Apple Cinnamon Spice Granola Bars

Dan bikes to work nearly every day. At least he does when we don’t get a ton of snow overnight. When he gets to work, he’s understandably hungry, and needs a second breakfast. Rather than store-bought bars, I sent him to work with half of these this week.

I kept the rest for myself to snack on in the afternoons. And I’m not sharing my half. They’re just too good!

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These bars are soft and tender and full of fruity flavor. I can’t wait to try them with peach butter. Or pumpkin butter….

Apple Cinnamon Spice Granola Bars

Makes 12 bars

1/2 c millet
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c oats
1/2 c turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp chia seeds
2/3 c maple syrup
2/3 c olive oil
1/2 c almond butter*
1 c (1/2 pint) apple butter**

Preheat oven to 350*F and grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the millet, flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking soda and chia seeds together. In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, oil and almond butter until mostly smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until all the dry ingredients are coated.

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Press 1/2 of the oats mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread the apple butter evenly over the top. Top with the rest of the oats mixture, and press down with the back of a wooden spoon so that the top layer sticks together.

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Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

*Note: If you don’t have almond butter, another nut butter will do just as well.

**Note: If you can’t find apple butter, you can either make your own (cut the recipe in 1/2 or even 1/3) or use another type of fruit preserves. However, I don’t recommend jelly or jam, since they contain too much water!

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Wholesome Lemon Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are the perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They are just barely sweet, which is perfect because after weeks of decadent holiday treats, I’m working on cutting back on added sugars a bit.

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I highly recommend eating these warm, either alone or with a little nut butter or lemon curd. With the summery combination of blueberries and a kick of lemon in every bite, you can momentarily forget that it is the dead of winter outside.

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Wholesome Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s PDQ Muffins

Makes 10-12 muffins

2 c whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 c brown rice syrup

2 eggs

1 c milk

Zest of one Meyer lemon (about 1 T)*

2 T fresh Meyer lemon juice*

1 c frozen blueberries

*Note: If you can’t find Meyer lemons, a regular lemon should work as well.*

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Preheat oven to 500F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and blueberries.

In a small bowl, beat the brown rice syrup, eggs, milk and lemon juice together with a fork. The brown rice syrup may not mix in all the way, so just do your best.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry. Blend with a fork just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. There may be a few lumps left, but that’s okay. If you overmix, the muffins will not be light and fluffy!

Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Slide the pan into the preheated oven, and immediately drop the temperature to 400F. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

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Here’s how to store your muffins and quick breads!