Healthy Granola Bars

Have I mentioned that I am the ultimate snacker? While I try to make the better decisions like carrots and nuts, if a chocolate chip gets in my line of sight, I can’t help myself and just go for it!

With winter upon us and Storm Jonas covering our little city of Charleston in about 18” of snow, the most physical activity that we’ll be getting anytime soon is shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling, meaning that choosing healthy and filling snacks is a must. Do I wish that I had a little bit more self-control and focused more on meals and less on snacks? Absolutely! But then I wouldn’t be able to eat these insanely good granola bars, or these Whole Wheat Muffins packed with protein, so maybe snacking is the way to go!

On Thursday when I headed to the supermarket the day before the big storm hit, I stocked up on the must haves—fruits, veggies, lots of milk, coconut flour, chips and salsa…

I got home, and was like yes, chips and salsa are fabulous, but if we want something hearty, healthy and filling when it’s time to find our cars under the snow, we need a little something else. Roberto and I really love a good granola bar, but sometimes they can be full of ingredients that no one has ever heard of, and that’s just a no go in this house!

Cue in these granola bars.

The base had to be oaty and nutty for me, always! From there, you can really add anything—spices, seeds, fruit, chocolate! The option of a nut flour is definitely there, but coconut flour adds a slight sweetness, so you can add little to no sugar in the rest of the bar. I love all types of dried fruit, and the dried cranberries can be swapped for something else. The crucial points in this bar? Oats, coconut flour, honey and peanut butter. It is best to use honey over agave or maple syrup because it has more of a viscous texture compared to the others and therefore will hold the bar together better. Almond flour and butter instead of coconut flour and peanut butter? Certainly—you can change that!

If I haven’t won you over so far, get ready for this. This recipe makes 8 bars. Each bar comes in at a delicious 225 calories, 13g of fat and 5g of protein! Tell me you aren’t grabbing your mixing bowl right now!

These granola bars are super healthy, full of great quality ingredients and will fuel all activities—from shoveling to stacking wood to all of your winter storm fun!


Oats—1.5 oz, or ½ C

Coconut Flour—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Pecans, chopped—2 oz, or ½ C

Dried Cranberries—1.5 oz, or ¼ C

Cayenne Pepper—¼ tsp

Cinnamon—½ tsp

Chia Seeds—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Salt—¼ tsp

Honey—2.5 oz, or ¼ C

Peanut Butter—3.25 oz, or 1/3C

Vanilla Extract—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Chocolate Chips—3 oz, or ¼ C + 1 TBL


Preheat your oven to 300˚ F.

In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, pecans, cranberries, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chia seeds and salt. Mix.

In a heat proof bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter.

Heat in the microwave, or it can be over the stove in a pot, until the peanut butter is nice a melted. *I like to use crunchy peanut butter for this recipe, it gives the bars an added crunch factor—but creamy is fine too!*

Once melted, add in the vanilla extract, and pour all into the dry ingredients mixture.

Using either your hands or a spatula, mix until combined. Your granola mixture will feel slightly stiff, but that’s what you want!

Fold in the chocolate chips.

*You may add the chocolate chips in with the rest of the dry ingredients and mix with the melted peanut butter and honey. The end result in taste is the same, but the chips will melt, making your bars more a chocolate color!*

To bake, I use a square 8”x8” pan, line it with parchment and press the bars evenly into the pan.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, until the oats just start to brown.

*You could also freeze the bars instead of baking to hold their shape, but I love the crispy oat texture and taste!*

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Cut into bars—you will get 8 out of this pan, and they are only 225 calories each!

Bon Appétit!

Lemon Cranberry Swirl Bars

When it comes to Thanksgiving, lemon may not be something you instantly think of. There are always those pumpkin, apple, or pecan pies, which are amazing, don’t get me wrong, but why not something a little lighter? A little something something to refresh that palette after you eat 5 helpings of mashed potatoes and way too many servings of stuffing (if there is such a thing!)?

These lemon cranberry swirl bars, I believe, are the answer to all of your “I’m so stuffed, I can’t eat another bite of anything else” feelings. I always thought that my mom was silly for being absolutely in love with any dessert that involved lemon, I mean come on mom, no chocolate = no dessert. But these bars have changed the game completely.

Maybe you aren’t sold because you’re not really a lemon meringue pie type of person, or, you’re like me, who needs something super rich and way too decadent to even consider it a dessert. WELL MY FRIENDS, this has even me converted.

It could be the fact that the crust is like one big sugar cookie…


But let’s look beyond that! There’s this amazingly tart, yet sweet, lemon curd that has these mesmerizing cranberry swirls all over it. How can you not just love that? While lemon may be a far-fetched flavor during November and December, cranberry is certainly going to making its appearance more than once.

So, there you go my lemon lovers and soon-to-be, a dessert that is equally refreshing as it is vibrant in all sorts of intense flavors. Plus there's the added fun of making the cranberry swirl in any design, I could do that for hours. I guess my mom will start needing to share her part of the dessert table this year!

crust ingredients

Butter—14 oz, or 3 sticks + 4 TBL

Sugar—7 oz or 1C 1 TBL



Salt—½ tsp

Flour—20 oz, or 4 C

crust process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

Once light and fluffy, add in your egg and yolks.

When combined, add in the flour and salt.

Mix until your dough is formed, refrigerate to chill and until ready to use.

When you are ready to prebake the crust, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

On a floured work surface, knead the dough so that it becomes more pliable and easier to roll.

Roll out your crust into a rectangle that is about ¼” thick and is about an inch bigger than the size pan that you’ll be using. I use a 9” x 13” pan, therefore rolling my dough into a 10” x 14” rectangle.

Take your crust and press it into your pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Poke holes in it with a fork, this works as a vent, therefore no big air bubbles will come up in your crust while it is baking.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, just until the crust begins to become slightly brown.

Let it cool until you’re ready to use for the filling.

filling ingredients

Lemon Juice—4.25 oz, or ½ C

Sugar—22 oz, or 2 ¾ C

Cranberries—4 oz, or 1 C

Water—2 oz, or ¼ C



Flour—4 oz, or ¾ C

filling process

In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, water and 2oz/¼ C of the sugar.

Over low heat, stir the berries until they begin to simmer and pop open.

The cranberry mixture will begin to thicken, this should take anywhere from 8-10 minutes.

Once all of the berries are cooked and very thick, strain them. Set aside until you are ready to use.

Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, remaining sugar, eggs, yolks and flour.

Add a few spoonfuls of this lemon mixture to your strained cranberry purée.

Pour the lemon juice filling into the par-baked crust.

Drop spoonfuls of the cranberry purée around the lemon filling, and then proceed to swirl with a knife.

When you are satisfied with how your beautiful cranberry swirl design has come out, bake for about 35 minutes, until the filling has set.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool.

Finish with a nice dusting of confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

Bon Appétit!