Let’s talk about travel.
I do a lot of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually like traveling as part of my job. It’s gets me out from sitting behind a desk for 9 hours a day, lets me see a good portion of the U.S. I’d probably never have visited otherwise and honestly, it’s keeps my marriage healthy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? But, as a conversation with a coworker yesterday confirmed, many people think it’s waaaay more glamorous than it actually is.
Yeah, I’m a diamond Hilton member, a gold medallion member on Delta, and an executive elite member at National. Sometimes my life mimics “Up in the Air” a little too much (minus the whole affair part of course.) I have enough points to fly to Asia, stay there for free and fly home. And, having my territory be the west coast when I live in NY is kind of nice if not for the sole fact of seeing palm trees and warm weather come January and February. All that is great and I try to keep it in perspective but, 7 days spanning an entire weekend away from home, a combined 7 hours of flying with a slobbery 1 year old kicking my seat and pulling my hair for part of it and running through airports trying to find decent food between connections is really not my idea of glamorous (oooh the flossy, flossy<—you know you were singing it too.)
This may sound ridiculous, but the thing I get most anxious about when traveling is the food. Not the presentation I have to give to the vice chancellor of a large university today, but the food. Ha! Is it obvious where my priorities are? Finding something good and healthy to eat on the road is a challenge. Doing that for 7 days is hard work. Usually, I’ll try to stock up on Kind bars and Larabars to make sure I have something in a pinch. This time though, I figured I would take a stab at making my own healthy granola bar. I’ve got plenty of bulk bin goodies to do it and I know it’s much cheaper than buying them but until now, I’d never tried thinking it was too much of a pain.
Um, I was wrong.
They couldn’t be easier and they taste better than any bar out there you can buy.
Two other reasons I love these bars? I finally used up my dreaded All-Bran and sunflower seed butter. You guys know the story about the sunflower seed butter but the All-Bran was a spontaneous purchase after we went to Mexico in March and I ate it for breakfast every single day at the buffet. I came home trying to relive our vacation and picked up a box the next time I was in the grocery store without even looking at it. Do you know what the third ingredient is in All-Bran? Why, HFCS of course. Those tricky little Kellogg’s people, they fooled me! I only had a little bit of it left so in it went with a good riddance from me. It’s in the ingredient list below because I used it but I’m not about to recommend you use this cereal. I’d sub it out for some puffed rice or some sort of crispy cereal you like. The verdict on the sunflower seed butter? I totally loved it in these bars. It’s something about the taste of it alone that I can’t stand but apparently mixed with chocolate or mixed with oats and other goodies, we get along.
I wrapped them up individually and stuck a few in my bag for the week. Then I got to eat one on the plane while listening to “bah, bah-bah-bah, baaaaahhhhh” and getting an impromptu chair massage for 4.5 hours by the little 1 yr. old dose of birth control behind me in row 13.
On the Road Granola Bars
Yield: 5 bars (easily doubled or tripled)
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/2 cup All-Bran cereal*
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons pepitas
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
- 1/4 cup agave
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Combined sunflower seed butter, agave and vanilla in a smaller bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds then stir until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine until fully coated. Spread mixture into a cake pan or other low edged pan and press down evenly. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Cut into bars and wrap individually in plastic wrap.
*I don’t recommend using All-Bran, it was what I had on hand. The flavor was fine, but I don’t recommend the cereal for ingredient reasons. I would choose another crispy, puffed cereal of your liking.