Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Happy New Year! Gosh, keeping the blog updated has taken a backseat to life recently. We had a busy and fun Christmas break, entertaining a total of 72 friends and family at different times during the twelve days we had off from school.

I’m amazed at how fast the month of January has flown – they say “time flies when you’re having fun”… This semester, I’m teaching Entrepreneurhip, Experiential Tourism Products and Services, Into Psychology, and Intro Sociology at the Pictou Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College; while D’Arcy continues to teach Grade 6 at a school not far from mine.

The boys are curling every day after school, and at least one day on the weekend. They are heading “South” to Yarmouth tomorrow for their first Canada Winter Games (2015) qualifier. The tournament is double-knockout and the top two teams will automatically move forward to next year.

The “mate” or “third” of their team is from Yarmouth, so the boys and their coach will be staying at their house, for which we are very grateful. I spent last weekend cooking and baking, to send some food along (the least we can do): lasagna, chilli, homemade macaroni & cheese, four loaves of bread, blueberry muffins, and homemade granola bars.

I posted a photo of the granola bars on my personal Facebook page and got such a response of friends looking for the recipe, that I decided to post it here for more people to enjoy! I must begin with the caveat that each time I make these, they are slightly different, depending on what ingredients I have on hand. Although they are not gluten free, they are peanut, tree nut, egg, and soy free. (Dairy free too if you omit chocolate chips, or use Enjoy Life or Divvies brand chocolate chips.)  I hope if you try them, you will enjoy!

granola

The base of each recipe is:

  • 2 cups flaked oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

To this, I added:

  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts – be sure to use the nutritious hemp hearts 😉
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • generous handful raisins
  • generous handful dried cranberries
  • handful of chocolate chips

Other suggestions would be to add flax (I was out), coconut, dates, or any other dried fruit.

Bind together with:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mixture will be crumbly. Press into a well-greased 11×13 pan. Bake in 375*F oven for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Cut while still warm, or they become difficult to cut through.

This bars have quickly become a lunchtime or snack favourite in our household and the bonus is that they are economical, allergy-free, and litter-less!

 (I promise not to take so long until the next post…)

Return to the Belgravia B&B website

 

St. Paddy’s Day at the Belgravia (with some photos from Brazil)

Before he left for Brazil, we had asked Evan if he wanted to curl in a bonspiel taking place in the Annapolis Valley this weekend. I was a bit surprised when his response was, ‘But that’s St. Patrick’s Day. Aren’t we doing something?” Our last name, McDonah, is Irish, and D’Arcy’s father’s family came from Killarney, in County Clare, Ireland. Each year, we usually get together with family and friends (and some years, guests!) and host a Guinness inspired meal. I didn’t realize this had become an event the family looks forward to so much.

When I asked for menu suggestions, they came up with burgers. “Patties” for St. Paddy’s! We invited my parents and I made lamb burgers and sweet potato buns. They were really good – the recipe came from Canadian Living and can be found by clicking here: Sweet Potato Rolls. We also barbequed potatoes, carrots & onions, and my mom had brought a salad. I cooked mushrooms & red onions in Guinness to top the burgers. For dessert, we had shamrock shaped cookies and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream while watching a slide show of Evan’s photos from Brazil. There was coffee & Bailey’s for the adults. We ended the evening playing a short version of Pictionary.

I leave you with a few of our favorite photos from Evan’s trip:

First glimpses of Brazil

Evan's Brazilian families - we love them!

The beach in Santos

View from Monte Serrat

View of Santos from Monte Serrat

Evan and Scott at City Hall

They made the paper!

Learning to surf

Surfing!

A view of the rain forest, taken from the home of Jean Piaget's Principal's mother.

Endless beach

Rainforest

Ruins in the rainforest

D’Arcy’s Rhubarb Muffins

I have to admit that D’Arcy is the one who does the majority of the baking around here.  Almost all of our breads & muffins, he has made himself before leaving to teach high- school in the morning. (Yes I know how lucky I am!)

This morning’s guests raved about his rhubarb muffins and asked for the recipe, so here it is:

1 1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg (he actually used egg replacer)

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla (The original recipe calls for almond flavouring, but because we are a peanut & nut free home, he used vanilla)

1 1/2 cup diced rhubarb

  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Beat egg, add milk, oil & flavouring
  • Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients and stir to moisten.
  • Fold in rhubarb.  Sprinkle tops with sugar before baking.
  • Bake at 375*F for 20 minutes.
  • Yield:  8 large muffins

* Variation: Instead of sprinkling sugar on muffins before baking, dip tops of warm muffins in sugar after baking.

**  This is a versatile muffin – any other fruit in season are just as delicious!  We’ve made them with strawberries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, etc.

Just a reminder that today (June 3rd) is the last day to vote for us as “Best B&B” in the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of Colchester County” contest.  To vote for us, The Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, please click here!

Lemon Zucchini Muffins

By popular demand, here is the recipe we use for Lemon Zucchini Muffins, commonly found on the table at breakfast these days since the zucchini are so plentiful…

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded (unpeeled) zucchini

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Coarsely grated rind from 1 large lemon

1 tsp. each baking powder & baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg*

3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk*

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

The original recipe doesn’t call for it, but we often add a cup of blueberries, red currents, dried cranberries, etc.

  • Lightly grease or spray nonstick muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flour, zucchini, sugar, lemon rind, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  • In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg; whisk in buttermilk, oil & lemon juice.  Pour over flour mixture and stir just enough to moisten, being careful not to overmix.
  • Spoon into prepared pans.  Bake in 375*F (190*C) over for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden and firm to the touch.  Makes 12 muffins.

Make ahead:  Store in airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

* Due to our daughter’s food allergies, all of our muffins are egg, dairy, soy & peanut free.  We use egg replacer and soured rice milk in place of the egg and buttermilk and these muffins turn out beautifully.