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Walnut Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

Walnut Chocolate Chip Protein Bars 5  Imperial-1

Walnut Chocolate Chip Protein Bars; great for snacks, breakfast, or even lunch box treats!

I hope that everyone had an great weekend.  We spent the weekend with some wonderful friends.  My husband’s college roommate and his wife was in town.  We hadn’t seen them in over 3 years, so it was great to spend 2 full days with them.  We ate way too much food, but it was worth it.  Today they leave, and another friend shows up for a visit.  It is a jam packed week!  This afternoon we also get to go meet the teacher day at school.  I can’t believe I am going to have a 4th grader tomorrow.  Time is just going by way too fast!

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Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Pistachio Cranberry Energy Bars | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Yesterday was a busy day!  I found out that I get to travel to NYC as a winner of a contest.  I am super excited, as I have always wanted to go to NYC.  It is during the week, in just a couple weeks time.  So yesterday was spent trying to organize child care for my 8 year old.  I work from home, so I am always able to get him to and from school each day.  Luckily, I had a great friend who is willing to help out for the 3 days I am gone.  Then I am gone the next week for a conference, and my son doesn’t have school.  We found cheap flights, and my mom is going to fly here to help out.  So nice to be surrounded by such wonderful people!

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Chocolate Oat Bites

Chocolate Oat Bites | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Chocolate Oat Bites | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Have you met Erin from Texanerin Baking?  She is amazing at making desserts a little better for you.  Erin has quickly becoming one of my close blogging friends, even though she lives 1/2 way around the world.  Currently Erin is in Germany, but is originally from Texas (hoping to move back in the next couple years).

Chocolate Oat Bites | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

I am sharing these little Chocolate Oat Bites over at Texanerin Baking today.  They are quick to make (no baking involved), a sweet treat, and they are good for you!  See, I fit right in over there :)    Please go check them out, and give Erin a little love me!


Chocolate Oat Bites | Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts


Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Granola Bars 2

Seems like forever since the last #chocolateparty, but it has only been a month!  Maybe because I made my December edition early in November, I was just so excited for mint and chocolate together!  This month has proven harder for me though.  This month the theme is coconut.  See, I don’t like coconut.  There in lies the problem.  But I got creative, and these granola bars are awesome!

I may not like coconut, but I do like using coconut oil.  Not sure if it is a texture thing or what, but I just can’t do shredded coconut.  I have made granola bars using coconut oil in the past, but they needed to be done again.  And healthier, and better.

If you do like coconut, adding shredded coconut to these would be a great edition.  Or chopped nuts, if that’s how you role.  I decided I needed to get rid of the mini marshmallow bites that were in my pantry, so I added those.  Not very many though, only 1/4 of a cup, so I am still going to consider these good for you.  My son has already had 2 of them today, he loves them!

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Biscoff Granola Bars

Biscoff Granola Bars 2

I think I have made it pretty clear that I am a big fan of Biscoff.  Anything from cupcakes, to bars, to cookies, to pie I am all over it.  So when Maria from Two Peas & Their Pod posted a recipe for granola bars with Biscoff Spread, I knew I needed to make them.  I love making granola bars at home, so ones with Biscoff seemed like a no brainer.

I made these while my son was at school, so he could have one for an after school snack.  I had to sneak one before he got home, just to make sure they were good enough for him, of course.  Ok.  I knew these would be good, but wow!  They have chocolate chips, biscoff cookies, and biscoff spread, I mean can you get any better!

My son was such a fan he wanted these in his lunch instead of a cookie.  These were gone in no time.  They aren’t the most healthy granola bars out there, but they are homemade, so you know what is in there.  Plus, plenty of oats make for a whole grain snack.  So they are way better than a brownie or a cookie.

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Almond Butter Granola Bars

Almond Butter Granola Bars square

Almond Butter Granola Bars

We are headed to Iowa today.  After a week in Wisconsin, it is time to start the drive home.  On the way we get to spend a couple days with friends in Iowa.  My 7 year old is super excited to see his old friends again.  He has adjusted amazingly well to Colorado, but still remembers what we left behind.  I am excited to get to see my friends too, should be a great weekend.

Once we get back home it will be time to get back to eating better again.  Vacation always derails me.  I will have to stock the fridge with these granola bars again, so I have something I won’t feel guilty eating.  I have been wanting to try Almond Butter, and finally I bought a jar at Costco a few weeks ago.  I adapted another Granola Bars recipe we loved, and used the Almond Butter.  My son loved them.  I was honestly surprised, there is a lot of almond flavor, but he ate them like crazy!

Unfortunately, these do need to be kept cool, so they aren’t great for a road trip or hiking.  But they are a great reward once you get back home!

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No Bake Chewy Granola Bars

granola bars quaker

No Bake Chewy Granola Bars | Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts

I hope you all had a great weekend, and are ready for Monday.  I can’t say I am ready for Monday this week, but who is ever really ready for it.  It was a beautiful weekend here.  We went hiking to a waterfall on Saturday.  Sunday, I went running with my 6 year old.  He went his furthest ever, 2 miles!  He wants to work up to a 5k this summer.  Then he topped of Sunday night by eating an enchilada for dinner.  He is a very picky eater, so you have to understand how huge this was for us!  Now if he would just eat some vegetables….

Today I have for you a super easy recipe for granola bars.  They taste very similar to a chewy kind you can buy at the store.  These have just a few ingredients, and come together in under 10 minutes.  So much healthier and cheaper than the grocery store alternative.  Plus you could mix in whatever you want!  Raisins, peanut butter, marshmallows, cranberries, nuts, coconut etc.  This recipe made about 12 bars for me, but it is all about how thin or thick you like them.

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Granola Bars

My 6 year old takes cold lunch almost every day to school.  I am always on the look out for healthier snacks and treats I can put in his lunch.  The kid would live on crackers for snacks if I would let him.  He is hit or miss with the store bought granola bars, so I have been on a mission to make a healthy granola bar at home that he will eat.  Well I have done it!  He has even asked that he have this for the dessert in his lunch!  If you follow me on facebook you may remember me mentioning these the other day.  They are super addicting, I was having a hard time staying away from them!  Kind of defeats the purpose of a healthier snack if you eat twice as much :)

Tropical Traditions sent me a giant jar of coconut oil to try out.  That stuff is amazing!  I have used coconut oil in the past, and the smell is just wonderful.  You get a hint of coconut in what you are making, which is perfect this time of year when everyone is longing for warmer weather.  I decided to make granola bars with the coconut oil, instead of butter.  Best.  Decision.  Ever.  (OK, maybe not EVER, but you get the idea)  Seriously, pick up a jar today and make these!

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Homemade Cliff Bars

It is the first Monday of the month which means it’s Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  I love this day.  It is so much fun to share what I made from someone else’s blog, and see what someone made from mine.  This month I was assigned This Chick Cooks.  And boy does she cook!  Katie is all about healthy living with a few treats along the way.  She has so many healthy, yummy treats on her site.  Whole Grain Brownies anyone?  How about Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips?
I had a hard time picking what to make!  In the end I had to go with something I could make with what I had in the house.  We are moving on Friday, so I had to use up some stuff in my pantry rather than buy anything new.  These Cliff Bars looked perfect!  I could add a few extra things of my own to use up what I had, and my 6 year old would love them!
Homemade Cliff Bars
1 1/4 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3 Tbls ground flax seed (or you can just substitute oats –this is what I did)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup marshmallows
¼ cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or light molasses (I used honey)
2 Tbls brown sugar
1/3 cup nut butter (I always use peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Chips (1/2 cup for full 8 in pan – less if you just want a drizzle), melted
Combine the syrup and peanut butter in a small pan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well-blended.  Stir in vanilla.
In a bowl combine the cereal, oats, flax meal, peanuts, chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Pour melted peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, stir until coated.  You may need to use your hands to get it blended well.  Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
Pour the melted chocolate glaze over the top (or drizzle if that is your thing).  Cool in pan on a wire rack and chill at least 30 minutes to help it set. Cut into approximately 12 bars.  Store in refrigerator.