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Chewy Bars for the Lunch Box

I was a school lunch packer all of my days, and the tradition continues. If it’s nice out we pack lunches for the park; if we’re extending errands then there are packed snacks and water bottles. It’s a money saver, it’s better for our bodies, and it’s green. Back in the day (talking 20 years ago) I always had a Quaker Oats Chewy Bar (chocolate peanut butter what’s uuuuup) in my lunch, but by adding a box of cereal to my shopping list and working for about seven minutes in my kitchen, I’ve got a snack for the kids I can really get behind.

Think about the packaging used up just by ME over the years, just with those bars? Plastic wrappers, cardboard boxes, day in and day out. Home cooking in general is “green”-er. Make up a pan of these on Sunday and have treats for the kids (and you) all week.

A final thought – I’ve looked at the ingredient lists of even the healthy “organic” bars. There are almost always a few ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Well guess what? When you read the ingredients list below you will be able to recognize and pronounce each one. These are moist, delicious, and a definite kid pleaser.

Chewy Bars for the Lunch Box

Makes 9 bars; double for 18

3/4 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. honey or agave (or 1/4 c. of each)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 c. toasted rice cereal or puffed whole grain

2 c. old fashioned oats

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 c. chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter chips, dried fruit, etc.

1. Lightly spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Microwave peanut butter, honey (or/and agave syrup) in a glass bowl for 1 minute or until bubbly and heated through. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.

3. In another bowl, stir oats, cereal, cinnamon and dried fruits/chips.

4. Pour the warm mixture over your dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

5. Press into prepped pan. To not stick, lightly wet hands before pressing mixture in.

6. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into squares and either wrap individually (for lunches) or enjoy!

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