Tag Archives: peanut butter

Granola Bars

“Before I had kids, I didn’t even know it was possible to destroy an entire house with a granola bar.” – Twitter Quote

I will be revisiting all of the recipes presented on this site, as well as sharing new ones. The first recipe I’ll be revisiting is my infamous granola bars!

When I first wrote this recipe, I was starting a new journey, looking deeper into the food I ate and attempting to make better decisions on what my family consumed. Looking back on the recipe, what seems to be healthy on the outside may not always be healthy on the inside. I chuckle because I had added extra brown sugar in the recipe that really doesn’t need to be there.

Now don’t get me wrong, the original recipe is still very tasty but I decided to remove the brown sugar and make some other adjustments to reduce the amount of sugar we were consuming in our day to day lives. These bars are quick & easy to make and quite versatile. I make a batch weekly for my boys. The granola bars are better than ever and according to my oldest son, should be famous!

GRANOLA BARS

350 (f) degrees / 25 minutes / yield avg. two dozen bars / Prep Time: 15 mins / Bake Time: 25 mins / Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 4 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup organic flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic butter, melted (*can sub coconut oil)
  • 1 cup organic dried fruit, chopped
  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey
  • 1/2 cup organic semi sweet chocolate chips (*can sub cacao nibs)
  • 9 x 13 pan
  • sheet of parchment paper

Step 1 – preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees. In a large bowl combine oats, seeds, and chopped dried fruit. Mix well.

Step 2 – fine chop dried fruit of choice. You can really use any kind you like. In my recipe I use 1/2 cup dried chopped cranberries and 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots. Add to the bowl and mix.

Step 3 – add melted butter and mix to ensure all ingredients are coated.

Step 4 – add peanut butter, honey, and chocolate chips. Make sure to mix well so all ingredients are well incorporated.

Step 5 – line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Press your granola mixture into the pan, making sure you have an even spread across the pan.

Step 5.a optional – this is where you can get creative. I don’t add this to the ingredient list above but you have the option to add an extra layer of peanut butter to the top of the granola mixture or chocolate chips. When the granola’s are done baking, you would use a spatula knife and spread the layer of chocolate thin to cool and harden. The layer of peanut butter needs no attention after baking

Step 6 – place in preheated 350(f) degree oven for 25 minutes. When finished, place on wrack to cool. Pro tip – once the tray has cooled, place the tray in the refrigerator for an  hour to make cutting your bars less sticky and more uniform. Once cooled you can cut your bars to desired size. I typically cut the bars 4 inches in length which yields me up to 24 bars. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to a week… If they last that long 🙂

ENJOY!

PS: this recipe is quite versatile and simple to adjust. Don’t want chocolate chips, keep them out. Ingredients not coming together well enough, add more peanut butter or honey. Too sticky, add more oats. Substitute butter for coconut oil. Add any dried fruit of your desire. Add more nuts, chopped up walnuts or almonds or sunflower seeds. The possibilities are endless… have fun and enjoy!

Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter

“Peanut butter is the pâté of childhood.” ~ Florence Fabricant

I’ve always been a fan of the peanut; in its natural state, shelled, crushed, or creamy… the peanut is pretty awesome. The good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich never tires, my grandmother’s peanut butter cookies are better than any I’ve ever tasted, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – a treat my mom & I use to share when I was little brings back memories. I can remember my grandfather had his own designated jar of roasted & lightly salted peanuts always stored in the cupboard. You’d know he had eaten peanuts because he’d smell like a giant peanut. Consumed alone or cooked into delightful dishes such as Chile Peanut Crusted Chicken with Napa Cabbage and Radish Slaw or Grape Leaves stuffed with Mozzarella, Dry Monterey Jack, Peanuts, and Raisins, or Caribbean style chicken with Brown Sugar Peanut Spice rub – I love peanuts.

I can remember as a little girl, my mom and grandmother purchasing fresh made peanut butter at some of our local health food stores. There was a peanut grinding machine near the ‘specialty foods’ area. You could place an empty container in the machine, press a button, and a few minutes later you’d have fresh – nothing but peanuts – peanut butter. It was pretty neat and how awesome was that – we made our own peanut butter. How I forgot that it was so simple. Those machines seem to have disappeared and a majority of what is left on the store shelves has too much ‘unhealthy’ oils, salts, fats, and other ingredients I wouldn’t ever try to pronounce.

A couple of months back I heard a news report on the radio that the peanut industry was in trouble. The DJs on the radio joked peanut butter was going to equivilant to gold. If you were a kid in school and got a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch… you must be rich! I looked into the subject a little deeper and found that demand couldn’t be met in the last couple of years due to contamination, land space, and costs of goods. Southeast Farm Press

Reading this article and understanding the different obstacles the industry and it’s consumers face, it seems like it is another consumption problem – too easy, too much, too often. Between the unwanted ingredients and the energy used to process, package, and ship the peanut item, I decided to refrain from purchasing peanut butter… until now. I looked into local peanut options and was fortunate to find my favorite local organic farmstand, Pinnacle Organic, grows and sells peanuts during the late fall and winter seasons.

Peanuts, from planting to harvest have a 120-150 day growing period. They are usually planted after the last frost and require a soil temperature of 65 degrees F for germination. A little over a month after planting, the peanuts will begin to flower, another couple of weeks and the roots will develop and penetrate the soil, and lastly the peanuts will mature over a 10 week period, staggered. The soil must be well-drained; loose and sandy. (iastate.edu)

For some reason I didn’t think of peanuts in a “seasonal” sense but like anything else that grows… it grows in a season. I’ve decided to try to manage peanut butter in our household like we do with anything else for preservation. For example, during the height of tomato season I would buy extra tomatoes and can them. This is so I would have tomatoes throughout the non-tomato season and I would not have to depend on the BPA lined cans of something that is supposed to resemble a tomato from the grocery store. Each week I visit the farm to get my produce I will buy extra peanuts and soak, roast, and grind them at home for our own homemade peanut butter. A jar of fresh homemade peanut butter will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 months and in the freezer in a freezer safe container for up to a year. If you’ve used oil to cream the peanuts, the oil will separate in the freezer. When you are ready to use, you must thaw the homemade peanut butter completely – remix – and store in the refrigerator.

homemade peanut butter

I won’t kid you… the process is not hard but it is time-consuming. Homemade peanut butter is simply ground up peanuts. You can soak them in salt water and you can add a little oil for a smoother texture… but otherwise, it’s just peanuts… easy, right?! My family didn’t think so when I had them shelling peanuts for an entire morning; all to produce 2 pint jars of peanut butter that are now gone and we’re back to shelling again! I realize this process is not for everyone… afterall who has time to sit around shelling peanuts. For us its a matter of using things when they are in season, storing them for when they aren’t, and making sure we know what we’re consuming and were it’s come from… for that, I’ll spend time shelling a few peanuts.

* = organic
^ = local

Homemade Peanut Butter
■ 1 pound peanuts, raw *^
■ 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (optional ingredient & note, if you are using table salt, reduce to 1 cup)
■ 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil (optional ingredient)
■ large pot for soaking + plate to keep peanuts submerged
■ tray for drying
■ food processor
■ water for soaking

Step 1: Place your peanuts in a strainer and rinse, removing as much surface dirt as possible. Drain. Place peanuts and kosher salt in the soaking pot, cover with water till the peanuts are submerged. Stir. Cover the peanuts with a plate to make sure they stay submerged for the soaking duration. After 1 hour, remove the plate and stir the peanut salt water mixture. Cover and continue soaking. Do this every hour for at least 3 up to 5 hours. Drain.

homemade peanut butter

Step 2: Single layer the peanuts on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on WARM or the lowest temperature your oven will allow – this will speed up the drying process. If you don’t want to run your oven they can air dry overnight. Once dry, place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, tossing the peanuts throughout the cooking time to make sure they don’t burn.

homemade peanut butter

Step 3: Remove the peanuts from the oven and let cool. Once cool, the peanuts are ready for shelling. Make sure to remove the thin outer skin as well as the shell. The skins will make your peanut butter bitter.

homemade peanut butter

homemade peanut butter

Step 4: Once shelled, they are ready to enjoy… but if you’re wanting peanut butter… place your peanuts in a food processor and process, while drizzling the oil in slowly.

homemade peanut butter

The more oil, the smoother the texture. Process till you’ve found the consistency you like. This can take several minutes depending on how smooth you like your homemade peanut butter. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to 4 months or in the freezer for up to 1 year. My kiddo enjoys his homemade peanut butter with homemade jam on homemade bread… best PB&J ever! Enjoy!

homemade peanut butter