Snacks at school have been a challenge for our family as I try very hard to send something healthy that includes protein. Enter the nut free zone and your choices quickly diminish. When first hearing of the nut free classroom, I went in search of healthy granola type bars and other items that were nut free and nutritious. You are probably thinking yogurt and cheese are perfect, but my daughter has the early lunch this year so snack is in the afternoon, and I just do not love the idea of dairy products being in her bag for over 6 hours before being consumed. The other part of that Little Miss Mixture likes cheese and crackers in her lunch several days a week and often consumes yogurt for breakfast. BORING who wants to repeat the same food items several times a day.
I found a recipe for Puffed Quinoa and thought perfect until I found none of the stores in town sell puffed quinoa and it takes about 72 hours to make it yourself. I love to cook but I draw the line on things that take days to prepare. I just do not see the value and doubt many people would be interested in a recipe like that. So I adapted the recipe using rice krispies because they are a simple nut free cereal. The result was a deliciously sweet bar that everyone enjoyed.
This is a simple recipe that can be changed to meet your taste or food preferences. No reason to go nut free, try Peanut Butter or Almond Butter, both pair nicely with some chocolate on top.
Protein Packed Rice Crispy Bars
2 cups Crisp Rice Cereal (Rice Krispies)
1 cup Sunbutter, or Nut Butter of Choice
6 Tbsp. Agave Nectar (Maple Syrup can be substituted)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Optional : Chocolate of choice, melted
In a mixing bowl, combine Sunbutter, agave, and vanilla. If the mixture is too firm, you can heat it slightly on the stove top or microwave. Be careful not to cook, simply warm to mix thoroughly. Add puffed cereal and stir until coated well. At this point the mixture is stick. You can place mixture in fridge to firm up for 15 minutes and then press into bar form, or in a hurry press into a prepared 8×8 square pan. Allow to firm in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
Optional: Melt chocolate to drizzle or coat the top of the bars. I went a little heavy on the chocolate, You can never have too much chocolate in my opinion. I used 52% cocoa chocolate chips. Once the desired amount of chocolate is on the bars return to refrigerator to set. Slice into bars and enjoy or wrap for snacks throughout the week.