School is back in session, and if you are like me, the family calendar is filling up fast. I have a new carpool schedule this year and it is taking some getting used to. Within the first few days of school, I forgot it was my afternoon to pickup one group of kids! Now I have alerts set on my cell phone, so THAT won’t happen again!
Although my carpool days are different this year, one thing remains the same: I’m still running around from one place to another. Whether you have one kid or three, like me, our children certainly know how to keep us on our toes.
This is the time of year we are all looking for quick meals, whether it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner. After-school snacks are a must, too, with these big kids coming home hungry. One of my family’s favorite snacks is these crispy rice bars, packed with raisins and nuts. They help tie their hunger pangs until dinner and even make a quick breakfast on the run.
What makes these bars different from those store-bought versions is that it is sweetened with Sun-Maid raisins and honey. And YOU can control how sweet you want it! They are also packed with protein-rich nuts and seeds. I did mix in a little bit of those mini candy-coated chocolates, but you can use carob nibs, dark chocolate chips, or omit altogether to reduce the sweetness.
You can even wrap them up in parchment paper and pack them to go!
No-Bake Crispy Raisin Nut Bars
1 1/2 cups Sun-Maid raisins
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup almond slices
2 TBS roasted pepitas
2 TBS sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup chocolate chips or chocolate candies
- In a food processor with a sharp blade, blend together raisins and honey until a ball is formed.
- Transfer raisin ball into a bowl and mash it down with a fork, mixing in the peanut butter with it.
- Place bowl in a microwave and heat on high for 20-30 seconds to soften.
- Stir in nuts, seeds and salt until combined.
- Gently stir in crispy rice cereal and chocolate chips.
- Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Press raisin mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
- Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Cut into even pieces and serve.
You can also use walnuts, cashews, dried apricots and green raisins. Instead of peanut butter you can use cashew or almond butter. If using chocolate candies, add them at the very end and stir carefully, so you don’t crack the candy shell.
Laura Bashar blogs at Family Spice, and is the photographer and co-author of the cookbook: Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil. She’s also chaos manager of a family of five while soaking up the sun in San Diego, California.