Homemade Oatmeal Granola Bars

Granola Bars

I love granola bars. They are a great snack to quickly grab on the go and taste amazing crumbled up with yogurt! However, I find they are quite an expensive snack if you want to buy the good ones. So after trying multiple different recipes I stumbled upon, I finally came up with a great recipe that works for me! Serve them up fresh, and you have a great snack that is soft, chewy, and super delicious! Crumble and freeze, then serve over yogurt, and you are ready to go with a quick easy breakfast!

This recipe is also very adaptable. You can omit the coconut and flax-seed and add in any other nuts, seeds, or dried fruit of your choice. Oh and if making for the kiddos, they may really appreciate chocolate chips! I know my kids sure do!!

Granola Bars1

Oatmeal Granola Bars

1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Honey
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
4 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/3 Flax Seed

Cream together first four ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients one at a time. Press into a lightly greased 9×13 baking pan (or a cookie sheet, depending how thin you want the granola bars). Bake at 325F for 18-22 minutes, until edges start to turn slightly brown. Before cutting into bars, firmly press again and allow to cool.

Soften butter and cream together first four ingredients.

Soften butter and cream together first four ingredients.

Mix in remaining ingredients one at a time.

Mix in remaining ingredients one at a time.

Press into a 9x13 or cookies sheet. (I find the best way to do this is with a wet cooking spatula)

Press into a 9×13 or cookie sheet. (I find the best way to do this is with a wet cooking spatula)

Bake for 18-22 minutes at 325F. Press. Cool. Enjoy!

Bake for 18-22 minutes at 325F. Press. Cool. Enjoy!

Loaded Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole (THM – S)

Chicken Cauli Casserole

My husband recently pointed out that we go through approximately $50 worth of cheese every month. Ridiculous, I know! But every person in our family is a major cheese-aholic. Even my 14-month old gets all excited when he sees me bring the big block of cheese out of the fridge!! This recipe may be part of the reason we go through so much cheese, but it tastes delicious! You are more than welcome to reduce the amount of cheese in this recipe. However, let me warn you, it may take away from some of the excitement!

Loaded Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole
THM – S

2 Chicken Breasts
1 head Cauliflower
8 slices Bacon
1 1/2 cups Shredded Cheese
4 oz Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Green Onions
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/2 tsp. Garlic
1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
Parsley

Boil chicken until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Cut up cauliflower into 1-inch pieces, removing leaves and stems; boil until soft (about 15 minutes). Cook bacon until crispy. Meanwhile, soften cream cheese in microwave in a large bowl for 45 seconds. Add in a half cup shredded cheese, onions, sour cream, and spices. Shred the chicken and chop up the bacon. Add the chicken and bacon to the cream cheese mixture. Drain cauliflower and add into mixture. Mix well, ensuring the cauliflower is in bite-sized pieces. Pour into a casserole dish and top with remaining shredded cheese and parsley. Bake uncovered at 350F for 20 minutes. Serves 6

Soften cream cheese; add in  1/2 cup shredded cheese, sour cream, onions and spices.

Soften cream cheese; add in 1/2 cup shredded cheese, sour cream, onions and spices.

Shred chicken and chop up the bacon (if you can prevent yourself from eating it all first ;) )

Shred chicken and chop up the bacon (if you can prevent yourself from eating it all first 😉 )

Drain cauliflower. Combine all ingredients except 1 cup cheese.

Drain cauliflower. Combine all ingredients except 1 cup cheese.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with remaining shredded cheese and sprinkle with parsley.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with remaining shredded cheese and sprinkle with parsley.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.

Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, until cheese is bubbling.

Chicken Chili (THM – E)

Chicken Chili

One of the things I look forward to most about winter, is all of the delicious warm comfort foods! Winter is still far off (and I am thankful of that!), but I have definitely been craving some comfort foods the last few days. So, despite the heat, I decided to make a nice warm, Chicken Chili for supper tonight! And it was oh, so good, as always. My 14 month old quite enjoyed making a mess while attempting to spoon-feed himself, and my 2-year old asked for seconds, AND thirds!

Chicken Chili
THM – E

1 lb Chicken Breast
1 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
2 cans Black Beans
1 can Brown Beans
2 cans Diced Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Sauce
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Salt

Boil chicken until cooked through. Meanwhile, in a large pot, sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until soft(I often add some water as opposed to oil to keep it an E meal). Add in remaining ingredients. Shred chicken and add to the pot. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Serves 8 🙂

Cook and shred chicken.

Cook and shred chicken.

Sauté onions and garlic.

Sauté onions and garlic.

Add all remaining ingredients.

Add all remaining ingredients.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites (THM-S)

PBCCB

I LOVE peanut butter!. You offer me anything with peanut butter in it, and I will most definitely eat it! It’s quite ridiculous the amount of peanut butter I go through in a month, but oh so yummy!!

These Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites are simply divine! You can eat up to four of these little guys in one sitting to keep within the Trim Healthy Mama S guidelines; but good luck! They are so addicting! This was the first THM dessert I ever made and was hooked from the beginning, as was my husband and toddler! So without further delay, I give you……

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites
THM – S

1 cup Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp Stevia
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

Soften cream cheese in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add in the next four ingredients. Mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls and coat with shredded coconut. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Cover and freeze for at least one hour before serving. You can then transfer to an air-tight container and store in the freezer.

Combine all ingredients except coconut.

Combine all ingredients except coconut.

Roll into balls and coat with shredded coconut.

Roll into balls and coat with shredded coconut.

Place in single layer on cookie sheet, cover, and freeze.

Place in single layer on cookie sheet, cover, and freeze.

Hope you enjoy them and let me know what you think 🙂

Cards, Cards, Cards!

Card Other Collage

I LOVE making cards. But sometimes I loose interest because I just can’t think of any more ideas! It seems to go in streaks for me. For about a week I will make a card or two every day. Then I will go weeks, even MONTHS, without making a single card! To get my creative juices flowing again, I often scan the internet for ideas.

So for all of you card-making ladies out there who have the same problem as me, I thought I would share some inspiration!

Here are just a few of my favourite cards I have made. (I apologize for the slightly blurry pictures, iPhones just don’t do the greatest job!)

This is my all-time favourite card! I can't even bare to give it away!! I used patterned paper, Stampin Up stamps, ink, sponges, and brads.

This is my all-time favourite card! I can’t even bare to give it away!! I used patterned paper, Stampin Up stamps, ink, sponges, and brads.

This was a last minute card that I made just last night for a bridal shower that I nearly forgot about! It was quick and easy to make. I used Stampin Up stamps, punches, pearls, and string.

This was a last minute card that I made just last night for a bridal shower that I nearly forgot about! It was quick and easy to make. I used Stampin Up stamps, punches, pearls, and string.

I love the collage look to this one! Once again, using Stampin Up paper, stamps, and ink.

I love the collage look to this one! Once again, using Stampin Up paper, stamps, and ink.

Another simple and quick card using patterned paper, Stampin Up stamp, string, and button. Would be even easier if I had a square punch to make the banners!!

Another simple and quick card using patterned paper, Stampin Up stamp, string, and button. Would be even easier if I had a square punch to make the banners!!

This is one of the first cards I made when I really started getting into Stamping. These were the first stamps and punches I bought from Stampin Up and I still love them!!

This is one of the first cards I made when I really started getting into Stamping. These were the first stamps and punches I bought from Stampin Up and I still love them!!

I love how this card came together with all the flower punch-outs! I used textured paper, ribbon and stamps for this card.

I love how this card came together with all the flower punch-outs! I used textured paper, ribbon and stamps for this card.

Hopefully they give you some ideas and get you inspired to start cutting, gluing, and stamping 🙂

A Taste of THM…

As some of you know, I started my THM journey about 6 months ago. Trim Healthy Mama (THM) is an excellent eating plan to follow. But it is more than that. It is a new way of life. A new way to view eating. THM is so easy and fun to follow, it doesn’t even seem like you are following a plan while doing so. There are so many quick and tasty recipes that a person could never get bored with following the Trim Healthy Mama plan.

I don’t think I could ever forget the day I received my Trim Healthy Mama book. It arrived in the mail a day before my birthday, but I had no idea it was coming. I had been attempting to follow THM for about 5 months by simply reading other blogs or finding THM recipes online.  It is pretty rare that I go out and spend money on myself, so I wasn’t about to order the book online any time soon. I never even mentioned it to my husband that I would love to get it for my birthday. But being the wonderful man he is, he already new how much I wanted the book.

Once I knew he actually ordered a gift for my birthday, I kept begging for hints. I found out that he had ordered it online and that it would be shipped from out east. He also said he had to pay extra to make sure it was here in time for my birthday. My first guess was that a relative would be flying over for a visit (I am horrible with directions, took me a good hour to realize that the majority of my relatives live on the WEST coast!) Obviously I was wrong. So the night before my birthday as I was making supper, the doorbell rang. I went to the door and no one was there, but I saw a postal truck driving away. I looked down and saw a brown package on the porch. I didn’t think much of it as my husband often has packages shipped to the house for work. But then I noticed that it was addressed to ME!! The second I picked it up, I knew exactly what it was. Forgetting about supper on the stove, I ran up the stairs in excitement and hurriedly opened the package. There it was. The beautiful shiny white cover with its fresh new-book smell. People thought I was crazy to be so excited about a “DIET“ book for my BIRTHDAY! But I think they thought my husband even crazier for BUYING me a “diet“ book for my birthday!

THM book

Now that my story is out, it`s time to talk a bit about the plan. I mentioned earlier that it is an easy plan to follow. I should clarify, the first week or so is not easy, but once you get the hang of it, the plan and delicious food is so worth that first bit of confusion. I wish I could explain how much better I feel after starting THM and how much more energy I have. My attitude towards things and my mood swings have also greatly improved! So I must say my husband is all for this plan!

So, to put it simply, the main goal is to keep carbs and fats (fuels) in separate meals. An example of a carb meal (E meal) would be Chicken Chili or Stuffed Peppers. Some fat meals (S meal) include Lettuce Burgers or Loaded Chicken and Cauliflower Casserole. (These are all recipes that I hope to have up on the blog soon, so stay tuned!)

Another big thing is to cut out sugar. But don`t worry, this does not mean you can no longer enjoy scrumptious, sweet desserts! Some of our favourites include Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites, Whipped Dessert, and a variety of Smoothies.

Let me also mention how I LOVE that this book is written by two Christian sisters. Their bantering back and forth throughout the book is so entertaining and I really appreciate how they tie everything in with Scripture. This book includes more than just an explanation to the plan. It also has an abundance of recipes, exercise plans, gives examples of how to make this plan work well for you and your family, and more.

For more info on Trim Healthy Mama, check out their Website or Facebook page. Even if you don’t have weight to lose, I encourage you to try some of their recipes. So satisfying and delicious!

To get a taste of THM, perhaps your first, check out my Taco Soup Recipe. Let me know what you think!

Taco Soup (THM – S)

Taco Soup

This is one of the first THM recipes I made. It is also one of my favourites. Perhaps that is why I got so hooked on Trim Healthy Mama in the first place. This Taco Soup recipe is one of my go-to comfort foods (especially in the cold winter months) and a quick and easy meal to make for Sunday Lunch. Another great thing about this recipe is that you can make in only one pot; this makes things nice and simple. It is easily adjusted to cater to your family’s needs. For those who do not follow THM, I add in some cooked macaroni noodles and serve with a piece of garlic toast 🙂

Taco Soup
THM – S

1 pound Ground Beef
1 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 Tbsp Oregano
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Parsley
Salt + Pepper to taste
4 oz Cream Cheese
1 28oz can Diced Tomatoes
3 cups Beef Broth
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

In a large pot, cook onion and garlic over medium heat until soft (I usually add a little bit of water to prevent sticking and burning). Add the ground beef and cook through. Add in the spices. Reduce heat to medium-low. Slice up the cream cheese so that it melts evenly and add to the pan. Once the cheese has melted, add in the tomatoes, broth, and cream. Stir until heated through. Can serve with shredded cheese and sour cream 🙂

This recipe also tastes really good with a can of black beans. (this makes it a crossover)

Cook onion and garlic until soft.

Cook onion and garlic until soft.

Brown the beef.

Brown the beef.

Add in the spices :)

Add in the spices 🙂

Slice in the cream cheese.

Slice in the cream cheese.

Be sure the cream cheese has melted completely before adding remaining ingredients. It should look like this.

Be sure the cream cheese has melted completely before adding remaining ingredients. It should look like this.

Add in the tomatoes, broth, and cream.

Add in the tomatoes, broth, and cream.

Serve it up and enjoy :)

Serve it up and enjoy 🙂

If you are wondering more about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) check out my blog post A Taste of THM…