Tuesday, August 20, 2013

granola balls (gluten-free, dairy-free)

So let's just say that I am kind of, a little bit, maybe...obsessed with these.
I make them once a week.
I really love them...and it's a bit ridiculous.

I have been making granola bars for a few years now, and I am always trying to perfect my already "perfected" recipe. Yeah, kind of pathetic. Oh well. But truly, this one is divine.

Yesterday I got vaccinated for Tetanus. Do you know that you have to get it every 5 years? I didn't. Since I am going to be teaching 5th grade this year (in like 2 days! ah!), I had to get it. After sticking me with the needle, they handed me a sheet of paper that listed all the possible risks and problems following the vaccine. "You may experience a fever over 102 degrees F, headache, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and swelling of the entire arm..." Blah, blah, blah. I tossed it in my bag and forgot about it. Until about 2 o'clock this morning. I woke up with a fever and chills, my body was achy, and I was a vomit machine. (Hmmm...how do you like that mental image?) Needless to say, I was sick as a dog all day. And my chances of getting sick? 1 out of 300. Lucky me.

The only thing I could keep down were these little guys. Thank the stars for 'em.

And who doesn't love a granola ball - making party?
Every couple weeks, I get together with my favorite girls and we have a blast whether it's shopping, making granola bars/balls, or just chatting. 

Every girl deserves a girls night every once in a while. :)

Granola Balls

gluten-free, dairy-free

2 cups oats (gluten-free certified, if preferred)
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or chocolate chips)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar (or sucanat)
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. In a large bowl, mix together rice cereal, oats, and raisins. 
  2. In a smaller bowl, stir together honey, sugar, and peanut butter, and heat in microwave until warm and slightly bubbly (about 30 seconds). Remove bowl from microwave and give the mixture a good stir. Place back in microwave and warm for another 30ish seconds. Remove and stir in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture over dry cereal mixture. Mix well. Wet your hands with cold water. Grab a palm-ful of granola and form into a ball, making sure to apply as much pressure as you can so the ball does not fall apart. Continue to do this until all the granola mixture is formed into balls. (This recipe will make about 25 granola balls.)
  4. Place the granola balls into a large ziploc baggie and store them in the freezer or fridge. This will help them last longer.
*Feel free to make all sorts of flavor combinations. A really good one is Nutella Granola Balls. Simply omit the raisins, peanuts, brown sugar, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together 1 cup Nutella with a few spoonfuls of warmed honey and vanilla. Pour that over the dry cereal/oat mixture and mix well. Form into balls, place in a large ziploc baggie and freeze/refrigerate until ready to eat.

Friday, August 9, 2013

slow cooker chicken quinoa chili

This past week, my husband and I were in Minnesota for a family reunion. We meet every two years and have a blast playing games, talking, getting competitive in volleyball, and of course--eating. Since my family is so huge, we have to rent out some pretty big cabins to fit us all in. This year was awesome because there was a lake right next to our cabins. And who doesn't like to freeze their butt off in the ice cold water?! Am I right?

Basically, the entire time we were there it was chilly. We were even cooped up for two days in the cabin because of the rain. But heck, it was still a lot of fun.

I thought I had escaped the cold when we left the cabin this morning, but not so. As of now, I am sitting in the Kansas City airport with my husband, waiting for our connecting flight to Salt Lake City. And guess what? It's freezing here! Come on summer--show yourself!

All this cold weather got me thinking about soup and chili. Then I realized that I haven't posted this recipe yet--and it's one of my favorites. Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili.

Slow Cooker Chicken Quinoa Chili

gluten-free, dairy-free

3 (14 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can of chili beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can of corn, drained
2 cups chicken broth
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (uncooked)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 teaspoons chili powder
salt, to taste
hot sauce, to taste (if you like it spicy)
1 cup of uncooked quinoa, rinsed
toppings of your choice (avocados, cilantro, lime, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips)
cooked brown or white rice (optional)

  1. After you rinse the quinoa, add everything into a 6 quart slow cooker. Simply stir and put on the lid.
  2. Cook on low (for 6-8 hours) or on high (4-6 hours). If you're using frozen chicken you may have to cook it longer.
  3. After chicken is cooked, remove it and shred it (two forks work great). Return shredded chicken to slow cooker. Either turn off slow cooker or leave on low, until chili is ready to serve and eat.
  4. Serve with your preferred toppings and/or cooked rice.
My husband and I ate this on top of rice. However, if you are eating it on top of rice, you can choose to omit the quinoa from the chili.

*This recipe is adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything.
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