National Granola Bar Day

Granola Bars with oats and nuts on the tableThe United States is a country that is obsessed with food. Now that can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how you look at it. Today is another day of observing a food item. Yes today is – National Granola Bar Day.

A granola bar includes whole grains, like oats, and quinoa and barley are also used. There are also dried fruits and nuts. To sweeten the bar either honey, molasses, agave nectar or sugar syrup is used. There are a variety of combinations that can add flavor and nutrition.

Making granola bars is a simple task. You mix the ingredients which are then pressed into a baking pan, and later cut into bars.

Granola bars are a go to food, because of seen as a energy bar. The are conveniently carried on hiking trips or biking trails. The bars can be high, but despite that, they are a healthy alternative to a candy bar. Eating a granola bar as a snack is okay, as long as you are active so as to burn the calories.

Outside of the United States granola bars are known by several names, including flapjack, meusli bars and cereal bars.

Here’s our rendition of a all organic, gluten free, paleo approved Granola Bar, and the following is what you will need.

mixed oats, nuts, seeds, raisins, honey and coconut oil, black background, selective focus

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1cup wheat germ

1cup flax seed, slightly ground

14  cup sunflower seeds, optional to use sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds

1 cup almonds, sliced, these nuts can also be used cashews, walnuts, peanuts, macadamias or pecans

1cup dry shredded coconut

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1cup honey, optional to use raw honey

4 tablespoons butter

1cup brown sugar

1 cup dried fruit, including cranberries, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots, cherries, papaya, and prunes (optional to use fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds and almonds.

NOTE: If you chose to mix in another nut with the almonds, divide the nuts up into 1/2 cup servings, such as 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/2 cup of the nut of your choice.

Spread mixture out evenly over the baking sheet and toast for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Stir mixture once or twice, to evenly toast the grains.

NOTE: We slightly ground our flax seeds, as whole flax seeds can not be digested whole, therefore not receiving the benefits of the seed.

In a large bowl combine salt, coconut, cinnamon and dried fruits, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the vanilla, honey, butter and brown sugar. Stir continuously, bring mixture to a soft boil.

NOTE: You can use raw honey because of it dense nutritional content, but after baking the bars much of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes will be destroyed from the high heat, therefore processed organic honey would be okay to use.

When oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to the same bowl with coconut mixture and stir to evenly combine, then add the honey mixture and stir to incorporate.

Line a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with waxed paper. Spread the mixture, using the back of a wooden spoon, pressing the mixture out over the waxed  paper evenly to create a smooth, even surface.

Place another piece of waxed paper over the top, pressing down to evenly compact the mixture.

NOTE: Compacting is important so the bars won’t fall apart when cut. You can place a smaller pan within the 9 X 13 inch baking pan to press the mixture out evenly. You can also use a large drinking glass, by rolling it over the wax paper.

Homemade Granola Bars on the tea cup backgroundCool, than refrigerate about 2 hours. Doing so ensures a clean cut. After cutting the baked granola into bars, wrap them in waxed paper and store in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.Ty can even be store in the freezer for up to between 6 to 8 months.

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Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil ChickenYou have some chicken breasts and are looking for a new idea to prepare them? Well you have arrived to the right place for a quick and easy recipe. It’s our Tomato Basil Chicken entrée. Besides being healthy with all fresh ingredients that include tomato, basil, and garlic, this recipe is reminiscent of warm weather and luscious Mediterranean summers.

According to Spice Pages by Gernot Katzer, basil is native to India, though it is not used as a culinary herb, but rather is considered sacred and use in religious rites. Besides the most common Mediterranean type basil sold in the Western world, there is also varieties from the Asian world, such as Thailand‘s sweet basil with a licorice flavor, and a lemon basil which has a distinct balm-like flavor. Katzer states there are also verities introduced to European gardeners from Africa as well (Spice Pages: Basil).

Now for our featured recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken, and here is what you will need.

Tomato Basil Chicken - ingredients

1 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2-3 medium sized pieces) with the skin on

1 teaspoon of rock salt, Himalayan or Sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon if salt is ground

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 handfuls of fresh chopped basil, about 1 1/2 cups

1 ½ -2 cups fresh diced tomato

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh chopped ingredients for Tomato Basil ChickenDice the tomatoes, and chop the garlic. Tear the basil apart by hand.

adding salt and pepper to chicken breastNext, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. You may use the ground salt, but the rock salt lends a more rustic appeal to the dish.

adding chicken meat to a preheated pan with olive oilIn a preheated ceramic coated pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down.

adding garlic and browning the meatNext add the garlic and allow the chicken to brown on both sides, turning once.

adding tomatoes and basilOnce both sides are adequately cooked, add the tomatoes. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and some of it has formed a sauce with the olive oil and garlic. Next add the basil and cook for another minute.

adding cheeseNext add the grated Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

plated- Tomato Basil ChickenPlate and serve. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Add a side of cooked Mediterranean vegetables or a Greek salad.

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