkey...


I'm thinking there might be a monkey gene in our bloodline somewhere...

The 'tree with a knee'!

Well, that was August in pictures!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

July 2012

July was a month of parks, field trips and fun!

^ In July (again, ignore the date stamp, silly camera), we went on a field trip to the Omaha Mounted Police station. My horse lover daughter was THRILLED TO BITS.

^Josh enoyed petting the horse too with his little buddy.

Josh also discovered the joy of writing on the white board this month. Ok, maybe its that I finally LET him write on the white board.  Unassisted Josh + markers does NOT a party make.

He even learned to write his name!!!

Another new park this summer: Pepperwood. Enjoyed it with some homeschool buddies

In July we had a Public Safety Field trip at a local park. The kiddos got to see and learn about what firemen, police officers and EMTs do. It was BLAZIN' hot this day and there was practically NO shade so everyone was trying to crowd around this side of the fire engine to hopefully get a PIECE of their body in the 3 inches of shade that was over there.

^inside of the ambulance. We had to leave shortly after this (and miss the police cruiser tour) as my little guy was just getting too hot.

My older 2 wanted to dress like twins for this field trip =)

I also ran in a 10K race in July. This same race I ran in 55 min and change last year (at 55 degrees). This year, it was over 80 at start time and my time was JUST under an hour!  Bleh!!  However, most women my age must have thought it was too hot for a race this morning as I DID win an age group award. =)

We went to a pond close to our house to feed the water fowl. Had a great time. Later that same week we went and bought some cheap bread at a bread factory store and took it over and feed them again. I think we bought a little much...when we got to the bottom of our bread sacks there were NO birds to feed-they had all left!  Looking VERY much full...

Ralston park with some homeschool buddies

Daddy caught a baby bird in our day lilies. He was quite friendly and LOUD. We put him up in the yard and a few hours later, saw momma coming to feed him. She watched him thru the night. The next day we left in the morning to go to the park and when we came back, the bird was gone, so we are thinking momma took him somewhere else. The girls named it 'Lucky' since it was 'lucky' that daddy found it...get it?   =)

Went over to Walnut Grove park to play some frisbee...

and some velcro ball (I dont know what you call those little ball sets, but thats what we call it!)

We had, I think 20 record breaking days this summer with heat! Youch!  So glad that fall is around the corner!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

June 2012

June was a month of parks and fun!


^Craft Day at a friends house. We made gifts for Father's Day. She supplied the paint and we supplied something to paint ON!  The bottom picture is the finished project-paper weights for daddy's office!  The girls all did the circle shaped ones and the Boy did the square. I think he used a whole tube of blue paint. When he does something he goes the full 9 yards, people!  *please ignore the date stamp. It said that for about 3 months. Apparently, January 2008 was a good month/year for this camera and it NEVER. WANTS. TO LEAVE.

^Elmwood park downtown. It was our first time at this park, and we really enjoyed it. Apparently so does 9/10 of our city. Sheesh.

^Ralston Park. Another favorite. This playground's equipment is alot bigger (states on the equipment that its for ages 5 and up. Dont tell my 4yr old that).  It also stays pretty much fully shaded til noon or later which is a big plus for kiddos who are apparently made out of ice cream and will fully MELT in the sun.

^This is what my budding entomologist does at pretty much every park we visit. Find a buddy who wants to go bug hunting with her!

^Spiderweb park. Ok, that's not its REAL name but that's what my kiddos call it. We discovered this park this summer and its a new favorite of ours.

^Stinson park. The downside to this park, as you can see...NO shade. So here in Nebraska, that means if you want to go in the summer, you go EARLY, or you go LATE. Otherwise, ya melt.  That tower in the background boasts big shooting fountains of water. The kiddos loved that. My van seats? Not so much.  This park is neat, in that right in front of the swing set (you can kind of see it in this picture) is a HUGE grassy area around which is a big walking track.  Fun times for my bug huntin' and run-around-like-crazy people, children =)

^Another shot of our neighborhood park with some homeschool buddies and my neighbor's boy (you can see him peeking his head out between my 2 older girls at the top!)

Wow, looking back at these you would think my kiddos only owned a handful of shirts between them! I PROMISE they have more clothes!!