We got a little carried away with Valentine's day around here. In a good way, I think.
First we started with cards and treats to the grandparents, great-grandparents and Uncle Joe and Aunt Lucy. The cards were inspired by Pinterest. The homemade peanut butter cups were a tried and true recipe I've been making for the past few Vdays.
If you look closely, there is a heart shape where Asher and Millie's thumbs and pointer fingers touch. This was one of the better ones. Millie DID NOT enjoy the finger paint, so it was a bit tricky getting her hand placed just so.
Our next idea stolen from Pinterest were these sweet Valentines for the kids at Asher and Millie's in-home childcare/preschool they attend two mornings a week.
Finally, I just had to bring something special for our Brookside staff meeting. I call them "Heart Healthy treats". I just took my go-to granola recipe and used a cookie cutter to cut into hearts instead of bars. I've seen healthier granola recipes, but these are quick, easy and predictable.
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups desired mix-ins (I used dried cranberries, chopped almonds and chopped peanuts this time)
2 Tbs ground flax seed
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
-Preheat oven to 350
-Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (I usually set the condensed milk in a cup of warm water while I mix the other ingredients, otherwise it is often partly solidified and hard to stir.)
-Press mixed granola into a 9X13 pan lined with parchment paper (or you can grease the baking pan if you don't have parchment)
-Bake for 20-25 minutes. Lightly browned just around the edges will give you moist, chewy bars. I take 'em out after 20.
-I usually let them cool almost completely before attempting to cut, or they fall apart. Although when I did the heart shapes, I "pre-cut" them by pressing the cookie cutters in and pulling them out, without pulling the granola out. This allowed them to maintain their shape while they cooled and hardened, so all I had to do was pull them apart when they were ready :)
I've made these with chocolate and peanut butter chips too. The possibilities with this versatile recipe are endless so get creative with it and let me know what you try!