The game of life can be tough. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning till we drop to bed at night we’re constantly on the go. We run out of the door already late, because dear offspring couldn’t find his algebra notebook. Half asleep, we turn to Starbucks to get some shot in the arm, make appointment for a chipped tooth while waiting in the drive-through line, and then burn our tongue with hot pick me up while parking at the office. Breakfast is hasty spoonfuls of yogurt gulped down at a red light. Lunch? Cereal bar and a banana around three pm while answering emails. And pretty soon a dreaded stop-and-go commute from work back home, pondering how to get dinner on the table, take care of homework, laundry, and dishes, and still manage to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Only to do it all over again the next morning.
I don’t work well when I’m hungry. My men could tell you stories about this trait of mine – about the unnecessary arguments, yell fests, and even guilty tears related to those darn sugar drops. It usually happens when I’m too busy, and it starts innocently enough: I just might start to feel a little cranky at first, my answers become tiny bit snappier… but when I don’t recognize I’m overdue for a feed and don’t remedy the situation quickly enough, it all goes downhill pretty fast. I know I’m not the only one suffering from this; after all, there is even this new term “hangry”, labeling that miserable state when hunger and anger intersect… but I could definitely be a model for it.
That was at least partially why I tried my hand at these bars. I try to keep some snack food and water with me at all times to prevent hunger induced relational disasters, but cereal bars carried around in your purse dry out pretty quickly I found, not to mention they’re not exactly easy on the budget! It was my first experiment with homemade cereal bars ever, but it certainly won’t be the last. I like that I can control the amount of sugar, and vary the ingredients according to what I have on hand. They’re extremely easy and fast to make and don’t even require turning your oven on!
Please be kind to yourself and eat when you need to. No matter how busy you are, it’s still much easier to find time to eat, than have to apologize over and over for you’ve said and done when you were hungry 🙂
Homemade KIND Cereal Bars
(adapted from http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com)
- ½ cup unsalted roasted almonds, whole
- ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, whole
- ½ cup roasted walnuts/pecans, chopped
- 1/3 cup puffed rice cereal
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- ¼ cup brown rice syrup (I used maple syrup instead)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Line an 8-inch square springform pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- To make the bars, mix nuts, flaxseed, an puffed rice in a greased bowl; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, mix together brown rice syrup (maple syrup), honey, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Pour the hot mixture over the ingredients in your bowl and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture into the pan and press evenly, making sure there are no gaps. (The recipe says there is enough for a 8-inch pan, but I didn’t find this to be true – I was able to only fill about 2/3 of the pan if I wanted the bars to be high enough).
- Place a sheet of parchment on top, and press the mixture firmly. Set the pan aside and let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the rim of the pan, transfer the cereal block onto a cutting board, and cut it into uniform pieces with a sharp knife. (Serrated knife worked best for me.) Let the bars cool completely.
- For the chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate over a water bath and drizzle over the bars. Keep the remaining bars in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh.