A Family Favorite | Puffed Wheat Squares

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

Hi friends! I hope you all had a marvelous weekend. I spent mine with some of my favorite friends, drank too much sangria, danced until I was a sweaty mess, stayed up way too late, and this, coupled with the fact that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for the past month or so has left me in the throes of an awful cold. I don’t know what it is about getting sick in the summer, but it always feels WAY worse to me. Like, oh hi, I’m running a fever AND my house is 98 degrees and rising – perfect! It’s a beautiful day and rays of sunshine are beaming through the window, BUT I’m sweating my arse off inside whilst being doped up on cold meds – AWE.SOME. No thank you. I’ll take a cold in the deep dark of winter over one in the depths of summer any day. At least curling up on the couch with a blanket and bad daytime TV seems slightly more appealing when it’s minus one million outside.

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe   Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

In any case, I’ve learned that I’m terrible at resting. Like, I know that when you’re sick, it’s usually a result of your body being run down and therefore rest is necessary to get healthy again. But I can only sleep so much. And I can only lay in a vertical position for so long. And I can guarantee that in the time that I am “resting”, my brain is already making 101 plans for what I need to do next. My brain isn’t very good at being quiet.

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

So today, after lying on the couch for what seemed like days watching What Not To Wear and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (seriously, those are the only half decent shows on during daytime hours, and I am using the term half decent very loosely), I decided that my compromise would be to continue to lay on the couch, write a blog post, and finally share this recipe with you. These puffed wheat squares have been on my list to share with you since I first started this blog, nearly three years ago (eep, three years!). I make them quite regularly, but have never taken the time to photograph them. One of the reasons being that they tend to get consumed rather quickly. However, I churned two batches of these squares out of my kitchen a couple of weeks ago for my Dad’s epic 60th birthday celebration, and took a few minutes to snap a few shots. And every last square was gone less than an hour after the platter was set out to be ravaged by the party-goers.

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

These squares are chocolatey, sticky, and wonderfully chewy. The recipe comes from one of my aunties, and it is the best puffed wheat square recipe in the history of the land. Make no mistake – not all puffed wheat squares are created equal. Of paramount importance is the chocolately goodness to puffed wheat ratio. AKA. The chocolately goodness must generously coat each morsel of puffed wheat. Let’s be real, these squares aren’t a healthy treat. But they are damn good and ridiculously addictive. Which means you should probably make some immediately.

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe   Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

Puffed Wheat Squares

A family favorite! Makes about 24 squares, depending on the size. Perfect for parties and BBQ’s!

½ cup butter

1 cup corn syrup

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

6 heaping TBSP. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

10 cups puffed wheat

Measure the puffed wheat into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt the butter with the corn syrup, sugars, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and stir well. Pour the mixture over the puffed wheat and mix until the puffed wheat is evenly coated. Press into a 9×13-inch pan that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Allow to cool and then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container to maintain ooey-gooey freshness!

Puffed Wheat Squares | Once Upon a Recipe

Check This Out | Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Happpppppppy Friday!

The balmy temperatures of late had me caught up in some serious daydreaming of patios with friends this weekend (a bit prematurely, I am aware), but the larger than necessary dump of snow we received yesterday really pounded the final nail into that coffin of dreams. *sigh* Why must you mock me, Mother Nature? Ah well, my Hawaii countdown will keep my spirits high. Only 26 days left to go!

Not to worry, I won’t rub it in any more for now at least. While Erin was popping by to share those incredible Super-Rocky Rocky Road Brownies, I was sharing a little somethin’ somethin’ over in her neck of the woods. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites | Once Upon a Recipe

Now why don’t you let your fingers do some walking on over to Read, Eat, Create to check out the full post? These wickedly easy, scrumptious, and addictive Pretzel Rolo Nut Bites await you!

Have a great weekend friends!

Snack Attack | Chewy Granola Bars

Granola Bars



















Friends, the holiday season is upon us! Have you noticed?

Christmas music has begun to play in the stores, new seasonal drinks are now available at Starbucks and the like (Peppermint Mochas!), and every evening when Bella and I get out for a walk, there are lights twinkling inside and outside of all the houses. (Oh, and it’s also dark by 4:30pm, hence the craptastic photos. Sorry friends, I couldn’t wait to share this recipe!) I love this time of year, but I must say, it really has creeped up on me this time around. Christmas is merely a few weeks away!

Granola Bars



















Every year when December hits, I find myself scrambling to bake Christmas goodies, get my shopping done, and partake in fun holiday activities. Sometimes I am scrambling so much that I forget to take a breath and enjoy it all. And really, the main reason I am so in love with this time of year is that there is practically a standing excuse to gather together with friends and family to celebrate. There is something purely magical about coming together, eating delicious food, and toasting to the season with those people that bring joy to your heart. Call me a cheeseball, but I just luuuurrrrrve it.

On my bucket list for this holiday season:

  1. Go on a sleigh ride. I don’t know how I’m going to make this happen, but I’m sure gonna try! Anyone got a horse I could borrow? And a sleigh?
  2. Make a gingerbread house. Even though gingerbread houses never seem to get eaten (who wants to eat all that candy and cookie business after it’s been gathering dust for weeks?!), the process is so darn fun! And by process I mean putting more candy in your mouth than you put on the house. Magical.
  3. Watch one Christmas movie every week from now until Christmas. Top on the list – Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life (which I’ve never seen before – how?!)
  4. Fill a huge thermos with hot chocolate and Bailey’s, get a group of my favorite people together, and go tobogganing.
  5. Learn how to play an easy Christmas tune on the guitar. A party ain’t a party without a sing-a-long.
  6. Donate to those in need. I am very inspired by this.

…to name a few. What are some of the activities on your holiday bucket list?

Granola Bars



















The holiday parties have begun. Time to get my arse in gear. But in all of this busy-ness, one cannot forget to eat! No problemo, I’ve got you covered with a dense and energy-packed granola bar that you can grab for a quick breakfast or snack on the run. I have been searching for ages for the perfect granola bar recipe. One that is chewy, not too sweet, and somewhat healthy.  The original recipe (taken from Whitewater Cooks) uses corn syrup, but I substituted brown rice syrup with great results. I’d really like to find a way to cut down a bit on the butter and sugar, but for now, it will do. This recipe makes a rather large batch, but they freeze very well once cut and put into an airtight container. I have also cut the recipe in half without issue – just use a smaller cookie sheet.

Feel free to change these up by adding your favorite mix-ins. I definitely recommend including the sesame seeds as they add a delicious crunch to these chewy bars. Any kind of dried fruit can be subbed in for the raisins, and some dark chocolate chips would take them to a whole other level.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the balsam friends. 😉

Granola Bars
























Chewy Granola Bars (slightly adapted from Whitewater Cooks)

Makes 24 very generous bars.

1 cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1 ½ TBSP. vanilla

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup brown rice syrup

6 cups large flake oats

1 cup shredded coconut, toasted

1 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1 cup sesame seeds, toasted

2 cups dried fruit/chocolate

Lightly toast the coconut, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat, then set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and brown sugar. Add in the brown rice syrup and mix, and then add the remaining ingredients and stir by hand.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large (ie. 12 x 18 inch) cookie sheet with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the perimeter and just set in the centre. Let cool slightly and then cut into bars. Freeze if the bars will not be consumed within a few days.

Granola Bars

This + Beer + a Patio | Smoked Paprika Popcorn

Aloha! I have a proposition for you.


You + Me + Summer…

Add in a patio. AKA. A table and chairs. Outside in the beautiful summer sun.

You bring the beer. Cold beer.

And I’ll bring this.


I was inspired to replicate this dish at home after munching on it at a local cafe/bar here in Edmonton called Sugarbowl. One of my favorite spots in the city, with a great atmosphere, amazing beer selection, and creative belly-filling options. They’ve had a popcorn appetizer on their menu for as long as I can remember. More recently, Smoked Paprika Popcorn caught my eye and won over my taste buds. I figured it couldn’t be too hard to replicate at home, it’s just popcorn after all! Here’s what I came up with after a couple of tries, and it tastes pretty darn close to the real thing.

This popcorn is great for snacking, and tastes best when served freshly popped, coated, and given a spritz of fresh lime juice. The smoked paprika gives it a wonderful smoky flavor that will have you reaching your hand into the bowl until it’s clean. Finger lickin’ good. Don’t forget the beer.

Smoked Paprika Popcorn

2 TBSP. olive oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 TBSP. smoked paprika*

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. white sugar

Fresh lime

Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside. Pop your corn. I use a big pot, heat up my oil, throw in the popcorn kernels, let it heat up and pop away, giving the pot a good shake every 15-20 seconds (until the popping is finished). But if you have an air popper, or use another method, go with that. Sprinkle the hot popcorn with the spice mixture, using as much or as little spice as you like (taste test along the way). I usually use all of the mixture, but that’s just my preference. Give the popcorn a squeeze of fresh lime and enjoy!

* Smoked paprika can be found at most local supermarkets in the spice aisle or the bulk section. The smoked paprika really is the star in this little snack, so don’t even bother without it!

If you’re looking for a little kick, I bet this would also be fabulous if you added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the spice mixture.

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