White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

We LOVE these white chocolate cranberry granola bars!  I’ve made these countless times over the past 5 years for camping trips and playgroups. In fact, their inspiration comes from an AllRecipes.com recipe for Playgroup Granola Bars.  I’ve made some major tweaks to the recipe and they are oh so tasty!  Perfect fall flavors!

A few notes first…

These are best cut warm but wait until they cool to handle them.  Also, the honey is necessary.  I’ve substituted corn syrup before (in a pinch) and they were hard as rocks.

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. white chocolate chips
  • 1 c. craisins
  • 1 c. sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 X 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream together butter, sugar, & honey.  Stir in egg, vanilla, & almond extract.  Add salt, flour, & rolled oats.  Mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips and craisins.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared 9 X 13 inch baking pan.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cut while bars are warm but let them cool before handling.

Bacon Cheeseburger Salad ~ THM S

This is our favorite salad.  It’s delicious.  It’s amazing.  It has bacon.

If you’re following the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this is an S – Satisfying meal.  If you’re not following THM, I urge you to make this salad.  Even Mark likes it.Continue Reading

Protein Packed French Toast – Trim Healthy Mama Style

I heart french toast.  One thing about the Trim Healthy Mama plan is that you can still have grains occasionally.  I’m sorry, but I personally hate Paleo.  For me, it’s too restrictive and hard to follow life-long.  With Paleo, I can’t have french toast.  I do not heart Paleo.  🙂Continue Reading

Stevia Sweet Juice Concentrate & Trim Healthy Mama

For the past 3 months I’ve been eating Trim Healthy Mama (THM) style.  And I LOVE IT!

Since THM is about low/no sugar I needed to learn how to incorporate stevia (which is usually bitter) into my diet in a palatable way to help feed the sweet tooth monster.Continue Reading

Favorite Pinterest Pins Tested in Our Home

The great thing about Pinterest is how it motivates.  Motivation to try a new recipe or follow a tip.  These are some of my favorite pins from the past few months if you want to check em out.

Perfect Salmon by Pioneer Woman – Perfect.  Truth.

Triangular Folded Grocery Sacks – Ummm, I HATE the grocery sack dilema.  I hate having a bunch of scrunched up grocery sacks and I love this tip.  On the surface, it seems a little over the top.  But oh it made my heart happy to see all my triangular grocery sacks neatly tucked inside the box I store them in.  And I have bought reusable grocery bags but without fail, I forget them.  That is something I’m working on.  For now, I have a neat way to store the plastic sacks and reuse them.  And it is the perfect job for the kids while I put away groceries.

triangular-folded-grocery-bags

Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken – Delish!  Everyone loved this one.  I added the dried red pepper flakes to my plate separately.  It is a keeper!

Sugar Cookie Bars – Oh my word, I love these and have made them several times!!  I made them recently when I got together with friends.  They are a favorite.  Only thing I change on these is I sub in almond extract instead of vanilla extract for the frosting.  These taste very much like Eileen’s Colossal Cookies but better.

 

Sprinkle-Cake

Sprinkle Birthday Cake – A few months ago, we celebrated Eva’s 3rd Birthday.  I wish I would have loaded up her cake more with the sprinkles but this was a cute and easy idea.

And if you want to follow me on Pinterest, you can here.  Do you have any favorite pins you care to share?  I’d love to know what gems you’ve found recently!

 

Julie-Signature

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a problem with chocolate chip cookies.  I love them.  They are my favorite.  I like them chewy though and not crispy.  My favorite way to make them is with oatmeal, a trick I learned from a friend, because then they are even more chewy.

These cookies have lots of goodies them.  And they are delicious!

Craisin-Almond-Coconut-Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal-Cookies

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add one egg at a time and vanilla, blend well.  Pour the flour, oats, baking soda, & salt into the bowl and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips, craisins, coconut, & almonds.

Drop by the tablespoonful full onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are just lightly browned.  Let them sit for a minute or 2 on the hot pan and removed, (this gives them time to firm up slightly so they don’t fall apart when they are piping hot).

This batch makes A LOT of cookies, about 30.  They are best cold, but I’m a cold chocolate chip cookie kinda gal.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Don’t let the picture fool you.  This casserole may be ugly but it is amazing!

It has ground beef in it, which makes a budget-friendly main dish rather than just a side.

Good for a crowd and everyone loves it. How can you not?  It has bacon. Of course it has other good stuff in it but really, the most important thing is the bacon. This recipe came from a friend and I modified hers according to my family’s preferences.

The original called for baking the potatoes, but I usually just peel them and boil them. You can bake them, but since I’m chronically late, I opt to go the quicker route, which is to boil them. After they’ve cooled a little bit I cut them up into cubes.

loaded-baked-potato-casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

  • 3 lbs potatoes, cooked and cubed
  • 1 lb. ground beef, browned
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 c. bacon, cooked and cut up
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted
  • 1/2 pkg ranch dressing mix
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, onion powder, bacon, butter and dressing.

Spoon ground beef and potatoes into an ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan.  Gently toss sour cream mixture with beef and potatoes.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.   Sprinkle with cheese the last 10 minutes of baking.