Yummy Yummy Granola Bars (with a gluten free option)

I have tweaked this recipe so many times, and still adjust it on occasion. I’m super proud of it, because it is truly MY recipe that I developed on my own. There are many substititutions that can be made based on you and your family’s needs and likes.

I make a batch and have these for my breakfast pretty much every day. Super convenient and filling and healthy and cheap and yummy.


Here’s what you’ll need:

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tb ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 1: Grind first five ingredients. I use an old coffee grinder to grind each individually and then dump into a bowl.


Step 2: Add remaining dry ingredients.

Step 3: Mix wet ingredients.

Step 4: Add wet to dry and mix.

Wet and dry ingredients

Step 5: Spread in a buttered 9 x 13 glass pan. Bake 350 for 25 minutes.

Granola bars

Now let’s talk about the ingredients and do the price breakdown.

The almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all from Trader Joes. I just can’t seem to find any others that are that good for the price.

The rolled oats are generic old fashioned oats. If you want to make these gluten free, then pick up a bag of gluten free rolled oats while you are at Trader Joes.

The cranberries and cinnamon are generic.

The coconut sugar is from Trader Joes. I use to use brown sugar instead, but wanted to make them healthier. Your kids may like them better if you stick with the brown sugar, but I don’t share mine anyways (just kidding) (no I’m not).

The honey is local.

Applesauce and eggs are generic.

Pick up some bananas too, while you are at Trader Joes.


Price Breakdown

  • Almonds $1.60
  • Pumpkin seeds $.93
  • Sunflower seeds $.28
  • Flax seeds $.29
  • Oatmeal $.33
  • Cranberries $.86
  • Coconut sugar $.84
  • Eggs $.27
  • Honey $1.09
  • Applesauce $.18
  • Bananas $.38

Total $7.05 for 12 servings, $.59 a piece!!!!

You Too, Can Be A Fruit Fly Ninja!

I went to a local farm to buy produce. Everything I got was great, and super affordable. All of this for $8.75!!! I will buy my produce there for the rest of the season, for sure.


But there were fruit flies like crazy all over their stuff. I made sure to shoo them all off before putting them in my bag, and then I tied the bag shut, came home and soaked everything. Must have miss some because we are being over run with fruit flies.

It has become a game with the kids and I. My oldest son calls it spanking them. I say that I’m a fruit fly ninja! But there are only so many I can get by sneaking up and smacking them. So we set some traps, and they have worked wonderfully. So, just in case you were wondering, here is how to become fruit fly ninja too:


Fill a plastic cup with a little apple cider vinegar, a little red wine vinegar, and maybe a string off a banana peel if you have one. Cover it with plastic wrap and cut small holes in the top. Set it out and watch them flock to it. It’s disgusting but we have over 25 dead ones in our trap right now.


Please note, this works better if you don’t have little boys constantly wanting to check it out and scaring off the ones getting ready to go inside the trap. Oh well. Here’s my little ninja:


On the Run

I love to run. Like, really, really, really love to run. I have been running marathons for a while now. Have completed 14 in 14 different states. Yep, I’m going for all 50 (by the time I’m 50). This year I have gotten into trail running, which is a blast and a whole new challenge. I also have completed a couple triathlons this year. A sprint, and then a half-ironman. But pretty much, I just put up with the swimming and cycling so that I can put my feet on the ground and run, run, run! I have yet been tempted to complete an Ultra. I’m surprised that I haven’t considered it. I have a friend that is training for a 50 mile Ultra, and I think she’s nuts. I admire her greatly.  I have considered, and plan to complete a series. Five marathons in five days. Sounds like fun, right?!?!?

So, like I said, I love to run. In fact, several years ago, I had the brilliant idea to blog about running. And then I realized that there wasn’t a whole lot to say about it. Every article would say, “I love running, I feel great!” Or, “I love running, my knee hurts!” Or, “I love running, I peed in the woods!”

There was one thing though, that has helped me in a lot of life situations. The main life lesson from running. And I would like to share it with you here.


I realized that life is like running a marathon and keeping the appropriate pace.

“Am I going too fast, will I get burned out?” How many times in life are we doing too much. Too many commitments, too many pressures. We’re gasping for air and getting a cramp in our side. We have to learn to limit ourselves, know where our limits are, and how to say NO!

“Am I reserving too much, could I go faster?” This occurs less often, for sure. There are runners that are so afraid of burning out before that 26th mile marker that they reserve too much. They finish the marathon and feel disappointed because they have too much energy left. They could have done more and they know it. Could we do more in life? Are we just taking the easy path, too afraid of the pain that may come from pushing ourselves?

In running a marathon, you have to focus on the present. If you think at mile 5 that you have 21 more to go, you are going to panic and feel overwhelmed. Is the pace you are going strong? Should you slow down? Speed up? As in life, this comes with experience.

And then, sometimes we have to run with a baby jogger. There are seasons in life when we have to push/carry a load. And at those times, we shouldn’t expect ourselves to continue at the pace we normally do. We need to give ourselves a break!



Saving a lot of dough. On your dough.



Here it is. Isn’t it beautiful! This is my go to bread recipe and what we use for sandwiches, toast, and when we need something to put honey on.

Ingredients. Six glorious ingredients (not counting the water), that is all. Check your bread package, how many do you see? Can you pronounce all of them?

3 cups warm water

4.5 tsp active yeast

1/2 cup honey

5 cups bread flour

3 Tb butter melted

2 Tb salt

3.5-4 cups whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and water, add honey and stir.


Add bread flour.


Let rise. (I usually wait until it’s at the rim of the bowl)


Add melted butter and salt. (I use a spatula and make a hole to pour the butter, then mix)

Add 2 cups of whole wheat flour.


Knead in the remaining flour. (Here is where I was messing up. Knead it until it forms a ball and is completely mixed-no dry flour to be found)


Place in buttered bowl, cover with towel and let sit until double. Punch down.

Divide into thirds, place in buttered 9 x 5 loaf pans, cover with towel until double.


Bake 350 for 25 minutes.



Now, let’s talk about ingredients and costs.

The yeast is Fleischmann’s in the jar. It’s more economical than the packets.

The honey is local, and is oh so yummy. It’s not much more than what I was paying at the supermarket.

The bread flour is King Arthur. Gold Medal is a bit cheaper. Pillsbury is even cheaper.

The butter is generic. I would love to use local grass fed. Just haven’t gone there yet.

The salt is Morton’s.

The whole wheat flour I ordered off Amazon. A 25lb bag of organic whole wheat bread flour from a company called Great River.

Here’s the cost for this recipe:

Yeast  .63

Honey 1.09

Bread flour 1.17

Butter .28

Salt .04

Whole wheat flour 1.30

Total: $4.51 for 3 loaves!!!

That’s $1.50 a loaf people!!! And you could make it even cheaper by using different brands. That’s up to you!

Bounty of Blessings

I have long had a love for bread.

I have developed a love for baking.

It started a few years ago as I was trying to save money and bread was getting pricey and I eat a lot of bread. Toast in the morning, sandwich at lunch, bread with dinner, snack before bed. You get the point. And then there was this little person that liked bread too, and we were going through a loaf in about 2 days. So I started baking bread. It was yummy, but I wasn’t very good at it. Then I had another little person, and was working, and was running, and just didn’t have the time or desire to keep it up. Fast forward a couple years, and there was an article going around about how some breads had the same ingredient in it that is used in yoga mats. Yummy. It got me reading the ingredient lists. I don’t understand why there was soy flour in my 100% whole wheat bread. And why so many ingredients. Gross. So combining this info plus wanting to save money, I started baking again. And still wasn’t very good. But I have this friend that is a baker. And she came and watched me make bread. And whaddayaknow, I wasn’t kneading it enough. I needed to knead. A lot.

I have now branched out to add tortillas, hamburger buns, and italian bread. And they’re pretty awesome stuff.

Over the next few posts I will be sharing recipes and the price breakdown for you!




Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rachael and I am a follower of Christ, wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, runner, triathlete, dental hygienist, wannabe nutrition guru, budget following, neat freak. That likes to bake. And eat.

I am NOT a psychologist, child psychologist, professional athlete, extreme coupon-er, nutrition guru, or chef.

But I do have a few good ideas every now and then. And I would like to share them with you. And I would like to hear your ideas too. I am always looking for ideas to save money, or time, or sanity. Sanity is a good thing.