Labor Day/Meatless Monday!

Happy Labor Day! Since being sick last week, I haven’t been able to do any cooking. It’s basically driving me crazy!! I’m also still a little restricted on what I can and cannot eat; however I have to cook…so here goes.

I started with some homemade granola bars using a modified version from this blog:

peanut butter granola bars

I really enjoyed reading her blog. She has some great information regarding ingredients in store bought, so-called healthy food. I’m trying to be less concerned with making every single thing homemade as I have been for the past couple of years in n effort to relax a little (yea, right). But, I can’t help but look at the ingredient lists of some foods in the grocery store and feel a little grossed out…if I have never heard of it, or can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat it. Frankly, I think the excess of processed, artificial foods I consumed during the transition to Baltimore contributed to my illness. So, homemade granola bars it is! If I’m going to choose a store bought bar, it’s almost always a larabar-you can’t beat the super short and all natural ingredient list. And, they’re delicious.

Apricot peanut butter granola bars:

2.5 c rolled oats
1 banana, mashed
1/3 c natural peanut butter
1/4 c all natural maple syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
About 3 tbls chopped dried apricots
1 tbls milk (I used almond milk)

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl, dry in another. Mix wet into dry. Spread evenly onto foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350 about 25 minutes. Let cool completely and cut into about 12 rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container.

Honest disclosure: these are very similar to the no-bake energy bites that I absolutely love, but I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of these. First, I didn’t bake mine long enough so they were still very gooey and fell apart easily. I’m also thinking that baking them takes away some flavor and natural sweetness. So, I’m undecided but will likely stick to my energy bites!

I also realized that I would be much more fun with kids. I convinced myself that since I didn’t need to make these kid-friendly, I should omit the chocolate chips. Seriously? Seriously. Maybe that’s why I didn’t really care for them. The only fun decision I made was to lick the spoon…mostly because I love peanut butter. And no, I didn’t double dip. I’m not Anne Burrell. LOVE her, but seriously, a chef can taste their food without double dipping.

I finished my cooking for the day with no-bake summer lasagna! This one is a keeper! I had the most deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes from the farmers market and fresh zucchini as well as fresh basil from my window herb garden. The recipe is super easy and delicious! It was even great reheated for dinner tonight! The hardest part was refraining from eating ALL of the tomatoes before making the lasagna.

no bake summer lasagna

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Hope you did what you love on Labor Day! Happy cooking šŸ™‚

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