Before we took off on our road trip a couple of weeks ago, I made a few healthy-ish snacks for us to bring along the road. One thing I hate about road trips is all the junk food and packaged food you end up eating because you don’t have a fridge or oven. I feel so nasty all day. We usually will stop and eat out one meal. In the past on our annual trips to WA we’d stop in Boise for breakfast at a McDonalds with a playland…yuck! Did I mention we start our long roadtrips around 3am? This time we didn’t ever eat at McDonalds; we stopped at Subway instead and I got a veggie sub which was really good and made me not feel so nasty. Everything else we eat on that 14 hour drive is in the van. I brought apples(bananas do not travel well and turn brown quickly and get really soft), green smoothies we drank before we stopped for breakfast, whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter to make sandwiches for lunch, veggies sticks to go along with the sandwiches, mini carrots, honey oat muffins, A Clif Bar for each person which we ate while in Yellowstone(Lara bars would have been better but me and Jane are the only ones in the family that like those), a trail mix and cashew cluster bag from Costco, and this home-made crunchy peanut butter granola. We’ve made this granola in the past and love it! I don’t make it regularly because there is quite a bit of sugar, or in this case Sucanant(unrefined dehydrated sugar), plus there’s another sweetener. So I make it for special occasions, like this road trip, or if Scott(the hubby) requests it which he does sometimes. I still make my everyday granola recipe about every 10 days which is how long it takes my family to get through it. That granola recipe is very healthy and it’s softer than this one and is best eaten with milk(in the opinion of me and my children). This granola is also good with milk but it’s also fantastic just by itself, which is why I made it for our road trip. It was the first snack item we finished, which shows how good it is. We brought some disposable cups and wrote our names on them, and then we used those as snack cups so we could fill them with this crunchy granola or other snacks, and eat it from the cup so the van would be less messy….and it did help, but a road trip with a family of seven means there is going to be mess just with the amount of stuff you have to bring a long.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this granola(picture below). The bag on the right is the Puffed Brown Rice Cereal. I buy mine at Walmart for $1, but you can also find it at health food stores, though sometimes it’s a little more. Coconut oil I buy at health food stores and only when it’s on sale because it’s expensive! Did you know that coconut oil is also fantastic for your skin(if you’re not allergic to coconut of course). I got rid of the vaseline and started using this because my kids got eczema with the really dry climate here in Utah. Also, for this recipe you could substitute another favorite oil if you don’t have coconut oil. The sucanant(the brown grainy stuff in the white container) I get from health food stores, the vanilla, natural peanut butter and maple syrup come from Costco(I usually get my salt there too, but the one pictured is not from costco), and oats I buy in bulk(50 lbs because we make lots of the other granola) when stores are having case lot sales, though I’m not sure that would work outside of Utah. Or I buy it from the LDS food storage cannery building. The peanuts we buy in a bag in their shells because Scott and the kids like to shell them and eat them as a snack, so that’s what we used for this. Sorry all the detail on the ingredients but when people are just getting started with whole foods, a lot of times it’s helpful to know where to go to get the food and for the best price.
Preaheat your oven to 325 degrees. Take out a rimmed baking sheet and line it with with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, measure the oats and rice cereal and set it aside.
Melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup in a 2c or larger glass measuring dish. Why? Because coconut oil will solidify if it’s under 76 degrees so when you mix it in with pure maple syrup that’s cold from being in your fridge, you’ll get some solid chunks. In the summer at my house, our coconut oil is liquid, but the rest of the year it firms up. Add the peanut butter, salt and sucanat to the glass measuring dish and whisk together.
Spread the mixture out on your cookie sheet and cook it for about 15 minutes. Take it out, stir in the peanuts and put it back in the oven to cook for another 10-15 minutes. You want to cook it until it’s golden brown color and is crispy, but don’t let it go for long after it gets to this point because it’ll start to burn so keep an eye on it when you get close to the ten minute mark.
I like to cut my parchment paper so it’s a little big for the pan and the edge is hanging over a tiny bit so that it makes it easy for me to pick up the granola in the paper and slide it at an angle into an airtight container.
Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1/3c smooth or crunchy all-natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 c Sucanat (or granulated sugar)
1/4 c pure maple syrup (you could also use agave, honey, or brown rice syrup)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted raw or dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure the oats and rice cereal into a large bowl, set aside.Warm up the coconut oil and syrup in a glass measuring dish. Add in the peanut butter, sugar/sucanat, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk together and pour wet ingredients over cereal and stir until evenly coated. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven, stir the peanuts into the granola, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the granola is golden brown and crisp. Remove granola from the oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container. You can easily double this recipe.