I am so excited to have my friend Liz from The Lemon Bowl with us today for Coffee Talk . Liz's blog is filled with healthier recipes that still taste great. Every time I check out what she has posted I leave her blog feeling inspired and wanting to live a cleaner lifestyle. Today she is sharing a granola bar recipe that is filled with apricot, pumpkin seeds and.... chocolate! After you check out her recipe be sure to check out the interview we did!
Hey Friends! My name is Liz from The Lemon Bowl where I love making healthy foods taste delicious. After all, it doesn’t matter how healthy it is if it doesn’t taste good – right?
I’m so excited to share these addictive and nutritious granola bars with all of you. Recently, my family flew across the country with our 18 month old in tow so I made a big batch of these granola bars to take with us on the long flight. We even brought extras to stash in the hotel room for quick snacks.
This recipe is designed to create large granola bars that could easily replace breakfast but you can just as easily cut them into smaller pieces to make them snack-sized. I love to wrap them individually in plastic wrap so that I can throw one in my purse, diaper bag or glove compartment for whenever hunger strikes.
Make these bars your own by mixing and matching the ingredients. No pumpkin seeds on hand? No problem – use any nuts or seeds you wish. Not a fan of dried apricots? Experiment with dried cherries, dates or blueberries. The options are endless so get the kids involved and let them pick their favorite dried fruits and nuts to add.
Your family is waiting.
Chewy Granola Bars with Fruit, Nuts and Chocolate Chips
Makes 16 Bars
2 cups oats – old fashioned or quick cooking
3 shredded wheat biscuits
1 cup pumpkin seeds – hulled
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup pitted dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 x 11 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. In a food processor, pulse to combine oats, shredded wheat, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
3. Add dried apricots, dates, cinnamon and salt to the food processor and continue pulsing until everything is minced and well combined.
4. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with honey and vanilla.
5. Pour oat, nut and fruit mixture into the bowl and stir until ingredients are evenly coated with the egg and honey mixture. Stir in chocolate chips then pour mixture into the pan.
6. Use a rubber spatula to distribute mixture evenly throughout the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.
Note: For even easier slicing, refrigerate overnight then slice into bars the next day. Bars will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days and even longer if wrapped individually in plastic wrap.
Nutrition Facts (per bar): 327 calories, 14.9 g fat, 3.2 g sat fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 165 mg sodium, 44.8 g carbohydrate, 4.4 g fiber, 6.5 g protein
Liz, these granola bars look so good. I just know my kids and husband would love them. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and a little peek in to your life. I'm a curious girl... so I have a few questions for you!
When and why did you start blogging?
I began blogging in June of 2010 after the encouragement of several friends and family members. I've been cooking for as long as I could reach the counter and am known as the "foodie" of the group so it only made sense for me to start a food blog. As I share in my personal weight loss journey, I have maintained a 65 pound weight loss and The Lemon Bowl is my way of paying it forward to others looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Since I couldn't imagine a life of eating grilled chicken salads every day, I wanted to break the myth that healthy food has to be boring. We rarely eat the same dinner twice in our house. I truly believe that variety combined with seasonal, fresh flavors is the key to not getting bored and giving up.
If there was one kitchen tool you could not live without what would that be?
Hands down, my grater/zester. Many of my recipes call for fresh garlic and grating it is the easiest way to create a smooth paste for salad dressings, stir-fries, hummus and more. Not only do you skip dirtying a knife and cutting board but you can grate a clove of garlic much faster than you can puree it with a knife. No fancy knife skills required and no one will accidentally bite into a big chunk of raw garlic during dinner. Win Win!
You are a healthy food blogger but I know deep down you have some trashy food cravings. We all do. What is the one food you are embarrassed to admit you love? (I am a big fan of the big mac.... and those little Debbie powdered doughnuts)
Miracle Whip!!!! Oh man, I crave it big time - especially with tuna salad or on a roast beef sandwich. Sadly, the main ingredient is corn syrup so I haven't purchased it regularly since 2009 when I read Jillian Michael's book Master Your Metabolism. This book helped me understand why ingredients like corn syrup and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are so harmful to our bodies. (I miss you dearly Diet Coke!) But believe me, every now and again I sneak it in the house. ;-)
I relate food to memories. Many foods are comforting to me because they are something I grew up with. What are some of your comfort classics?
Middle Eastern food is the most comforting food in the world to me because that is the food I grew up eating with my family at special occasions. From Lebanese Meat Pies to Stuffed Kusa to Meat Stuffed Grape Leaves to Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts, nothing makes me feel happier in the world. The great thing is that these dishes are naturally good for you full of healthy fats like olive oil, tahini, etc. Plus tons of garlic and lemon of course. I'm very grateful that our version of comfort food is not pizza or mac and cheese. My husband begs to differ, however. ;-)
We have a great community of food bloggers, who is on your must read list these days?
There are so many incredibly talented and inspiring food bloggers. Every one of them brings their own unique talents and specialties to the table which is what I think makes this community so interesting and exciting. To be completely honest, I'm still honored that there is room for my oatmeal and smoothie loving self in this world of bloggers! A few of my favorites include Alyssa from Everyday Maven, Aggie from Aggie's Kitchen and Julia from A Cedar Spoon. As someone who has lost a significant amount of weight, I will be the first to admit that maintenance often feels more difficult that losing weight was in the first place. The great thing about Alyssa, Aggie and Julia is that just about every recipe they share is a recipe I could eat any day of the week without having to alter it to fit my dietary preferences. They share similar values for bright, fresh and flavorful food that is made with real ingredients and for that I am grateful and inspired on a daily basis!