I can’t believe how quickly summer flew by, but alas, here I am gearing up for my last semester of grad school. I’m not looking forward to inundating my planner with due dates, but school supply shopping is always a thrill. It’s not that I NEED more cute notepads, brand spankin’ new pens (I have a drawer full of them), highlighters in every color imaginable, but the back-t0-school shopping spree never gets old. This time I did most of my shopping in Korea so I’m eager to bust out my unique items…
And begin note-taking! To me it’s as therapeutic and exhilarating as spending a day at a spa is for some. What can I say? To each his own, right?
Snacks…they are super important, too. Note taking and focusing in class won’t be happening if my tummy is growling, that’s for sure. Since school is at least an hour away from my place, I always make sure to carry with me at least 2-3 power snacks, that contain good sources of BOTH protein and carbohydrates. Eating just carbohydrates leaves me feeling unsatisfied and hungry soon after.
In light of this month’s Recipe Redux challenge, “Bars and Bites for Brown Bags,” I’m bringing Spicy Cheerio Nut Bars to the party. Ever since I made these spicy nut clusters to go along with my Mexican Oat Pudding, they became a pantry staple. I’ve made about 3 batches for us and the Hungryman’s co-workers, who were lured by his lunchbox. One of them said it tasted like sopapillas…I can see that.
The flavor profile was such a huge hit that I wanted to experiment and create other snack ideas. Making bars wasn’t a far stretch. I knew I wanted to throw some carbs into the mix so that’s when Cheerios entered the picture. Multigrain Cheerios to be exact. Why Cheerios? I purchased 2 ginormous boxes from Costco as they were on sale, that’s why ;).
Texturally, these bars are crunchy as well as sticky, which reminds me of Kind bars. Sweet at first but followed by a kick from the spices, they are sure to keep you energized for note taking, study, or whatever activity you choose to do ;).
Here’s my VERY first short cooking video! I do want to venture out into making more in the future, but boy, was it a challenge. I guess I was trying to do too many things at once. Perhaps I should enlist the help of the Hungryman rather than being a one woman show. I had my camera on a tripod, and while I really wanted to get into the food, it didn’t turn out as sharp and clear as I wanted. Not even close. In any case, I shall keep at it. Hopefully, I will muster up enough courage to actually show my face and talk on the video as well. Until then, say hello to my hands ;).
- ½ cup roughly chopped almonds
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 Tablespoon flaxseeds
- ½ cup Cheerios (I used multi-grain)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder (preferably Mexican)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup honey
- Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Mix nuts, seeds, and Cheerios in a bowl. Toss thoroughly with cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, warm the coconut oil and honey, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to burn and stir frequently. It will foam up as it cooks. Immediately, pour liquid mixture over the dry mixture. Mix well, scraping the bottom thoroughly. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, tossing at the halfway point. Allow for it to cool COMPLETELY, at least 30 minutes, or until hardened (and sticky). Cut into bars (be sure to do this on parchment paper to prevent sticking) and store in an airtight container.