One lunchbox favorite around here is home-made granola bars. Once a month I’ll make a Whole Foods run and see what’s on sale in the bulk foods aisle, and that determines what flavor I make. The recipe makes enough for about month’s worth of lunches (depending on what size you cut them the recipe should make 24-36) so once they’ve cooled I’ll cut them up, wrap them individually in sandwich baggies and keep them in a bag in the freezer to pull out for lunch making.
Here’s the recipe, feel free to get creative on the “goodies” part- I can’t imagine there are too many dry ingredients that wouldn’t work.
1 cup light corn syrup or honey
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (optional)
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
6 cups puffed rice (or other puffed grain) cereal
4 cups of goodies, which could include any combination of:
- banana chips
- chocolate chips
- dried cherries or cranberries
- quick-cooking oats
- sesame seeds
- sunflower seeds
- wheat bran
- any other type of dried nut, seed, grain, fruit or flake that you like!
some good combination starting points are:
- cashews+diced dried apricots+oats+white chocolate chips
- sliced almonds+cranberries+dried apple pieces+1 t cinnamon
- cherries+chocolate chips+pecans
- banana chips+chocolate chips+coconut
- Line an 11×17″ pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
- In a large heatproof bowl, combine puffed rice cereal, salt, and 4 cups of goodies. Set aside
- In a saucepan, mix brown sugar and either corn syrup or honey over medium heat until boiling.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter (if using) until dissolved
- Pour over bowl of dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated
- Press into the pan, using the flat bottom of a cup to help press the surface down firmly
- Put the pan into the freezer to cool, but pull out to cut before it freezes all the way through!
- Cut into bars and wrap individually in baggies, store in freezer. (These don’t have to be kept in the freezer, but they are easier to eat and stay together better when they are cool than when they are warm or room temperature)
This month, and what you see in the pictures below, I used broken up banana chips, coconut, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, wheat germ, and peanuts, and I included peanut butter in the sauce.