It’s time for a ROOOAD TRIP! Load up the iPod, the trunk, and the snack baggies, because we’ve got 10 hours of snowy highway ahead. Climb in the back seat, and join Ben and me for the ride. I promise to bring these Cranberry Almond Granola Bars along.
Ben is driving. Ben is, objectively, a better driver than I am. I’d categorize Ben as Actually Above Average and myself as Below Average; Lives Not Yet Endangered. Also, when Ben’s not driving, he insists on commenting on mine, which occasionally tempts me to rear-end the person in front of me, just to spite him. Not hard or anything—just a love tap.
Erin is eating. My favorite road trip activity. Something about driving through the Midwest gives me a chronic case of the munchies. Perhaps it’s the rolling plains, soft country scenery, or…oh, wait we haven’t even made it out of Madison yet.
We are late. This is my fault. I’m not even going to pretend it’s not. What is it that I muse about while brushing my teeth that captivates me for six-minute intervals? Why do I not remember to pack underwear until we’re three miles from home?
Coffee stop. Mandatory. I didn’t have time to brew at home (see above), and even schedule-conscious Ben won’t risk my pre-coffee, gremlin-like attitude.
Let’s jam. Michael Bublé Christmas anyone? The N*Sync (Holiday) Pandora station is also a stellar option.
Let’s iPod. You are riding with Nerd Couple Número Uno. We have every NPR podcast that aired in the past five weeks queued up and ready to play. Would you care for Planet Money? Or are you a Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! kind of crowd?
Let’s chow. Here’s what we are munching this road trip.
And by we I mean me. Ben’s level of self-control over senseless snacking is positively infuriating.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels: Dipped a monster batch last weekend while visiting friend in Chicago, with the honorable intention of bringing them home to share with my family. Ha. On the drive back to Madison, my hand was fishing for them in the back seat by the second red light; by the Rockford exit, I was left with only 15% of the original batch and shame. I’m an optimist, so I’m giving that remaining 15% until 9:45 a.m. today to survive (we left at 8:30).
Sun Chips: Because we have 50-million bags at home, and because we are “that” couple who will bring their own chips into a Subway, our predestined road-trip lunch stop.
Kitchen Sink Christmas Cookies: These buttery, toffee-stuffed, white-chocolate-dipped wonders are NOT supposed to be within two feet of me; they belong in Milwaukee with Ben’s parents. The 15 inches of snow that pounded Madison and much of the Midwest on Thursday, however, thwarted our pre-Christmas plan to deliver them, leaving me with the Sisyphean task of resisting these goodies for the next 10 hours. Looks like we will be “that” couple who brings both their own chips AND their own cookies into Subway.
And, these delicious cranberry almond granola bars baked during our “Snow Day” at home as a nutritious alternative to all of the above.
About This Healthy Cranberry Granola Bar Recipe
Cranberry almond granola bars are taste-good, feel-good food. Tart cranberries, toasted almonds, and a heavy hand of vanilla combine with whole-grains to create a super-food-studded snack. Eggs act as the primary binder, so cranberry almond granola bars are lighter in the oil-and-sugar department than many granola bar recipes.
The Quaker should be afraid, very afraid: We are putting his Chewy bars to shame.
Speaking of chewy, cranberry almond granola bars are just that—soft and chewy. The addition of whole grain cereal adds a contrasting crunch for a more complex, satisfying texture. Also, the simple, unattended step of oven toasting the grains and almonds first enhances their flavor.
You are going to love these cranberry almond granola bars, because they are healthy, tasty, and you probably have everything you need to make them in your pantry right now. Swap whatever dried fruit/nut/spice combos you prefer, and pat yourself on the back for whipping up a wholesome, unprocessed snack. You may never buy another granola bar again.
More Healthy Snack Bars
- Vegan Protein Bars
- Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Recommended Tools to Make Cranberry Almond Bars
- Baking Pan. This one is ideal for making these bars.
- Measuring Spoons. Two-sided spoons means less dishes to wash.
Let’s leave the chocolate, the chips, and the cookies quietly in the back seat and enjoy these healthy cranberry almond granola bars, shall we?
At least until 10 a.m
Thanks for joining us for the ride. Wichita, here we come!Wishing you all a very happy holiday! See you on the other side.
Cranberry Almond Granola Bars
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal, puffed millet, high-fiber cereal mix (I used Kashi Go Lean), crushed pretzel sticks, or any other crispy grain or cereal
- 1/3 cup almonds, sliced or coarsely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed optional
- 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving extra hanging off of the sides. Coat with cooking spray.
- Spread oats, cereal, and almonds on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned, stirring once half-way through. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg, egg white, sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and flax seed (if using). Stir in toasted oat mixture and whole-wheat flour. Fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared pan and lightly press with the back of a spatula to flatten.
- Bake bars until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Using parchment paper or foil to lift out the bars and transfer to a rack to cool completely. With a lightly oiled knife, cut into 12 sections.
- Storage Tip: Store bars in an airtight container for up to a week or wrap individually in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month.
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