Sweet and Salty Homemade Granola Bars

Claudia's Cookbook - Sweet and Salty Homemade Granola Bars cover

In my last post, I talked about how obsessed I was with the healthy road trip snacks I made from Gimme Some Oven’s blog. Well, my obsession continues with these beauties. I love these granola bars with all my heart and soul. Seriously. They are the easiest thing to make and they taste incredibly delicious. The pairing of sweet dark chocolate and dried cranberries with the saltiness of the pretzels and peanuts makes this snack very addictive. Good thing they are healthy and not filled with preservatives like most grocery store brands.

I have gone through two pans of these granola bars. They are perfect for when you are on the run or a mid-morning snack at work. Actually, I could eat them any time of day – who am I kidding? Not to mention, they are no bake! You need to give them a try. You can also use any dried fruit or ingredients you’d like. These granola bars should be wrapped individually and stored in the fridge. I find they hold their shape the best that way.

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Healthy No Bake Energy Bites

Claudia's Cookbook - No Bake Energy Bites cover

Time flies when you are having fun….or planning a wedding. I have been very M.I.A on the blog lately. I am two weeks away from my wedding and feel pretty good about it. I have fielded the same question for the last few months: “Oh, you must be so stressed?” Not really. Not at all actually. One great thing I have discovered about being Type A is that my incessant organizational skills are coming in handy. I also have the most wonderful bridesmaids and family that have made everything so easy and carefree.

I am actually so organized, that I was able to do not one, but two road trips in two weeks. The first was two weeks ago to Minneapolis. While it was a great 3 days away in one of my absolute favourite cities, the diet suffered. Oh, did it suffer. Road trips often mean salty snacks in the car, followed by pub beers and “I’m on vacation!” desserts. My digestive system took a beating. I felt terrible when I returned home. I also dreaded the second road trip to Madison, Wisconsin I was about to embark on. Therefore, I decided to take things into my own hands and find healthy road trip snacks that won’t make my friend and I feel terrible in the car and throughout our awesome trip. Boy, did I ever hit the jackpot on these No Bake Energy Bites by Gimme Some Oven! They are so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Not to mention, super healthy! My friend Nicole raved about them, as did my cousin-in-law who saw me post this recipe on Facebook and decided to make them for herself.

These energy bites can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately 5 days. You can also freeze them or keep them in a container in the fridge. You can also mix up the ingredients to incorporate your favourites. I use natural peanut butter, but you can easily use almond butter. Instead of chocolate chips, you can easily use dried cranberries or any dried fruit your heart desires. Very versatile and perfect for your next summer road trip!

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Buttered Popcorn Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Claudia's Cookbook - Buttered Popcorn Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies 14

So, remember in my last post where I was complaining about the cold weather? Yeah, that’s not the case anymore. It has been so incredibly warm and beautiful here the past two weeks I almost forgot I live in Winnipeg. Granted, our summers are traditionally nice and hot. I actually went for lunch on a patio with a friend on Friday and got sunburnt. Gone are the days where I used Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil with SPF 6. Seriously, that’s what I used 20 years ago when I went to the beach! Today, I put on SPF 60 to cut the grass. Either our ozone layer is non-existent now or I’m learning another harsh reality of growing older. As if the grey hair wasn’t enough, right?

We are celebrating 4 birthday’s on our hockey team this week. Since I am incapable of celebrating without baking, I decided to make something unique for the birthday girls. These cookies combine my favourite movie theatre snack items. I recently discovered that the kids pack is the best invention ever. I don’t know about your theatres, but our theatres have a kids pack that comes with the perfect amount of popcorn, one chocolate bar of your choice and a normal-sized drink. Not to mention, it’s cheap! Well, cheap for movie theatre standards I suppose. You simply cannot go wrong.

You also cannot go wrong with these cookies. The salty buttered popcorn pairs wonderfully with the dark chocolate chips and creamy cookie dough. They are also extremely chewy and soft. I used buttered microwave popcorn because it’s super convenient. But you can also pop and butter your own popcorn too if you don’t like microwave popcorn. This was actually the first time I bought microwave popcorn in years as we typically pop our own on the stove. A huge shout-out to both Joy the Baker and Deb from Smitten Kitchen for originally creating this recipe. They are two of my all-time favourite food bloggers, so serious props need to be given to them. I highly recommend you check out their blogs. They are stunning.

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Rolo Cheesecake Brownies

Claudia's Cookbook- Rolo Cheesecake Brownies 19I apologize for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. It’s been rather hectic over here. First, we were hit with a terrible winter storm here in Winnipeg. They called it a blizzard in the forecast, but it actually didn’t reach blizzard proportions. It was close though. Then a couple days later, I somehow managed to hurt my back taking down our Christmas tree. Yeah, don’t ask. Needless to say, it rendered me useless and confined to the couch for the better part of a week. Today is the first day I can honestly say I feel much better and am able to move around without shrieking in pain.

The storm and the hurt back taught me a very important lesson about myself: I really dislike being cooped up in the house for days on end. I guess it would have been okay if I was able to stand long enough to get my bake on. Sadly, I wasn’t able to until last night. I wanted to make sure my resurrection into the food blogging world was a good one for you. I think I hit it out of the ballpark with these Rolo Cheesecake Brownies! They are rich and super delicious. They have the perfect balance of sweetness with the salted caramel and dark chocolate. Not to mention the cream cheese and rolo candies! You will not be disappointed when you try this recipe. Best of all – it’s crazy easy!

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