It seems like lately I am always on the go, which means I am also eating on the go. I know, I know… meals are supposed to be enjoyed at the table but let’s be real, not many of us have that luxury every day or every meal. My rule of thumb is at least one meal a day should be enjoyed at the table, and that usually ends up being dinner. Eating on the run doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy. In fact, it’s so simple to prepare simple snacks before dashing out the door. One of my favorites are these Honey Nut Cereal Bars. Big companies seem to keep adding more and more ingredients to simple food items like cereal bars, that aren’t necessary and that is why I started making my own. These cereal bars are beyond simple to make, plus you’ll know what you’re eating while you are dashing out the door.

Honey Nut O’s, dried cranberries and candy coated sunflower seeds are the main ingredients for these fabulous snack bars. Honey, brown sugar and a little butter bind them together for a no-bake treat that is seriously delicious. The best part about this recipe is that it is flexible. Don’t like or have dried cranberries, use raisins or leave them out completely. Want to add a few nuts? Throw in a handful or so. Have a little trail mix laying around? Toss it in. Pretty much anything goes… which I love, because life should be flexible.

 

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INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup creamy unsalted butter (half of one stick)
1/4 cup honey (light-colored corn syrup may be substituted and will keep the bars firmer at room temp than using honey)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups Honey Nut Cheerios (or similar store brand cereal; plain Cheerios may be substituted for a less sweet bar)
1 cup raisins, optional (1 cup  honey-roasted peanuts, 1 cup chopped almonds, or 1 cup trail mix may be substituted)
about 1/2 cup chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, optional (I used Trader Joe’s)
pinch sea salt or Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, honey, brown sugar, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
  3. Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
  4. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir
  5. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power. Stop to stir. On this third and final burst, mixture will become quite bubbly and foamy; use caution when removing from micro because this is boiling hot caramel and can cause burns.
  6. Stir in the vanilla using caution because mixture could bubble up.
  7. Stir in the cereal.
  8. Stir in the optional raisins (or nuts).
  9. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top.
  10. Optionally, sprinkle evenly with sunflower seeds and salt (the salt cuts some of the sweetness and I recommend it).
  11. Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until bars are completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
  12. Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I recommend storing them in the fridge rather than room temp because they soften and get loose.

*Recipe from Averie Cooks