Friday, January 8, 2016

Squash and Chocolate Chip Granola Bars or Muffins

The past few seasons, I have canned or froze pumpkins for the winter. I don't know where the time went this year, but it just didn't happen. It's been painful to have to buy pumpkin purée from the store, but I keep telling myself it's really not that bad! However, the one thing my basement is full of is squash. It's January and I still have at least 10 squash to go (and a good variety of them too!). I decided earlier this week that I needed to start making one squash a week and leaving the purée in the fridge for quick access. Lately, I haven't been in the mood for 'squash meals', but if it were already cooked a figured adding a little here and there would be easy.

So far, this week, I have added 1/2 a cup to the kids' mac and cheese (they had no idea), I added a cup to my enchilada mixture and I added a cup to my fruit & nut pancakes instead of bananas. I had a little bit left, so I decided to make a batch of granola bars. It started as kind of a kitchen-sink mixture, little of this ... little of that until the consistency looked about right. Little did I know that we would eat the whole batch in two days!

Since that was the last of my squash purée for the week, today, I decided to put another squash in the oven and make some more bars for the weekend. Working extremely hard to recall my memory of two days ago I put another batch together. I did change a few things ... my first batch I used almond butter and my second I used tahini. I couldn't taste the difference, but I like to get more tahini in my diet because I just love it and it is a great source of protein and the variety is always important! Secondly, I used honey on my first batch and maple syrup on the second, again, I couldn't tell the difference. You could really make this recipe your own by adding in different nut butters, nuts and dried fruit ... have fun with it!

All I know, it it's great to sneak vegetables into everyday food! It might be one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen and when it works out, I'm one happy momma!

Squash Granola Bars or Muffins

Makes 9-12 granola bars or muffins

1 cup squash purée (pumpkin purée works great too)
1 c oats
1 c almond meal
2 eggs
1/2 c tahini or nut butter
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/4 c maple syrup or honey
1 T cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 375º

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well incorporated.

Place mixture into a sprayed 8x8 pan or fill your muffin tin 2/3 way full.

Bake bars for 35-40 minutes. Muffins take about 30 minutes. Wait a couple minutes before cutting.

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