Thursday, September 1, 2011

No Bake Brown Rice and Oat Crispy Treats

I am always on a quest to find treats that I can feel good about feeding to my family.  I admittedly have a HUGE sweet tooth, and I love when I find recipes that I too can indulge in without feeling guilty.  Rice crispy treats have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid.  I love the texture and the taste.  But refined cereal and gooey marshmallows don't necessarily fit into my nutrition mantra.  I've managed to make them healthier over the years by using brown rice cereal and adding ground flax and they were delicious as well as much more nutritious.  This time I wanted to up the nutrition value even more so I added oats and peanut butter.  The result- a cross between an chewy granola bar and a rice crispy treat.  Can you say yum????  And don't forget, these bars may taste and look like dessert but they are full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and a whole slough of vitamins and minerals.  Tastes good.  Good for you.  That's my goal with everything I make.

These are a great treat to let the kids help with, Jayden did all the scooping, pouring and mixing.  Of course, quite a bit of the mixture found its way into his little mouth along the way, but what fun is cooking if you can't sample the goods?  Another reason these treats are a favorite of mine is because they are so easy to make and I don't have to turn on the oven.  I can whip up a batch in ten minutes, and being 41 weeks pregnant, (yes you read that right- 41 weeks!) I'll do anything if it can save me some time and doesn't require a lot of energy, because right now I'm short on both.  As you can see from the picture I added mini chocolate chips to this batch.  Normally I make them without, but since Jayden is about to become a big brother in a matter of days, I figured we could make an extra special treat this time. 

Brown Rice and Oat Crispy Treats

1 3/4 c oats  ( you can use rolled or quick cooking)
1 3/4 c brown rice cereal  ( I use Erehwon)
1/4 c ground flax seed
1/2 c honey, brown rice syrup, agave, or corn syrup  ( I use 1/4 c honey and 1/4 c brown rice syrup)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 natural peanut butter
1 t vanilla

Other variations to try:

1/4 c mini chocolate chips, put in freezer for 30 minutes before mixing in to prevent melting
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped nuts or seeds

Lightly grease 11 x 7 inch pan. You can use a 13 x 9 but you will end up with a thinner bar.

In a large mixing bowl combine cereal, oats, and flax.

Combine honey, brown rice syrup, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until mixture just comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla.

Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix well until combined.  If adding any additional ingredients, do so now. 

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press mixture down evenly.

Put in refrigerator for an hour to set up.  After that, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a week.

Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into desired size bars.

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