Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This has been our current favorite for salads for quite a while. We may drift off to something else for a bit, but we always come back to this one. Partly because it’s so easy to make. Even if we’ve already sat down for dinner and I realize we’re out. It literally takes about a minute to make. And it’s delicious.

I use an empty jam jar that is on the small side. I put 2 spoonfuls of Dijon mustard in first. Then I fill the jar about a third of the way with balsamic vinegar. Then olive oil until the jar is about 2/3 of the way full. Big pinch of salt and pepper. Shake and you’re done. It lasts right in your pantry for at least a week. The olive oil will solidify in the fridge. Which is fine, you will just need to let it warm up to room temperature if you want to go that route. We leave it in the pantry until it’s used up.

What I love about making your own dressing is how much you can play around with the amounts. If this is too tangy for you, decrease the balsamic vinegar/increase the olive oil. You can also add sugar 1/2 tsp at a time or use maple syrup for the sweetener. Dip a piece of lettuce in and taste as you go.

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Around a year and a half ago I wanted to transition away from processed foods.  I still have the occasional ‘fail’, caving in to some junk food.  The rest of the time I think my clean eating is serving me well.  Especially when, at lunch last week, a few friends confided that ever since they turned 40, this or that was aching.  Not the case for me!  I feel pretty amazing a lot of the time.  Instead of full speed ahead, I went the slow and steady route for my family.  The first things I stopped buying at the grocery store were cookies and granola bars.

This is one of the first recipes that made making the switch fairly easy on my family.  I now make these granola bars so often I don’t need to look at the recipe!  My 3 kids, and even my husband, love these so much that we have them stocked in the freezer at all times.  And, if perhaps, we run out before I’ve noticed and made another batch <gasp!> there is a bit of panic in the kitchen.  “Mommy, I can’t find any granola bars!  Are we OUT?!”

Mix all the dry ingredients (oats, coconut, flax meal, chocolate chips, salt) in a bowl:

IMG_6008Whisk the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla together.  (*I accidentally measured the coconut flakes after the coconut oil, hence the white flecks!)

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Mix the two together.  Then press into a 9×13 rectangle on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

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Finally, allow to cool for a couple of hours to allow it to firm up.  Then cut with a sharp knife.

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chocolate chip granola bars

  • 4 cups oats (not quick cooking or steel cut)
  • 1/2 unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 flaxmeal
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F
  2. Stir the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
  3. Whisk the melted coconut oil with the honey and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well.
  5. Pour it all onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Form the mixture into a rectangle, approximately 9″ x 13″ and press with the back of the wooden spoon to flatten.  (I press party hard for firmer bars)
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Cool at least one hour (longer is even better) before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.

These bars will last a few weeks in your pantry, individually wrapped.  Our habit has become to wrap the lot of them in the parchment they baked on.  Then slide that into a zip top bag and put it in the freezer.  Then they are available for lunches, hikes, whatever and they usually thaw before you need to eat them.

adapted from Weelicious~you can find the original recipe here: http://weelicious.com/2011/09/06/chocolate-chip-granola-bars/