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.
- 3/4 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 Tbs canola oil
- 1 cup roasted salted cashews, chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup chopped dried fruit cranberries, raisins, apricots, etc
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups Multi Grain Cheerios
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup peanut butter OR PB2 powdered peanut butter
Line a 9 x13 pan with foil, so that it hangs over the sides. Spray foil with cooking spray and set pan aside.
Heat canola oil in a large saute pan, and add quinoa and oats. Stir to coat with oil, and lightly toast the oats and quinoa. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place oat mixture into a large mixing bowl, and add cashews, sunflower seeds, chopped fruit, chocolate chips and Cheerios. Stir everything together to combine well.
Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan, stir lightly to dissolve, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat without stirring, until sugar is a faint golden color (about 6 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring only as needed, until color is deep amber (another 1-3 minutes).
Immediately remove from heat, and stir in half and half, vanilla and peanut butter or PB2 powder.
Mixture will bubble vigorously, so be careful! Stir well and work quickly before caramel sets.
Quickly stir the caramel mixture into the oat/Cheerios mixture and stir well to coat everything with the caramel.
Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and pat and pack very firmly into a smooth, flat layer. Make sure to pack the oat mixture as tightly as possible, or the bars will fall apart. Chill for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. When chilled, lift foil out of pan, and cut into 16 bars.
Wrap each bar with wax or parchment paper as shown, as they can be a bit messy if eaten warm.
Store extras in an airtight container the refrigerator or freeze.
Nutrition information is for 1 bar made with reduced fat PB2 Powder.
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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