Quick Granola Bars ~ Easy to make granola bars loaded with dried cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, and almonds to ease your morning breakfast routine.
This will not come as a shock to anyone who knows me in real life…I am not a morning person. I am a night owl. I can stay up half the night and then would love to sleep half the morning away. Of course, I get up and do what needs to be done each day, but I am not a fan. The worst was when I had to be at work at 5:30 am. Yes, BE AT WORK at 5:30 am. I shudder remembering that.
My daughter also loves her sleep. She still requires 10-12 hours each night. That can make mornings rough. For her to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed before school each morning requires getting her to bed between 6:30 to 7 pm. I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult this normally is. Those nights she doesn’t get to bed until 8, or worse yet, even later, the next morning is, quite simply put, a nightmare.
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I’ve been trying to find ways to get the biggest amount of nutrition packed into the most convenient form possible. While I was at Sam’s Club on the cereal aisle, I saw Carnation Breakfast Essentials®. I decided to pick up a box. I had the choice between French Vanilla and Chocolate. I opted to go with French Vanilla because I could always add cocoa to make it chocolate, but the French Vanilla gave me a bit more versatility. Making the instant breakfast the traditional way would be fine, but I love playing with products, so I knew I’d try turning it into something else.Enter my quick granola bars. I originally wanted to make something a bit more cake-y, but when I thought of convenience and portability, granola bars were the way to go. Elizabeth joined me in the kitchen while I was putting these together and saw all her favorite things going in, so I knew before she even sampled them that she was going to love them. She wanted to help, so I let her add the ingredients as I measured them out. She helped mix the ‘dough’ (batter, mixture, what is it called?) and then helped press it into the pan.
After they cooled, I had no choice to shave one down so she could try it before I photographed it. She LOVED them. There are very few things my daughter LOVES with great enthusiasm, food wise. Meatballs (she is my girl after all), Indian food, sour candies, berries, and now these bars. I know these bars are going to help us get into a better breakfast routine, even if it’s just getting more nutrition per bite.
Part of my new routine to a better morning is getting things ready the night before like her clothes and book-bag. We also decide on her breakfast and get as much of it ready as possible. I also get my coffee prepared and timer set. These are all little things, but they have a huge impact on how smooth our mornings go. The convenience of these Quick Granola Bars are going to make our mornings even smoother.
Easy Granola Bars
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds , roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 pkg Carnation Breakfast Essentials®-Classic French Vanilla (2/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup orange honey
In a large bowl, add the oats, almonds, cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt, if using and Carnation Breakfast Essentials®. Toss together until fully mixed.
Add the vanilla, almond milk, and honey, stir until combined, it will look wet and sticky but not overly saturated.
Spoon into a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper and press down until the entire pan is covered and there are no holes.
Bake in a pre-heated 350° for about 25 minutes, but start checking at 20, as they start to brown.
When cooked, removed from pan via the parchment paper and allow to cool completely before cutting. Cut into 8 bars.