Yum Peaceful Cooking: Granola Bars and a Smoothie

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Granola Bars and a Smoothie


What do you think of when you hear that simple, nourishing, comforting food word?

Breakfast? Cookies? Childhood memories?

All of the above and more is what I say. I've been eating instant oatmeal for years. It's great for those busy mornings. It's great for those cold mornings. It's even great for a quick dinner on a hectic night.

I recently received some samples of Better Oats instant oatmeal to play with. And what a treat it has been!

The varieties they sent...I had such a hard time narrowing it down to which one I wanted to try first.

Better Oats

I always thought you had to use old fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats for granola bars. That's what the recipes that I saw said. But I thought I'd give Better Oats a try. I'm not saying that every brand of instant oatmeal out there would work but I had a feeling that Better Oats would based on the quality of the oats.  The whole grain gave a promise of texture rather than mush. Well heck..lemme just show you a comparison: 

On the right...a well know, well loved brand of instant oatmeal. The the left...Better Oats instant oatmeal. You can see the difference before you even get to taste it. Now you can see why I'd assumed it would work. 

Did I mention how healthy Better Oats is? Flax seed is in there, some of their flavors are organic...and they contain other whole grains...well...just read the writing in red at the bottom to get the whole run down. And...most likely this product is already in your local stores. I saw it at Ralphs here in California over the weekend. SCORE!!

My granola bars were inspired by Ina Garten's Homemade Granola Bar recipe. 

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Granola Bars

3 punches of Better Oats Instant Oatmeal (mix and match which ever flavors you choose, I used 2 pouches of Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and 1 pouch of Apples and Cinnamon)
1/2 cup mixed nuts, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 TB butter
1/3 cup honey
2 TB brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup craisins (or raisins)
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350' F. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper. 

On a baking sheet, combine the oatmeal, nuts and coconut. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until lightly browned 

Put the toasted goodies in a medium bowl. Reduce the oven temperature to 300'F.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat, while stirring. Cook and stir for a minute. Pour mixture over the toasted oat mixture. Stir in the craisins and chocolate chips. 

Pour mixture into your prepared 8x8 baking dish and press evenly. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Allow to cool for a few hours...2 or 3, then cut into serving sizes. 

Store at room temperature. I cut mine into 8 rectangles and wrapped them individually in wax paper to store so they wouldn't stick together.

Omg...these are amazingly delicious! A tiny bit chewy and a tiny bit crunchy. Wonderful flavor. Next time, I'm going to double the recipe. My girls loved them. I loved them. Talk about a healthy snack on the go. 

Now....when my sample box arrived in the mail, I had a brief conversation with one of my daughters that went something like this

Me: What should I make with this oatmeal? 
Daughter: Hmm...how about a drink?
Me: A drink?! (my mind instantly went to alcohol)
Daughter: Ya...they put oatmeal in smoothies all the time!
Me: Oooooh...a smoothie? When you said "drink", I was thinking alcohol. Hmm...what if I added alcohol to a smoothie...?
Daughter: Hmmm...(shrug) that might work

Ok...so I took a perfectly good smoothie recipe and totally junked it up. Or...you could say, I took a healthy smoothie recipe and made if for adults only. Maybe this recipe will make you feel better about consuming some alcohol? 

Adult Raspberry Pomegranate Oatmeal Smoothie
Printable Version

1 pouch of BetterOats Pomegranate Organic Raw Pure and Simple Instant Oatmeal
1/2 cup Greek low fat yogurt
1 ripe banana (the riper it is, the more flavor you will have)
1/2 reduced fat milk
1 shot Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
1/2 shot orange liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with pomegranate arils if desired.

This was just plain fun! And absolutely delicious. It's thick and creamy with a slight kick. Not that I'd start my day with this...but I just might end it that way. Who can complain about a quick dinner and cocktail in one?

Of course, if you're not in the mood for that "kick" just leave the alcohol out and enjoy a nutritious smoothie like a good girl (or boy).

Now that I've had my fun, let me tell you about this oatmeal as is. Instant oatmeal. It's a little fun on its own. The pouch happens to double as a measuring cup.

Can you say...convenient?!

Get out your large bowl....pour the oatmeal in it. Fill the empty pouch to the water line, pour into the bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Poof. It's done.

Here's a little side note. When the manufacture says large bowl, don't assume they mean something on the small side. You see...when oatmeal in the microwave gets hot...it becomes a lava flow

And that's not what you want. Try something a little larger and be safe because between you and me...this oatmeal is too good to waste.

I have to say one more thing before I close. I'm not much on fruit flavored oatmeals...they usually taste too sweet and dessert-ish. Not BetterOats. You find yourself with a bowl of good taste and good for you food. Plain and simple.

*This sponsorship is brought to you by Better Oats's whom we have partnered with for this promotion*

Better Oats� instant oatmeal comes in many delicious varieties � 23 flavors in fact, including RAW Pure & Simple� Pomegranate and MMM... Muffins� Blueberry Muffin. Kids love Better Oats because it�s fun and delicious, and parents love it because it is not only nutritious, but also convenient. Better Oats uses up to 35 percent less packaging than traditional instant oatmeal boxes (so there�s more room on the pantry shelf), and the pouch doubles as a measuring cup! 

Made with 100% whole grain oats and flax seeds, this complete line offers a simple and healthy option when it comes to instant oatmeal. But it's not only a great breakfast (or lunch... or snack...) but also a better ingredient to spice up a cookie or other baked goods.

You've got to try Better Oats. If you've been settling for ordinary oatmeal, then you're in for a treat because Better Oats is just... better! Try us and see for yourself.

Better Oats offers 23 delicious flavors in several lines, including RAW Pure & Simple�, Oat Revolution�, and MMM...Muffins�.

RAW Pure & Simple: RAW Pure & Simple is a better way to eat. We start with the finest quality 100% organic, whole grain oats blended with organic whole grains and seeds, like flax, barley and quinoa, for a wonderfully wholesome and nutritious breakfast. You'll love all four thick, hearty multigrain texture and natural, robust flavors. RAW Pure & Simple is naturally good, straight from Mother Earth.

Oat Revolution: Raise your spoon and join us for an Oat Revolution! It starts with all natural 100% whole grain oats. We then add antioxidants and flax, a good source of Omega-3, and top it all off with a bold shot of flavor. All combine to create delicious oatmeal that keeps its rich, robust flavor all the way to your bowl. Take one bite and start your Oat Revolution!  

MMM...Muffins: Everyone loves waking up to hot, fresh muffins for breakfast.
MMM...Muffins gives you that same delicious muffin taste you crave in healthy and nutritious 100% whole grain oatmeal. Our thick and hearty oatmeal is also a good source of fiber and omega-3, so it's better than good, it's good for you. Start your day off right with the indulgent taste of real muffin flavor in every bite...mmm.

You can also visit them on their BetterOats facebook page 


  1. They both look fabulous!!! Going to see if I have that brand here!

  2. I love adding oatmeal to my smoothies

  3. OMG! You had to find a way to make it an alcoholic drink! ROTFL! I got this oatmeal, and I love it. Gotta get my post up in a day or two. Great job!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. ...of course, the smoothie for kids would be sans the chambord :)

  6. My thought: One bite of those granola bars and I have had my dessert for the day! Those look good! Heck, I know they are good!

    And the smoothie.... never thought of adding liquor......think I better stick with the kids version. Can you imagine me yelling "I've fallen and can't get up"

  7. I tried your recipe out with organic instant oats, skipped the coconut (I ran out!), melted some choc chips over - they are heaven! Fantastic recipe, done in no time. Oh, and I baked it for 45min for a crunchier bite, yum.

  8. Dear "Cooking for My Peace of Mind", cooking is therapy for me too. I just made your Homemade Instant Oatmeal Granola Bars. I am on a mission to use up opened items that are in my pantry. My husband is a Type 1 diabetic and it is always good to know how many carbs are in an item. When cut into 8 rectangles, do you have any idea how many carbs are in one bar? Perhaps there is another person that made a comment that has already found the answer for me. Would you please send that info to my email address? <3

    1. HI Kathie, I think you will need to look at the packages of the ingredients you used (as they may be different than the ones I used) and divide the carbs based on the quantity you used. There are about 35 g carbs in each pouch that I used (times 3, divided by 8 is about 13 g per bar just in the oats), but each brand/flavor may have a different count. Then add the carbs from the remaining ingredients. About.com has a carb counter that you could try out. I hope that helps. I wish I could do more. :)


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