There is nothing handier than having a protein and calorie packed meal you can eat with one hand. Having one that doesn’t taste like crap and have the texture of something you would scrape off your shoe after saying “What is that smell?” (I’m talking to you, people who make power bars) is a bonus. Now, what if I told you that you could have a handy fistable mealette without going to the store and buying a bunch of individually wrapped, mass produced food units with the maximum percentage of rodent feces and bug parts allowed by the FDA? And that the only way you are going to break a sweat making them is to travel to the equator to cook. Interested? These are the ultimate grab and go tasty meals on the go. Best part is that you can change them up almost infinitely because most of the parts are easily replaced. And just about everything in here can be found in the bulk food aisle of your supermarket. Not bad!
- 9×13″ baking pan
- Small saucepan
- Frying/sauté pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Silicone spatula (the pot scraping kind, not the pancake flipping kind)
- Mixing cups
- 1 can condensed milk
- 2.5 cups rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
- 1.5 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut (this can be left out if you don’t like coconut)
- 1 cup dried cherries (or 1 cup other dried fruit)
- .5 cup pumpkin seeds
- .5 cup sunflower seeds (again, the seeds can be swapped out for other seeds)
- 1 cup unsalted walnuts (or almonds, or peanuts, or brazil nuts if that’s how you roll. Just make sure they are unsalted)
- Tiny bit (1 teaspoon or less) butter for greasing the baking dish
Time: About 5 minutes of actual work plus an hour in the oven and another 20 minutes to cool.
Serves: Makes 16 bars.
- Preheat the oven to 250º and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
- Grease the baking dish with the little bit of butter. A half a paper towel is very handy for this.
- Put the condensed milk in the small sauce pan over low heat and let it warm up.
- While the condensed milk is warming, put the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in the sauté pan over medium heat and toast the seeds. Keep them moving either by stirring or by swirling them around in the pan. If you’re feeling fancy you can toss them around like the TV chefs do just keep in mind that you probably don’t have a crew of lackeys to clean up after you when a pile of small seeds ends up behind your stove.
- Put the oats, coconut, dried cherries, walnuts, and the toasted seeds in the big bowl and mix them up.
- Add the warm condensed milk and mix with the silicone spatula.
- Transfer the mixed ingredients to the greased baking dish and spread them out evenly.
- Pop the baking dish in the oven.
- Go do something else for an hour.
- Take the baking dish out of the oven and let it cool for about 15-20 minutes.
- Cut into 16 even pieces.
- Store in an airtight container.
Notes: If you want to make these more of a dessert than a breakfast treat, you might consider adding chocolate chips or drizzling honey or caramel sauce over the top between steps 7 and 8.