Sunday, November 11, 2012

Starting a new(ish) chapeter... It's called Being Frugal.

I have always wanted to be a very domestic housewife/mother... I am not usually a very crafty DIYer, but thanks to Pinterest, and the new facebook group started by a former MOPS member, I am inspired, nay... convinced that it's possible!  I don't have to come up with all of these great ideas on my own... I have an amazing support group and resource at my fingertips!  Today, on my journey of becoming domesticated and frugal, I made some chicken stock from a whole chicken that I bought and cooked in my crock pot!  here is the website with all of the great things you can do with a chicken.  And here is the link to my crock pot rotisserie recipe I use.  This last time I made it, I didn't use the spices or rub it calls for, I actually just made it my own and seasoned the entire chicken according to my own taste.  You just can't go wrong, really...

Another thing I have been on a kick of making lately is granola bars... I have been trying to search the internet for a granola bar recipe like the Nature Valley Oats N Honey granola bars for weeks.  I eat them like crazy and they're just OATS!  It seems logical to make them yourself, no?  Well, I came across a recipe that i LOVE in my The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.  I don't know if I can share the entire recipe word for word from the cookbook for copyright issues, but I'll give you the gist.  it's simple as pie (that you pick up from the store)

The recipe calls for:
3/4 C almonds (I didn't have any on hand so I didn't use any)
3 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 C canola oil (I used coconut oil because it's yummier and I didn't have canola)
1/4 tsp salt (I didn't add that either)
1/3 C honey
1/2 C packed light brown sugar (i used dark because that's what I had)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I love cinnamon, so I eyeballed it and added a little more)

1. put your oven rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 300 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with an aluminum foil sling (put foil one way with it coming up over the edges of the pan and another piece of foil going the other way with it coming up over the edges. it's just so you can lift the granola out of the pan for easier cutting.)
2. toast almonds (if you're using them) in a skillet over med. heat til golden brown about 5-7 min stirring often. transfer to bowl. THEN add oats and oil to skillet to toast to golden brown and aromatic.  about 4-6 min.  put in the bowl with the almonds and stir in salt (if you wish)
3. Add honey and brown sugar to skillet and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stir frequently so it doesn't burn the bottom.  should take about 5 min. take off the heat and add cinnamon and vanilla extract.
DO PAST STEP AND NEXT STEP AS FAST AS YOU CAN!  The honey mixture turns into a hard rock candy if it cools too long.
4. QUICKLY add honey mixture into the oats and almonds.  MIX FAST!  pour mixture into the pre-greased 9x13 pan.  PACK the granola mixture down into the pan HARD!  I got out a small bread pan and a layer of wax paper and pressed it down really hard with the pan.  it needs to be about a half inch to an inch thick.  Put in oven cooking about 20-25 minutes rotating the pan halfway through.
5. Take out and let cool 10 minutes or more so when you cut them it is hard!    Cool bars completely before eating.

YUM!  Seriously... cheap and delicious!

Nutrition Facts per bar (according to cook book version)
calories: 180  Fat: 8g  Sat Fat: 0.5g  Chol. 0mg  Carb. 26g  Protein 4g
Fiber 3g  Sodium 40mg

Here is the finished product!

This should give you an idea of what the foil sling is to look like.  

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