I’m so excited to be a new member of the Recipe ReDux network –a monthly recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. I always get such great ides and recipes from this group of bloggers, so no pressure here, but I hope my recipes will be as good! This month’s theme is: Have Snacks. Will Travel. So appropriate for summer vacation, and a perfect topic for me, because I plan every detail of our trips, including the travel snacks.
Two things you should know about travelling and me:
- I LOVE to plan vacations, almost as much as I love to talk about food. I read travel magazines and books like it’s my job (I have at least 25 different Frommer’s guides on my shelf). I study maps, travel websites and all associated forums. I read train schedules, weather maps, and I have files on the best restaurants in most countries and major cities in the world…because you never know when I might need to hop on a plane to somewhere. Which brings me to number 2.
- We take far more flying vacations than driving vacations, and I am TERRIFIED to fly. I know I’m not alone on this one, but I literally have to medicate myself to get on a plane, and then I won’t eat or drink anything because I refuse to unbuckle to get up and use the restroom (I know -tmi). I am a little bit better since getting hypnotized a few years back. Seriously. Better, but not great. After we land, I am usually fairly unconscious for the rest of the first day, and then I start worrying about the flight home by the halfway point.
So for me, sometimes the best part of my trip is the planning part. I can read and plan and dream without ever having to get on the plane. Part of the planning always includes food, and when we travel we I prefer to not have to waste time (and money) going out to breakfast. That way, we I have no guilt about splurging a little bit more on a really memorable dinner. OK, sometimes my husband, and if we’re traveling as a family, my son, will sneak off to a buffet breakfast, but my daughter and I prefer something small and fairly healthy, and as long as there’s lots of coffee, we’re good. Who wants to sit by the pool or tour around a city with a big, heavy stomach?
Enter, my chewy, chocolate, oat, quinoa, nut, fruit bars – AKA No Need To Stop For Breakfast Bars. Easy to make ahead, keep in the freezer, and stuff into the suitcase and/or carry on. Each bar is like a mini meal – full of whole grains from the oats and quinoa, protein from the nuts and peanut butter, fruit and of course a good dose of antioxidants from the dark chocolate! I like to make these with PB2 Powdered peanut butter, which has less calories than regular peanut butter, but either works – and if you don’t like peanut butter, feel free to leave it out all together.
We love them for a snack after a day of sight seeing, or (this is the best part) crumbled into a bowl or cup, and topped with milk for breakfast. Easy, healthy, portable, and much healthier than the buffet breakfast.
- 2 Tbs canola oil
- ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups Old Fashioned oats
- 1 cup roasted, salted cashews, chopped
- ⅓ cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup dried fruit, chopped (cranberries, raisins, apricots, etc)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1½ cups Multigrain Cheerios
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup half and half
- ¼ cup peanut butter OR PB2 Peanut Butter Powder
- Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil, so that it hangs over the sides. Spray with cooking spray and set the pan aside.
- Heat canola oil in a large saute pan. Add quinoa and oats, toss to coat with oil, and toast lightly. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Put oat mixture into a large mixing bowl, and add cashews, sunflower seeds, fruit, chocolate chips, and Cheerios. Stir well to combine.
- Pour sugar and water into a medium saucepan, stir lightly to combine, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until sugar turns a light golden color - about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to boil, until sugar is a dark amber color (another 1-3 minutes). Stir only as needed.
- Immediately remove from heat, and whisk half and half, vanilla, and peanut butter or PB2 powder into the sugar. Mixture will bubble vigorously, so be careful! Work quickly because caramel will start to thicken.
- Pour caramel over the oat mixture and stir well to combine. Immediately transfer the granola mixture into the prepared pan and press and pack well into a flat layer. Be sure to press tightly or the bars will break apart.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove from pan by lifting foil, and cut into 16 bars. Wrap bars in wax or parchment paper as shown.
- Refrigerate bars in an airtight container, or freeze.
Hope you enjoy these as much as we do, and don’t forget to check out the other fabulous travel snacks from my fellow Recipe ReDuxers! Do you have a favorite tried and true travel snack?
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