SUPER NUTTY HOMEMADE GRANOLA BARS

Tomorrow the hubby & I are going away again for a weekend of camping in New Hampshire with some friends. We both love camping but haven’t been all summer. It’s about time!

I always bring snack bars for camping, especially if we’re hiking & we need quick, filling, on-the-go snacks. I was just going to pick up some healthy snack bars at the grocery store, but I really couldn’t find anything that was “healthy” enough to me.

I made some homemade snack bars a few weeks back, so I decided to experiment with them again instead of purchasing anything. The hubby specifically requested for something a little nuttier this time than just standard chocolate chip granola bars.

I have to say, they turned out really great!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (preferably quick oats)
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup pecans*
  • 1/4 cup almonds*
  • 1/4 cup craisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Mix the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil together until blended well.

2. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.

*Note: for the nuts, you can choose any kind of you like. I just happened to have pecans & almonds on hand.

3. Mix the peanut butter mixture into the oat/nut mixture until well blended and all the oats and nuts are coated well.

4. Shape the oat “dough” on a foil covered baking sheet by using a spatula to flatten.

5. Put in the fridge or freezer to set, about 30 minutes.

6. Slice it with a pizza cutter to create bars. Makes 8.

Slice the bars with a pizza cutter

I was trying to save them all for the trip, but I just had to try one beforehand. Quite nutty indeed!

What I particularly love about homemade bars is that they are so much more filling. Pure oats, seeds, nuts, and peanut butter? I know there are a lot of calories in this snack, but it’s exactly what I’m looking for in a snack bar these days. Those little 100 calories things just don’t cut it for me. And I also love knowing everyingredient in these bars. No random syrups or extra sugars. Just goodness.

I put them in individual snack bags to take with us on the trip. I’m keeping them refrigerated until we leave, as they tend to get a little crumbly at room temperature.

Hopefully they hold up in a backpack!

Questions for You:

  • What’s your favorite trail snack?
  • The perfect granola bar for you would include what ingredients?

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

Last night was one of those nights that neither me or my husband were in the mood to make dinner. We decided to have a date night in, but cooking was just not appealing.

It’s also really not date night in unless there’s some kind of dessert involved, but with the sugar detox, I was pretty much out of options at home. To the store we went!

Right next to the grocery store is a restaurant called UNO that has really good pizza. It was definitely calling my name as we walked by. We picked up their “Farmer’s Market” pizza, which has carmelized onions, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and more.

Farmer's Market Pizza

All the slices were pretty normal sized, except this little teeny one that I had to have. How cute is it?

Teeny slice!

It took me about two bites to eat that little guy. The pizza was so satisfying, and the crust was really buttery and crunchy. Mmm!

After dinner, I was ready to whip up some no-sugar-added dessert. I’ll recap the whole sugar detox experience tomorrow, but the week has been going really great. I don’t really feel like I’m craving sweets, but I needed something. 

I picked up some Polaner all natural fruit spread at the store. I get this stuff all the time, but was just out. It’s amazingly sweet for having no sugar added. Just a bunch of fruit juices.

I decided to make what I’ll call peanut butter & jelly pudding. This undoubtedly makes me think of Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

PB&J Pudding

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY PUDDING

I used…

  • Fage plain 0% Greek Yogurt (my fave) 
  • 2-3 tbsp. PB 2 (as powder, not mixed with water)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Peanut Butter
  • 1 tbsp. jelly

I threw the first 3 ingredients into the Greek yogurt & mixed, and then topped it with the peanut butter & jelly. This was surprisingly satisfying & plenty sweet.

I used to think plain Greek yogurt was so sour until I started using Fage. I love Chobani, but I find that their plain version is way too sour to me. Fage is somehow better.

PB & J Pudding

So yummy! Although I had this for dessert, this would make a really good afternoon snack too. Or you could even have it for breakfast.

After I had my “dessert,” we watched Argo. So good!

ORGANIZATION CHALLENGE

Again, I am so excited to be doing the Organization Challenge with some of you. However, this week I was just not motivated to clean or organize anything, which is quite odd for me.

But the hubby got me this awesome to-do list pad for my birthday, so hopefully after a list or two, my motivation will return.

To Do List

This is like the holy grail of to-do lists for me. Love!

I hope you have a great Saturday! I’m off to squeeze in a work out, just chill, and then go to a Tupperware party later 

Questions for You: 

  • Are you a to-do list person? Why or why not? 
  • Challenge participants, how has your organizing been going? Making progress or unmotivated?

Brisket Flat vs Point

The cut from the lower chest or breast of veal or beef is called “brisket.” Briskets have two types of cuts—the flat and the point—and for this reason, you will sometimes read or hear the phrase Brisket flat vs point. But what is really the difference between the brisket flat and point?

Brisket Flat vs Point

Brisket Flat and Point Differentiated

Brisket, according to USDA, refers to the cut from the beef’s side that includes the deep pectoral, the sternum bones, and the supraspinatus muscle. The brisket flat generally refers to the deep pectoral muscle. On the other hand, the pectoralis superficialis is called the brisket point.

The point and the flat are generally separated by a thick strip of fat that runs between them. This strip of fat also runs over the whole surface of the brisket flat. Moreover, you’ll find thick fat that encircles the brisket flat’s edge, especially close to the point. The brisket point is perched on top of the brisket flat. The meat’s deepest portion, however, belongs to the brisket flat.

To differentiate further the flat and point, you will notice that one side of the brisket contains a large area with almost no fat. The point faces the brisket’s high end while the fat-free side faces downward. Another important point to consider about the point and the flat is that their grains almost run perpendicular to each other’s grain. Thus, you need to separate these two sections after cooking.

Prepping a Brisket

Every brisket carries a unique characteristic. You will not find two briskets that are totally identical. You’ll see a lot of variations of briskets in terms of shape, size, amount of fat, and how the point relates to the flat section. So, you don’t need to be surprised if you find your brisket longer than the previous brisket you’ve cooked.

When preparing a brisket, you can’t use a dull knife for it is surely incapable of cutting through it. You would need a really sharp knife to trim the brisket. You can’t also use a utility knife or a paring knife. Instead, you should either use a butcher’s knife or a boning knife.

Some people folks prep the brisket by simply removing it from the Cryovac and patting it dry using paper towels. Afterward, they apply their favorite rub, and then, throw the brisket onto a cooker.

It is not good to leave the brisket with all the fat on it. The truth is—rub and smoke would surely be incapable of penetrating the fat. If all fats are intact, you would need more fuel and time to cook it.

Experts will suggest that you cut away some thick fat or some of the thickest strips of fat. Just leave enough fat to provide flavor to the brisket and keep it moist during the cooking process.

How to Separate the Flat from the Point?

The first thing you should do to separate the flat from the point is to identify where the flat and point on the brisket are. You can do this by placing the brisket on a table with the fattier side facing downward. Obviously, the point will be below the flat. You will notice a fat seam at the point where the flat and the point meet.

This fat seam is referred to as the “nose.” You can begin separating the two at that point. Cut downward into the fat seam. Then, follow the seam while it curves back and runs under the flat. Lift the flat using your free hand while you slice through its fat seam up to where the point tapers off. There, you can slice through the meat to completely separate the two.

Afterward, you can begin trimming off the external fat. The point will be usually on the right while the flat is usually on the left side. You can either smoke the point alone and save the flat for later smoking or you can smoke them both at once.

Conclusion

The point and the flat are two cuts on the brisket and as such, they come from the same section of the beef. The brisket flat vs point argument is often no longer necessary to deal with for both are of the same section. Of course, you can still go on pitting the flat with the point, but for a lot of people, the two don’t have much difference.

What Does Tofu Taste Like?

What is Tofu?

Tofu is solid that is made from condensed soy milk, and it is native to Asia. It is a very popular food that you must have seen in movies or heard about from your friends and family, even if you have had no encounter with this food. Tofu is very high in protein, which is why it is popular among vegetarians; instead of meat and fish, this food serves as their main source of protein. It shouldn’t be food for vegetarians; however, it is something that should be taken by everybody because it is plant-based and highly nutritious. If you have never tasted tofu before, this article will give you an idea about what tofu really tastes like.

What does Tofu taste like?

Tofu is simply coagulated protein, and in reality, it should have a bland taste. There are certain things that will, however, influence what tofu tastes like. These determining factors are:

  • Type of tofu
  • How it is cooked
  • Your sensitivity to taste

Type of Tofu

Tofu generally has a bland taste, regardless of the type. The only thing that these different types of tofu have is different textures. So even though tofu generally has a bland taste, these different types of tofu with different textures will affect how you will perceive that taste.

Firm tofu

This is arguably the most popular type of tofu, and it is one of the types that are very suitable for frying. Firm tofu has a sort of earthy flavor, but like most types of tofu, it will absorb the taste of other ingredients used to cook it.

Soft tofu

This type of tofu is always eaten fresh. Just as the name implies, it is very soft and kind of creamy. It is usually combined with other sweet food, and it is commonly used for dessert. This kind of tofu will most likely take the taste of the other dishes it is taken with.

Silken tofu

This is not as soft as soft tofu but is still a little soft. This tofu is popularly used in soups, and it is also used to concentrate the taste of other foods.

Smelly tofu

This is the only type of tofu that has a distinct flavor on its own. It has a strong smell and also a fermented taste that some people like.

Porous tofu

This type of tofu doesn’t have a taste on its own, and it can soak up the flavor and taste of other food it is cooked with. It is commonly used in broths.

How it is cooked

Going by this factor, it is possible to make your tofu taste anyhow you want it to taste like. How tofu is prepared is the most critical factor that will influence the taste, texture, and flavor of what you will get finally. Simply put, tofu will taste like the ingredients used in cooking it or like the other foods it is cooked with.

Sensitivity to taste

Five taste senses are present on the tongue; sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and glutamates. Tofu in the real sense is tasteless unless you are sensitive to glutamates. If you are sensitive to glutamates, you may experience some taste whenever you take tofu, and it most likely won’t be a nice taste.

How to get the best taste out of tofu

When cooking tofu, you should have it in mind that the most important thing is what you cook it with; this is the most important factor that will eventually influence taste. On its own, tofu is almost tasteless, unless you are sensitive to glutamate, you should not experience any eat just tofu. To get the best taste from tofu, you should either season or marinate it with flavors that you like. Follow the steps below if you want to give the tofu that particular taste and flavor you like.

Drain

When you drain tofu properly, especially firm tofu, it will be easier for the seasoning to get in and stay in the tofu, making sure that you get that particular taste and flavor you have in mind.

Cut the tofu thinly

When you cut your tofu too thick, it becomes very hard for the seasoning to get to the middle, and what you will end up with is the outer part of the tofu having a taste, but the inner part will remain bland. To ensure that the seasoning gets to all chunks of the tofu, try always to cut it thinly.

Seasoning

You must have had a particular or flavor in mind before you start cooking; this will determine the type of seasoning you will use. Add sufficient salt, pepper, paprika, and any other type of seasoning that will give your tofu that taste that you have in mind.