Saturday, June 11, 2016

Magical Granola Bars

Well hello there!  It's hard to believe that its been over two years since I've posted here on A Walk on  the Simple Side.  Rest assured, I haven't lost my passion for cooking and eating good food, just haven't taken the time to post my recipes.  So you may be asking yourself why I decided to post today?  Well, today I was experimenting in the kitchen with granola bars and I created a recipe that is nothing short of magical.  While we were devouring these magical granola bars Bobby told me that I had to write my recipe down and post it on my blog. I always have recipes in my head, but never write them down!  After a few attempts, I was able to remember my user name and password and now here I am, dusting off the blog and posting another recipe after a two-year hiatus.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.  They smoke the socks off of store bought granola bars!

Magical Granola Bars
1/2 cup raw amaranth 
2 cups quick oats
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

  1. Start by turning raw amaranth into glorious, crispy, puffed amaranth.  I followed the instruction here to make mine and it turned out wonderfully.  If you don't want to make puffed amaranth, you can sometimes find already puffed amaranth in the grocery store.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Sprinkle oats, flax seed meal, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts evenly on a large baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  4. While the grain/nut mixture is toasting, melt together butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  
  5. Mix together amaranth, coconut, and toasted grain/nut mixture in a large mixing bowl. Pour in hot butter/honey/sugar mixture and stir together until completely mixed. Quickly pour in chocolate and peanut butter chips and stir just until combined.  The chips will melt a little, but don't worry, this makes the final product even better!
  6. Pout the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press firmly with your hands to make an even layer.  Your fingers will be really chocolatey after this step, so stop for a minute to lick your fingers if you are the finger licking type.
  7. Allow to completely cool.  I stuck mine in the fridge for a while because I was impatient. Flip onto a cutting board (they should slip right out) and cut into 16 bars.
  8. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Perfect Hamburger Buns

We rarely ever buy hamburger buns any more since I discovered that I could make them at home. They are so delicious right out of the oven! I love when I can make something at home because I know exactly what goes in it and how healthy it is. I started with this great recipe (click here) from the King Arthur Flour website and modified it to make it healthier. This recipe makes 8 large buns, 12 medium buns, or 16 slider buns.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer
  2. Add 1 cup of the all purpose flour, butter, egg, honey, and salt to the yeast mixture. Blend on medium speed until well mixed.
  3. Fit a dough hook onto stand mixer. Add remaining all purpose and whole wheat flours 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once all flour is incorporated, knead the dough on low speed 5 to 6 minutes. If dough is very sticky, add additional whole wheat flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is soft and smooth.
  4. Wipe out mixer bowl, drizzle olive oil into the bowl, and turn dough over in the bowl to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and pat to flatten bubbles and form into a slightly rounded rectangle. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round shape, gently tucking ends underneath.
  6. Use your hands to gently flatten the dough rounds. Arrange buns about 1/2 inch apart on lightly greased baking sheet.
  7. Whisk 1 egg with water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash. Sprinkle each bun with sesame seeds. Drape a piece of plastic wrap over the baking sheet (do not seal tightly). Let buns rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 14 to 16 minutes. Brush the rolls with melted butter. Let cool completely. Slice in half crosswise to serve.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Healthified Classic Bran Muffins

I modified this wonderful Classic Bran Muffins recipe to be a bit healthier, but still really delicious.  Bobby and I both loved this recipe! I'll definitely be making these again in the near future.  Unfortunately, I did not get a photo so I borrowed a photo from the original recipe.  But let's be honest, bran muffins really are not that pretty anyway!

Photo from

  • 1 1/4 cups wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I use organic brown sugar, but you could also use coconut or palm sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12 count muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Mix together wheat bran milk and sour cream; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat together melted butter, egg, applesauce, vanilla and sugar and add to milk/bran mixture. Sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into bran mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

So Easy Kale Salad

Kale salad is my new favorite side dish for just about any meat and veggie dinner.  It's so quick, easy, tasty, and healthy - a total winner in my book!  You can really add any combination of beans and fruit.  I love apples and garbanzo beans, but you could easily substitute mandarin oranges, strawberries, or blueberries and black beans, cannellini beans or dark red kidney beans, or you could add a sprinkle toasted walnuts or almonds. The possibilities are endless.  It's so delicious! 

  • 6 cups rinsed and chopped fresh kale
  • 1 apple (I like yellow delicious), peeled and chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans
  • Juice of one large, soft lemon
  • 2 tbls honey
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Combine lemon juice and honey in a food processor and blend until honey is dissolved. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup olive oil and process until smooth and creamy.  Stir in salt and pepper.
  2. Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil.  With clean hands, massage kale for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly wilted. 
  3. Add apples and garbanzo beans and toss.  Drizzle honey/lemon dressing over the salad and toss until evenly coated.  Serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to eat.  Enjoy!