This has been a big week of “back to the kitchen” for me.  The cost of heating at this time of year drives the “frugal” side of the scale, with the additional need to eat well to stay well in cold and flu season driving the “healthy” side.  This pretty  much means that easy takes a back seat most of the time.  This is also a busy time, getting back into homeschooling after vacation, kids’ activities, teaching piano lessons, and doing some regular filling in at my parents’ restaurant.  I have to plan more time for food prep, and think ahead more, in order to be sure we have healthy, allergy-free food available.

For example, this afternoon I have chicken cooking in the crockpot for the family to eat while I am at work tomorrow.  (Frugal and Healthy: organic chicken that I had stocked in the freezer when I got it on sale).  There is rice in the rice cooker so I can make up a couple batches of rice milk to go with the granola that is in the oven right now.  I also made a batch of peanut butter balls for snacks to put in the freezer.  That made me suddenly inspired for a new flavor of “ball”… LEMON! 🙂

Lemon Drops… rolled in coconut!!  (It’s really too bad you can’t SMELL the lemon… this picture really doesn’t do the bright-and-sun-shiny-smelling treat justice!)

I was nervous at first, because if you have read any of my food posts before, I am not a natural in the kitchen.  I have been learning a great deal, with the help of my sis-in-love Stephanie, and some blogs I have mentioned in the past, and begun to have great  success with creating my own recipes in the last year.  So, here is my Lemon Drops recipe!!

1 c. raw almonds (grind to a near flour in the food processor)

1 c. dates (added to almonds and processed- I cut them in half to be sure there are not pits, and to help my old and dying food processor out)

4-5 tbs. shredded coconut

4-5 tbs coconut oil (I will probably add a little more next time- I ran out- add enough until it really helps the mix stick together)

GF Lemon Oil (drizzle in while running until it’s a lemony as you would like it!)

Roll into balls.  Roll the balls in shredded coconut and place on a plate in the freezer until firm.  I store them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.

Granola Update!!!

I have another lovely sis-in-love, Bridget, who is always good for whole-food ideas.  She mentioned pureeing dates for the sweetener in her granola like we do in the natural cookies we use to make.  (I need to work on a GF version of those- so healthy and so GOOD!) Well, I have now made 3 batches of granola trying this!!

I put dates into my liquid measuring cup to the 1 cup mark, and then just cover with water.  The first time I soaked them overnight.  The second time I soaked them just for a couple hours.  Then I puree them with the water in my vita-mix. This makes about 1 cup of liquid sweetener.

When doing a double batch I also used 1 c. of maple syrup, but for the latest single batch, I just added a few tablespoons of syrup for the flavor.  The granola baked up great, and tasted fabulous- everyone loved it, and I don’t know if they would have noticed the difference if I hadn’t’ mentioned it.  I also added some vanilla to one batch, but I don’t think I put enough in, as I didn’t really notice it.

So, there you have it- a new treat and a still tasty, and more frugal tweak on homemade granola! Enjoy!!

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