Thursday, June 20, 2013

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Granola

School's finally out, which officially means summer is here!!! 

Being a teacher I often times tend to hear people say, 'teacher's have such an easy job and get the summers off, that's so unfair.'  All I ever think when I hear this, is 'try teaching for a week, or then again, a day, and tell me how you feel after that.'  I usually just end up keeping my thoughts to myself though.  So, as much as I love my job, the summer break is always nice, needed, and well deserved.  It gives me a chance to get a ton of things done and finally focus on my personal life for a change, without having to worry about 130 kids. 

So, for the month of June I've decided to really focus on my health.  More specifically, I've been trying to change my diet and eat healthy.  Since my injury in February, I've put on a few pounds, and am determined to shed them this summer.  I'm a very competitive person by nature and am taking part in a diet bet with friends of mine, plus a lot of others.  My ultimate goal is to be back at the weight I was at last summer and I know that eating healthy is going to play the biggest role in that.

Over time I've noticed, that for some reason, when I'm not at school, eating healthy is easy.  In the summertime I'm fond of light lunches: yogurt, cottage cheese, sandwiches, protein shakes, etc.  I always like to add a little extra to these things in order to spice them up though, and am a huge fan of granola and fruit!  Due to this, I decided to be creative and make a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Granola in order to go with my cottage cheese or yogurt dishes.  Honestly, the granola turned out better than I expected!  I already had some Nature Valley dark oat granola bars that I like to break into pieces, in my pantry, however, I now foresee them staying there for quite a bit.  I'm definitely going to be making this recipe again and again! 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Granola
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2 TBSP. honey
6 TBSP. water
2 TBSP. light brown sugar
2 tsp. canola oil, or coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TBSP. special dark cocoa powder
3 TBSP. creamy peanut butter
2 TBSP. ground flaxseed
1 scoop protein powder
¾ cups chopped walnuts
4 cups oats (I use old fashioned)
Ground cinnamon
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Set aside.  Place the oats and walnuts in a medium to large bowl and then set that aside as well.

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, water, brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and flaxseed, then whisk together until completely smooth in texture.  Add in the peanut butter and stir around until smooth.  Lastly, add in the protein powder and continue to stir until well combined and smooth.

Pour the peanut butter chocolate mixture over the oats and using a wooden spoon, stir around until all the oats are evenly coated.  Pour the oats out onto the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with some cinnamon, and place in the oven for 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir the oats around halfway through.  Once ready, remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack for cooling.  After the oats have had time to completely cool, add in the chocolate and cinnamon chips, and stir together.  Store the granola in an airtight container.
Source: Bowl of Creativity Original


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