Sweet and Chewy Granola Bars April 5, 2010

Always on the hunt for tasty new versions of homemade and healthy bars, I love trying newly discovered, soon-to-be classics.  These oooey-gooey-chewy sweet nuthins will dazzle your tastebuds and satisfy your sweet-tooth.  They have some great ingredients, but as with all typical granola bars, are a wee bit high on the sugar factor – so no finishing the entire batch in one sittin’ ya hear?  Well, try not too at least … and if you falter (don’t feel guilty, these things are like crack) just up the laps around the park that night, or maybe shave off a glass of vino (oh for the love of Pete why did I just say that?).



3/4 cup oats (not instant)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower OR pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup spelt flour (you could substitute whole wheat)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Pinch of nutmeg OR Allspice

1/2 cup canola OR sunflower oil OR almond oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried blueberries (or whatever your fave dried berry is)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a square baking pan with parchment paper OR simply grease pan slightly.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl combine canola oil, brown sugar, and maple syrup until  smooth then stir in egg and vanilla extract. 
  4. Combine dry mixture with wet until it just incorporated then add in dried blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly, and bake bars until set (about 25-30 min). 
  6. Remove bars from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire, then cut into desired sizes and shapes and serve!

Blondie Bombshells December 16, 2009

Filed under: My bakery — s mcdowall @ 8:38 pm
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It’s Christmastime and that means I morph into a bakeaholic.  My friends and family love me, but my thighs abhor me.  C’est la vie!  I can’t wait for this time of year – everyone seems a buzz with activity, regardless of denomination, and I love love love giving and making gifts.  The usual suspects will certainly make an appearance this year – my Peanut Butter Cookies, Beer bread, and Shortbread – but this year I am swapping out a few go-tos and premiering a few newbies.  With that, I present to you my version of a BLONDIE.  I am a blonde (bombshell???) myself this year, so it was bye-bye brownies and hello blondies!  This ooey-gooey-carmelly recipe couldn’t be easier: 7 ingredients people … but it does take a little patience … what delectable doesn’t????



2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 TSBP baking powder

1⁄4 tsp. salt

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract



1)      Preheat oven to 350F and line a square bake pan with parchment paper, then grease.

2)      Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

3)      In a small-medium sized saucepan on medium heat, add butter and brown sugar and heat through until butter is completely melted and sugar has completely disappeared, stirring often – then continue heating for 1 more minute as the sauce bubbles but does not boil!  NOTE – ensure sauce does not come to a boil as you’ll burn it!  It just needs to form cute little bubbles.

4)      Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 min.

5)      To cooled sauce, add in egg and egg yoke and mix slowly to combine well, then add in vanilla and blend.

6)      Pour wet mixture into dry misture and combine thoroughly, but do NOT overmix (turn for about 20 folds).

7)      Pour batter into prepped baking pan, and bake for 25-35 minutes until done (watch out as it may burn easily!!)

8)      Allow to cool in bake pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then remove and continue cooling for another 15 minutes, then slice and serve!

Notes – these little morsels go amazingly well on their own, but for a decadent treat serve warmed with a side of vanilla ice-cream.  Heaven.  They keep well frozen if really well wrapped in plastic and tinfoil.


Peanut Butter Choco-Chip Squares August 6, 2009

I live and breathe peanut butter!!  I swear, if I ever get a nut allergy I am doomed.  Every day for as long as I can remember, I’ve had nuts in some shape or another.  Nothing makes me instantly cheerful like a big spoonful of my fave PB (okay, maybe a glass of wine, but that’s another story).  These bars are not only delectable, they are packed with good-for-you ingredients that you most likely already have on hand.  If you are looking to cut back on some calories, you can use Splenda, but I prefer the real thing.  To make these dairy-free, sub in ALMOND or RICE milk and use dairy-free ‘chips’ as I’ve done.


¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy – your call)

1/3 cup regular brown sugar (or Splenda Brown Sugar Blend if you are calorie counting)

1 egg, beaten

½ cup skim milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life chips – which are dairy and soy free! Yay!)


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat an 8″ x 8″ baking dish and lightly brush with oil (coat with cooking spray).

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, and gently stir with a fork.

3) In a separate mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, sugar, and egg and stir vigorously until creamy, then add milk and vanilla and stir until smooth.

4) Add the flour mixture to wet mixture, stirring until well combined, then mix in the chips.

5) Place dough into prepared baking dish and pat top lightly until smooth, then bake for about 15 min, or until slightly puffy and very lightly browned at the edges.

6) Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 min before cutting.

NOTE – you can add in oatmeal, raisins, coconut flakes, etc if you wish … totally up to you!pb


Hot Choddy November 21, 2008

Filed under: Cheers — s mcdowall @ 3:37 pm
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What do you get when you cross a hot chocolate with a hot toddy?  Yep, a hot choddy.  Sipping a large glass mug (or bowl) of this is exactly how I want to spend a cold and wintery night, all snuggled up on my couch.  You can’t go wrong with this combo.  You’ll be feeling heavenly long after the last sip is slurped.  Add a little whipped cream on top if you’re really wanting to satisfy that sugar hankering.


1 cup milk (use at least 1 or 2% – feel free to subsitute rice milk for a lactose free version)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 oz Kahlua or Bailey’s or Amarula

1 oz dark rum


1) In a saucepan heat milk, cocoa powder and brown sugar on med-high, whisking briskly until a gentle simmer begins.

2) Gently simmer and whisk for a few minutes, then remove from heat and whisk in Kahlua and rum.

3) Serve in heat-hot_chocolate_by_drinkpoisonproof mugs (glass just seems to look and taste better) and enjoy immediately.


Pumpkin-tastic Bread January 24, 2008

You will be able to fool even the more discerning carnivore, with this to-good-to-be-true vegan recipe. It also makes a great gift, and freezes amazingly. You can make this recipe into muffins too! It may not be low on the calorie or fat count, but it packs a lot of protein and is well worth the extra 30 min on the treadmill.

1 cup chopped walnuts
3 1/2 cups flour (whole wheat, all-purpose, rice, etc)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup flaked coconut

1) Preheat oven to 350F, and grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (you can use 4 small loaf pans too, but lessen the baking time).
2) Spread walnuts in a single layer on a non-greased baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 min (or until lightly browned); set aside to cool.
3) In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown and white sugars, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
4) Add the pumpkin, oil, and coconut milk, and mix until combined.
5) Add in the flaked coconut and toasted walnuts, stir gently.
6) Divide the batter evenly between pans, and bake for 60-75 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).
7) Remove from oven, cover loaves tightly with foil, and allow to steam for 10 minutes.
8) Remove foil, and turn loaves out onto a cooling rack.
9) Allow to cool completely before serving. Enjoy!


Wholesome Gluten-free muffins January 12, 2008

Yes, I am a vegetarian, and yes I try to eat as cleanly as possible. That means organic, high in protein, low in caleries and bad fats, and tasty. Often a hard combo. Throw in that I often cook for gluten-free friends, and I am allergic to soy, and it’s next to impossible to please all. Did some playing around tonight, and ended up with some very yummy healthy muffins. A bit of an oxymoron, but here’s the recipe to try for yourself.

READY IN: 35 Min
Recipe yield: 15 muffins
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup hemp flour
3/4 cup ground flax seed
3/4 cup oat bran (omit if really really gluten sensitive, and add more rice flour)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup skim milk (or soy or rice milk if dairy free)
2 eggs, beaten (or egg subsitute if vegan)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sunflower or almond oil
2 apples, peeled, shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used walnuts and sunflower seeds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax seed, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and oil; mix until just blended.
Stir in the apples, raisins and nuts.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake at 350 F (175 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.