Well, we have hit the time of the school year where we are over the excitement of school starting, not ready for summer yet, but exhausted with all the activities and appointments EVERYDAY! This is the time when we all start saying screw it and pick up a pre-made casserole for dinner and open a box of pop tarts for breakfast.  It is a slippery slope! I have slipped down it many times.  

Hang in there with me and I will try to give you some yummy, easy, healthy (mostly) recipes.  This recipe is one of those that is super easy-it just takes the effort to get organized and DO IT.  That is the hardest part of cooking-doing it!  
I have made this recipe about 4 times and every time I vary the ingredients and we (I) have eaten them all.  You can make a batch on Sunday (it takes about 15-20 minutes) and put them in the freezer or fridge and just snack on them all week.  I can’t say that your kids will love them, but they taste like a granola bar so you might get lucky and have one of those healthy eating kids who will gobble them up.  My boys don’t dislike them, but its not the first thing they reach for when they get home for school.  
A few notes on the ingredients- you can use any nut butter you like, peanut, cashew, almond, sun butter… This recipe takes some manipulating depending on a few things such as weather (humid or dry), the ingredients you choose, how old your oats are….you might need more or less nut butter or honey to make them sticky.  You want the bites to be sticky enough to hold together, but not so sticky that you can get it off your fingers when you are eating them.  
Another note is the oats you choose.  If you use 1-minute quick cooking oats you are going to get a softer, less chewy bite.  If you use old fashioned oats you will get a chewier, denser bite and you might even get more of a “raw” oat taste. But, just play with the ingredients and find what you like.  Add dried blueberries, salted peanuts, M&Ms, dried pineapple, chia seeds, sunflower seeds…. there are no rules.  
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Granola Energy Bites

Makes 15-18 bites

1/2 cup cashews halves
2 1/2 cups instant oats (1 minute)
1/3 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened or sweetened)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2-2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

Using a mini prep food processor, grind the cashew halves until they resemble sand.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, ground up cashews, coconut flakes, almonds, chocolate chips, cranberries and cinnamon.  

Mix in the peanut butter, honey and vanilla.  Stir to combine well and adjust the amount of honey or peanut butter to get a sticky consistency with no dry spots.  

Place the mixture in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill.  Once chilled use a 1 inch ice cream scoop to make 15-18 balls.  Place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.  At this point you can put them in a zip top bag or plastic container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  

* I like to use a spatula to mix everything together-it is flexible and makes it easier to mash everything together.
* If you don't like honey you can use maple syrup.
* Additional or alternative ingredients are: dried blueberries, dried pineapple, M&Ms, salted peanuts, pretzels, raisins, cocoa powder....

Needed Items