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Copycat Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

The way our house is situated, we still have ice and snow on our back deck and I am kind of sick of looking at it.  It’s dirty, there are leaves from last fall intermingled in between the ice.  But when we have temps in the teens, I don’t see that going anywhere anytime soon.  Um, this doesn’t feel like spring!

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I made another Green Monster, although I added blueberries to this one, so it’s not very green.  However, when I added everything together:  1 cup soy milk, 1 container Chobani blood orange yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 3/4 cup frozen mixed fruit and 3/4 cup of blueberries – this giant smoothie comes in at 555 calories and wait for it, wait for it . . . 95 grams of carbs!   Of course, I didn’t figure that out until I drank it all.  It was delicious, but I didn’t give myself enough insulin and my blood sugar was 355 later in the morning.  I’ll have to research some lower carb smoothie options.  I still love the idea – its such a great way to get in a ton of fruit and veggies.

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I have noticed since I have gotten my fit bit, I do try to squeeze in any extra steps I can during the day.  When I went to the gym, I parked in the farthest corner!

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I ended up doing 40 minutes on the treadmill at a 7.0 incline and 3.8 mph.  All while watching the Chew which was all about chicken.  They went to a place called The Country Cat that made boneless fried chicken and it looked amazeballs.  It’s in Portland, a place that I really want to visit someday.  Has anyone ever been to this place?  It doesn’t help to watch food shows while working out – I just get more hungry!

friedchickencastiron

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No picture of lunch – it was more lasagna soup and I added a bunch more spinach to it, so the color of it looked like baby puke, but it tasted good!

I’ve always loved Nature Valley granola bars.  I love a crunchy granola bar vs. a chewy one.   Of course I went to my new go to to find recipes – Pinterest!  I adapted this recipe.   I ended up adding sesame seeds, dried cranberries and unsweetened coconut to my bars.

Copycat Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, walnuts or peanuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and set the temperature to 375 degrees.
  2. Line an 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Combine the oats, oil and salt in a large bowl and mix until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until pale gold, 20-25 minutes. Remove the oats and lower the oven temp to 300 degrees.
  4. Place the nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Or just chop coarsely with a big sharp knife.
  5. Combine the honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (if using).
  6. Combine the oats, nuts, cranberries, coconut flakes, sesame seeds and honey mixture in a large bowl and stir with a large rubber spatula until the oats are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture. Spray the baking sheet (still with foil sling) with non-stick spray then transfer the granola mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Spray a large metal spatula or a square dish with non-stick spray and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make a flat, tight, and even layer. Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes.
  7. Cool in the baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars, I used a pastry scraper to cut. Cut the bars all the way through and then allow the granola bars to completely cool. Do not wait longer than 15 minutes before cutting the bars. They harden up significantly as they cool. Any longer and you’ll have a very hard time cutting thru them.
  8. The bars can be stored, covered for up to 2 weeks.
http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/2014/03/27/copycat-nature-valley-crunchy-granola-bars/

 

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Check out your Dollar General for mixed nuts – that can cost $2.25 – less than half the price I would have paid for it a grocery store.  Make sure you really press down the mixture in your pan – I used my bench scraper.

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I waited just 10 minutes before cutting these – otherwise it’s one giant granola bar!

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OMG.  These are so good!  They are crunchy, toasting the oats gives it a whole new flavor – I’ll never not toast my oats before making granola bars again.  #winning!

While I was making my Italian meatballs for my lasagna soup over the weekend, I had some leftover Italian sausage – not really enough to do anything with, but I had an idea to form them in the shape of a burger.  I knew I had leftover brisket thinly sliced in the freezer so I did my adaptation of Chicago classic – an Italian beef combo.

Since the beef was sliced so thin, all I did was heat 1 cup of beef broth with 1 tablespoon of Italian season.   Once the broth came to a boil, I took it off the heat and added the beef just to warm up – I didn’t want to cook it because I wanted it still tender.  I ended up pan frying the sausage patties, and I melted an ounce of mozzarella on the bottom of my hamburger bun.  Then assembly time!  Italian sausage patty on the bottom, the beef on top, then I took half a ladle of the au jus and poured that over the top of mine.  The only thing missing for me was hot giardiniera!   I made due with a spicy pickle spear.

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Tony wasn’t a fan of the sausage patty, so he picked that off, but the meat was incredibly tender.  I still have two more bags of the sliced beef too!

I have nothing really on our agenda today – we meet up with my daughter-in-laws family tonight for dinner.   One project I need to do is to get rid of some of the pictures I have on my computer dating back to October – that should free up some computer space.  It’s rainy and 36 – maybe I’ll just stay in my pjs all day!

I got my 10,000 steps too!

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Make it a great day!

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  • Lynne
    March 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Hi Biz – enjoy your day off! It’ll be a good day to stay in your pj’s. Maybe one way to reduce carbs in your smoothie would be to use plain yogurt instead of the fruit flavored? I don’t buy the flavored so I’m not exactly sure what the carbs are, but looking at my plain right now – 1cup = 9g carbs. I want to try the granola bars but I’m afraid I won’t control myself and eat too many bars – or maybe just one giant bar! 🙂

    • Biz319
      March 27, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Yep – that’s a good idea. I also think I’ll go back to unsweetened almond milk – its only 30 calories a cup vs. 80 calories with the soy milk.

      These are crack bars Lynne!

      • Jessica @ Blog-Inspired Cooking
        March 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        That was going to be my suggestion, soy milk has a ton of added sugar to make it palatable so I was gong to recommend unsweetened almond milk. Just be sure to watch what you pick up, last week we went shopping and I ended up grabbing a 60-cal almond milk by mistake. Not that it was bad, but more calories than I wanted.

        I skip yogurt in my smoothies because I don’t like that tanginess. Bleh! I go with 8 oz almond milk, frozen fruit (1/2 banana, or some peaches or cherries), sometimes 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder for a chocolate version, a scoop of Amazing Grass original superfood powder, and a handful of spinach if I’ve got it.

  • Sam
    March 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Your dinner looks amazing, when I saw it last night on Instagram I got an instant craving for it! ha I’m with you and soooo over this winter, I’m ready for some warm spring days. Hope you have a great day off 🙂

    • Biz319
      March 27, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Thanks Sam! We should have temps in the 50s by Sunday – cannot wait!

  • Shelley B
    March 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Enjoy your day off! And I’m with you on the cold temps…WTF, spring???

    • Biz319
      March 27, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Safe travels to Utah Shelley!

  • Kim
    March 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Enjoy your day off – you deserve it!! And, with the rain and cold I would stay in PJs (or at least sweats) all day, too.

    • Biz319
      March 27, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Yep, I think this is a pj day! 😀

  • SuziCate
    March 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I love making homemade granola bars…they are so much better than bought!

  • sara
    March 27, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Mmmmmmmmmm, those granola bars look awesome. I agree, crunchy all the way! 🙂

  • Lisa
    March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I’ve always wanted to try making my own but I stop myself because granola is so high in calories. If I can find a way to make it and keep it low, I would!

  • Kym
    March 27, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Yea for PJ day! I hope your enjoy the time off. You do deserve it.
    Just when I had given up granola…( I use to add it to my yogurt for a little crunch and texture) you had to go and make some good looking stuff to tempt me with. As luck has it I do not have the ingredients so hopefully I will resist.
    I’m with Tony on this one. I would have taken the sausage off too. Too many different meat flavors for me:)

  • Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily
    March 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Those are my all time favorite granola bars, I may have try my hand at making some of my own!

    I miss smoothies so much, but the carb count sends my #’s sky high.

  • Louise
    March 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Biz. Hope you are having a great day. Smoothies….usually when I make them for JP and I…don’t add milk just use water and yogurt and frozen fruit for JP. For my smoothies, I add the spinach. Never checked the blood sugars after a smoothie, only know they hold me over till the next meal. I really need to make a habit of doing them more often. JP has one every day, you would think when I make his, I would make one for myself, but I don’t. Oh well.

    You are really doing good on your steps. That beef sandwich looks really good and the granola also. Have a wonderful dinner with your DIL’s family.

    Gosh….I am just learning how to add pictures to this new computer, deleting and/or moving them will be yet another challenge in a couple of months. Have a good one.

    • Biz
      March 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

      They are super filling aren’t they? Yep, I think I’ll stick with unsweetened almond milk and more veggies than fruit. Hope your computer learning is going well!

  • amyloispie
    March 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I’m type 2 and drink a smoothie with: 2.5 cups unsweetened soy milk, 1 c. Frozen raspberries, 1 Tbsp. Almond butter and 1 scoop of vegan protein powder. I don’t know how many carbs are in it but 2 hours from the time I start drinking it (which is when I test) my blood sugar is only 93 on average. Maybe you just need more protein to balance out all those carbs? Good luck!

    • Biz
      March 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for the idea about the protein powder – I think that’s the key – and great numbers by the way after eating a smoothie!

  • Fran
    March 28, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Your granola bars look delicious. I do have some recipes for them but never made them. I am going to try my first ever green smoothie this weekend. I don’t really like veggies in my smoothie but my veggie box had fresh spinach in it and otherwise I won’t eat all of it (use the rest in a salad).

    • Biz
      March 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Believe me Fran, you won’t taste the spinach at all! I can’t convince Tony otherwise though!

  • a life from scratch
    March 28, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Those bars look DELICIOUS! I hope you enjoy your day off and I’m doing my BEST to pack as much sunshine from FL to bring home!!!

    • Biz
      March 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

      I hope so Courtney! Safe travels home! 😀

  • Aimee
    March 28, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Enough already with this winter! I’ve officially become my grandmother, complaining about the weather all the time! But seriously I’m sitting at my dining room table with a space heater 6 inches away from me.

    My husband loves the same kind of granola bars. Yours look delicious.

    Enjoy your PJ day off!!

    • Biz
      March 28, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Yep, I keep complaining about it too – we are supposed to hit mid 50s on Sunday – cannot wait! Hang in there!