Road Trip Food...Dark Chocolate and Dried Cranberry Granola Bars

We're off again!  Road Trip #2 of the summer.

This time we'll be making our way up a few states to the Table Rock Lakes area of southern Missouri.

It's the Kenney Family Reunion 2012.  There will be dozens of cousins, 2nd cousins, and extended family to meet and greet.

We've been working on turning our diets around this summer and have taken ourselves off of many processed foods...

Road trips, however, present the typical difficulties of eating to excess that test our abilities to stay healthy and strong.

I was trying to come up with ideas for snacks that we could pack in the car with us.  We would need something that feels like road food.  

It needs to have chocolate.

It needs to be chewy and feel naughty

It...needs to be feel "bad"!!

Looking for inspiration (for baaaad but healthy bad food) on the web, I came across these homemade granola bars made by Suzanne at 'Strands of My lifeblog.

I decided these would be our "road food" of choice.  They are chewy sweet granola bars and they are packed with many of the foods that we are stocking in our pantry these days.

These granola bars are bound together with pumpkin puree and applesauce.  I saw the inclusion of 1 cup of brown sugar.  I didn't want to use a full cup of brown sugar so I reduced it to 1/2 cup of stevia instead.  I thought they came out well.

All in all, I think these little guys will keep us from making pit-stops to get gas and then coming out of the quick stop with sweets that would be poor choices in terms of nutrition.

Small changes.  Each week, we are trying to make small changes by taking out a processed ingredient and looking for a replacement.  

Oh, we're still going to indulge alright.  I'll never give up my fresh brioche out of the oven, nor my sinful cinnamon rolls dripping with cream cheese frosting, or our homemade pasta...

...but maybe we won't indulge quite so has been our history!

Dark Chocolate and Dried Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars
(recipe from 'Strands of My Life' blog)



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter a 10” by 10” baking pan and line with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats, spices, dried fruit, almonds, seeds, choc chips,  and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist.
  4. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the pan by lifting the parchment paper.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 16

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