Wednesday, January 8, 2014

No-bake chocolate oatmeal bars

When I woke up this morning it was 18 degrees outside, a low that broke a 44-year-old record.  Tim got ready for work in the pitch dark because our power was out.  It went out twice this morning, but thankfully it was for no more than 45 minutes the first time, and about 15 minutes the second.  I was so grateful when it came back on and stayed on because I envisioned how my morning was going to go otherwise, and I didn't like it one bit.  Like everyone else we've had a couple days of extreme cold, but today's high is supposed to be 44 and after that we're back in the 50s and 60s.  I don't know how you people do it who have to put up with the freezing weather all winter long.  I would lose my mind.  Last night I was complaining to Tim about being cooped up indoors with the kids all day, and I said, "This is the winter of my discontent."  "It's two days!" he replied.  Yeah well, it's been long enough and I'm glad that the deep freeze is over.

With it being so cold, I feel like all I do is eat or think about eating.  (Or maybe that's just the way I am no matter what the weather.)  I discovered a new snack recipe that I want to share because it is amazing.  It's healthy too -- although probably not in the amounts we've been consuming.  I found it on Moneysavingmom and modified it a little to suit our tastes.  At first glance it's a lot like our beloved no-bake energy bites.  But the coconut oil changes the texture entirely, making it creamier; and the subtle hint of coconut flavor (I don't like a lot of coconut flavor and that's one of the modifications I made to the recipe, leaving coconut flakes out) takes it to a whole new level.  A pan of these lasts only a couple days in our house.

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt peanut butter, honey and oil over medium heat in a saucepan.  Once it's melted all melted together, remove from heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until chocolate is melted.  Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and put it in the fridge.  Once it's hardened, cut into bars.

We've found out that it's best to get them off the bottom of that pan as soon as possible because even though it is greased, the bars become cemented in there over time.  Then Tim has to chisel them out bit by bit with a spatula.

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