Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.


My very sweet friend Lauren Kelly is a certified nutritionist and new author of:


Lauren is generously sharing a signed copy with a lucky winner and fan of Knead to Cook on Facebook this Friday, February 8th, 2013.  I couldn’t wait to dive in and start testing out some recipes.  Today I tried the Cranberry Apple Granola Cookie Bars.  I did use almonds in lieu of walnuts (prefer almonds more) and I omitted the cranberries because my oldest isn’t a fan.  My review… they are heavenly!!!  I highly HIGHLY recommend these.  And they are totally wheat free! They are totally flexible too.  You can add cherries, raisins, whatever nut you prefer.  The end result… perfection!  Love Lauren and her recipes!



3 cups wheat-free rolled oats

3⁄4 cup walnuts ( I used slivered almonds), finely chopped

3⁄4 cup ground flax seed

1⁄3 cup almond meal

1⁄2 cup shredded coconut

1⁄8 teaspoon kosher salt

11⁄4 cups honey

1 teaspoon wheat-free vanilla extract

2 ounces dried cranberries, unsweetened (optional)

2 ounces dried apple slices, unsweetened


These bars are like a cookie and a granola bar in one. There is no need to buy the store bought granola bars anymore. These are healthy and delicious.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts (or whatever nut you prefer), flax, almond meal, coconut, and salt. Place on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Dissolve honey and vanilla in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. Remove dry ingredients from the oven and pour into a bowl. Lower oven to 300°F. Grease 9″ × 13″ glass dish with cooking spray.
  5. Mix honey mixture into bowl with dry ingredients, add the cranberries and apples.
  6. Pour into greased dish and spread out evenly.  Use rubber spatula to press down evenly. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Let cool for at least 1 1⁄2-2 hours to harden.


— Knead to Cook

Pineapple Jalapeño Salsa.

This recipe is so versatile.  It can be served with tortilla chip at your next soiree or atop fish or chicken for a healthy option.  You can control the spice level with the amount of jalapeño you use or if you remove the inner seeds which contain all the heat.


1 bell pepper (I used red), diced
1/2 pineapple, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup of cilantro leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped.  If you want  more heat – leave the seed in, if not, remove before chopping
Drizzle of good olive oil


Combine all of the ingredients and place into a bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavors enhance and combine to make their magic.

— Knead to Cook

Strawberry Santa Hats.

I thought these would be a fun little snacks for kids or parties as Christmas is approaching.    Plus, let’s face it, they’re a bit healthier than the traditional Christmas cookies.  I made a batch of these for an after-school snack for my girls, I think they’ll love them!


1 package of strawberries
4-6 ounces of white chocolate
1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil
Crystalized sugar
1 popsicle stick or butter knife


Melt your white chocolate however you wish (double boiler or microwave).  Add the oil to keep the chocolate loose.  Wash and remove the stems from the strawberries and pat dry.  Lay out a piece of parchment paper so that you can place the finished strawberries on it.  I used the popsicle stick to spread the cooled chocolate around the bottom edge of the strawberry.  Dip it into the crystalized sugar, be careful to just cover the melted chocolate area.  Then I dipped one tiny chocolate morsel in the melted chocolate and then place it on top of the strawberry to look like the pom pom.  I refrigerated for 20 minutes to firm up and enjoy!


— Knead to Cook

Homemade Caramel Apples.

I purchased a bushel of apples yesterday at the farmer’s market.  Yesterday I made a large batch of applesauce.  Next up, caramel apples for my kids.  My youngest daughter has been asking and asking… so today, she hits the jackpot!

I started out using my caramel recipe and then after letting it cool for about 2 minutes.


6 medium to large sized apples (firmer apples are best), washed with stem removed
Toppings – Candy (M&M’s), sprinkles, pretzel pieces, nuts, melted chocolate etc.
Popsicle sticks


Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Insert the popsicle stick into each apple.  Then dip each apple into the saucepan with the caramel.  Roll the apple around in the caramel to coat the apple evenly.   Sprinkle your toppings onto each apple.  Set on your lined baking sheet.  Let the apples set up before serving.  Enjoy!




— Knead to Cook

Unsweetened Homemade Applesauce.

Today is Tuesday and that means two things… a very early a.m. run with B and a trip to the farmer’s market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.  Today is a crisp, gorgeous fall day and I couldn’t resist making some homemade applesauce.  My youngest daughter LOVES applesauce and can’t get enough of homemade version.

If you’ve never made homemade applesauce, it is so easy. You don’t need to add any sugar to it as apples are already sweet enough.  Give this recipe a try – I know you’ll love it as much as we do.


8 large apples (softer apples are better for applesauce) I  used Winesap today or 12 smaller sized apples – cored, peeled and chopped into medium sized pieces
1.5 cups of water


In a medium sauce pan add the apples and the water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  After about 5 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and check if the apples are soft enough to mash.  If not, cover and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until you reach the desired “softness”.  You can either you a hand masher or a immersion blender and blend the apples into your sauce.  Add the cinnamon (your preference to how much you like).  I added 1 tablespoon.

Let cool and store in a tupperware container for about 2 weeks.

— Knead to Cook

Oatmeal & almond stuffed baked apples.


It’s fall and that means it’s apple season.  Who doesn’t love this time of year?  I know, I’m a total fall fan.  Crisp air, apples, pumpkins… unlimited recipe ideas!  Tonight I wanted to make something other than a crisp or pie with some apples.  I threw some ingredients together and it already smells heavenly.


4 medium sized apples of your choice
5 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 cup of oats
4 teaspoons of maple syrup or agave
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1/2 cups of nuts, your choice – walnuts, pecans or almonds work beautifully
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a 8×8 or 9×9  baking dish add water to come up the side about 1/2 of an inch.  Set aside.

Slice the top of the apple off and then make a well or bowl by removing the inner part of the apple.  Be sure not to break the outer flesh or the bottom of the apple.  I use my apple corer to do this slowly.  Reserve the apple you remove and chop it up into a coarse texture.  Set aside.

Into a mixing bowl add the butter, oats, syrup, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the apple that you removed earlier.  Mix well.  Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out portion of each apple.  Then gently set the apples into your prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove and serve immediately.

— Knead to Cook

Cake Batter Chocolate Frozen Bananas.

Okay that title is a mouthful and so are these!  I whipped up a batch for my kids and they were gone faster than a speeding bullet!  Ha!  So easy.  So much fun.  The perfect way to welcome your kids home from a long day at school.   Guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face :)


12 ounces of chocolate (you can do white, milk or dark)
2 tablespoons of Funfetti cake batter (powder)
Vegetable oil
2 whole bananas, peeled and halved
4 popsicle sticks


Pull out a platter or large plate and cover with parchment or foil.  Set aside.

Over a double boiler, melt your chocolate of choice.  Slowly start to stir the chocolate until melted.  Add the cake batter powder and mix.  At this point, add a small amount of the oil. This will loosen the chocolate up and make it easier for covering the bananas.  Add tiny amounts until you get to the right consistency.  I probably used about a tablespoon or a bit less.

Take your sticks and insert them cautiously into the larger end of the banana.  Then take a spoon and pour the chocolate over the banana.  Coat with sprinkles and set on a parchment lined plate and freeze.  Serve right out of the freezer, nice and cold.

Then step back!  :)


— Knead to Cook

Fresh Peach Chobani Protein Smoothie.

Yesterday we went peach & apple picking.  We got the biggest, juiciest peaches and I knew I wanted to make a refreshing after-school smoothie with them.  The girls loved them!  I combined it with my staple, vanilla Chobani, and some protein powder to make this super protein packed for two kids with a lot of energy.  This would also make a great post-workout smoothie to repair your muscles.


2 very large peaches, pitted with skin intact
1/2 cup of vanilla Chobani yogurt
6 ice cubes
3/4 cup of almond milk
1 scoop of vanilla designer Whey protein powder


Combine everything in your blender/Vitamixer and blend until smooth.  Add additional mix if needed.  Pour into cold glasses and serve.

— Knead to Cook

Baked Apple Chips.

Today is September 3rd.  Summer weather is still lingering but the hopes for the crisp fall air are palpable.  I, myself, cannot wait for the chill in the air, cozy sweaters, jeans and the leaves to dazzle me with their vibrance.  School, for us, starts tomorrow.  The smells of freshly sharpened pencils and the excitement are abound!  Today, we chose to pick apples… my favorites tart green & Honeycrisps.

Once we got home, I promptly pulled out my mandoline and started slicing.  Apple chips were on the brain and the perfect snack to pack in lunches tomorrow.  These are super easy, extraordinarily sweet and tart and promise to bring a smile to your face.

You can customize these how you want them.  I made three versions.  One plain, one with cinnamon and sugar and one with a powdery rub.


4 apples (I used tart green granny smith type apples), washed and sliced 1/8 of an inch thick – remove seeds
Lemon juice

Rub – 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Cinnamon and sugar combination – I used a prepared container of cinnamon and sugar blend.


Preheat the oven to 215 degrees.  Line 3-4 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Drizzle the lemon juice over the top of all of the slices.  This prevents discoloring.

Then if you’re opting to do plain – place the slices in a single layer on your baking sheet.

If you’re topping with cinnamon and sugar – place on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with the mixture.

If you’re using the rub – place the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a shallow bowl.  Mix.  Then place the apple slices in the mixture, dust off and place on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until crisp.  Keep a watchful eye after the one hour mark.  The edges will curl a bit and they will feel crispy or just about there.  Remove and let cool.  Store in a tupperware container for 2-3 days.


— Knead to Cook

Grilled peaches topped with vanilla yogurt & smoked honey.



Many things make me appreciate summer… this is definitely one of them.  Grilled peaches topped with frozen vanilla yogurt and smoked honey.  It’s heavenly.

This recipe is super easy.  Cut the peaches in half and remove the stone.  Place on a hot outdoor or indoor grill (face down) for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove and top with your favorite frozen vanilla yogurt, ice cream or creme fraiche.  Chobani would also be delightful!  Then drizzle with honey (I used smoked) and enjoy!

— Knead to Cook