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Yippee its officially fall! This means its time to break out the fall-inspired recipes. I don’t know why but granola to me feels like a fall food. It ranks almost right there alongside chili on the fall-ness scale. Don’t you think? Of course granola and granola bars are not limited to the cooler weather months but they certainly make for a great snack during those day-long outings to the mountains, state fair, football field…you name it!! And while pumpkin always seem to be at the top of everyone’s fall list, did you know that cranberries are also harvested this time of year?! Yup! They reach their peak flavor and are ready for picking starting around mid-September until mid-November.
Cranberries…those sweet, yet tart little red gems sure pack a nutritional punch. Their deep rich color means they are loaded with antioxidants and they are a life-saver when it comes to preventing urinary tract infections. One of the greatest ways to add cranberries to your already healthy diet, is to grab a bag of Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries! Now while you may have noticed they have done a disappearing act from your local Sam’s Club, you can still find them at local retailers, like Kroger, which is where I picked up mine!
Craisins® Dried Cranberries can be eaten by themselves (grab a handful, or about ¼ cup, for the equivalent of ½ cup of the fruit fresh) or added to many of the healthy recipes that you already make! Making a little chicken salad and want a little “zing”?! Throw in some dried cranberries and “BAM!” that chicken salad just got a little more delicious. Feel like your traditional holiday sweet potato recipe is missing something? PRESTO! Mixing in some dried cranberries will have your family loving the unique blend of taste, color and texture.
I had a hankering to make some granola bars here recently. Particularly because they make for an easy, yet filling snack, which is perfect when I am chasing my almost 1 year old around the house. All. Day. Long. #bestworkoutever
These bars were made using some of my favorite good-for-you foods including dried cranberries, almonds, dark chocolate and chia seeds for their antioxidant effects. Pumpkin seeds not only pair great with dried cranberries but also pack a protein punch.
2 and 1/2 cups of rolled oats
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup honey
pinch of salt
Start by gathering up all your oats, nuts and seeds into a bowl, mixing them up, then spread them out onto a foil lined baking sheet lined and toast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, stirring them around halfway through.
While toasting, over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, honey and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until the coconut turns from solid to liquid. Remove from burner, stirring occasionally until oats mixture is ready. Prepare 9×13 baking dish by lining with foil or parchment paper.
Once oat mixture is done toasting, transfer to large mixing bowl, then slowly stir in liquid mixture until all of oats appear to be moist (eeeek, yes I said it). Then stir in dried cranberries and dark chocolate chunks. The chocolate is going to melt and that’s okay. 😉
Spread granola mixture along bottom of baking dish. Use foil from baking sheet to press down granola into a tight layer at bottom on pan. This is important in order to avoid simply making granola (instead of the intended bars).
Place into fridge and chill for about 2 hours. Remove from fridge, cut into bars and enjoy! Place any bars not immediately consuming back into fridge to maintain structure.
For more recipe ideas click here to see what other bloggers have created using Craisins® Dried Cranberries and learn more about how food really is #BetterWithCraisins.
What your favorite fall-inspired recipes or ingredients?