Grab & Go Cranberry Crunch Bars

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a healthy on-the-go snack

Healthy On-The-Go snacks are an essential for busy families. Whether you are a mom waiting on dance class to let out or a student suddenly having a snack attack during a long lecture, or just need a tasty break from work, having a handy, grab & go energizing snack can be a game changer.

However, quality store-bought snack bars can be expensive and what’s more sometimes filled with unappealing ingredients like preservatives and excessive sweeteners. Let’s try making our own. As you know, I love a great product and a good recipe challenge, so I have entered into the Cape Cod Select Blogger Recipe Contest.

With premium cranberries as the foundation this recipe is the perfect mix of nutritious superfoods. Protein packed roasted nuts add crunchy flavor and seeds add fiber and heart-healthy fats. Between the cranberries, dates and touch of brown rice syrup there is a perfect balance of natural sweetness. What’s more, both kids and adults will love them as the perfect breakfast on the go, mid-afternoon desk snack, or pre-workout fix. Bake up a batch to have on hand throughout the week.

Bonus: the recipe comes together quickly with things you may already have in your pantry. Toss one of these cranberry crunch bars in your lunch box, brown bag and backpack and be ready any time a snack attack strikes. Don’t ever need to be “hangry” again. ❤

Grab & Go Cranberry Crunch Bars

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/4 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries

8 pitted dates, finely chopped

¼ cup brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups assorted unsalted, roasted whole nuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup puffed rice cereal

¼ cup roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Heat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil leaving a slight overhang. Spray with non-stick spray. Finely chop cranberries in a food processor. In small saucepan, over medium heat, combine cranberries, dates, brown rice syrup, butter and salt. Stirring, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until mixture is quite thick. In a large bowl, toss nuts, cereal, and seeds. Add cranberry mixture and stir well to coat the nuts, cereal and seeds. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Chill in pan in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until cold. Using the edges of parchment, lift from pan and place on a cutting surface. Slice into bars or squares. Wrap individually in parchment paper or foil and store in the refrigerator.

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A Grief Poem

I love this artist….Kate Rainbow

I came across this lovely poem by Nancy Cross Dunham on the Modern Loss Facebook Page. I highly recommend this group for grief support.

what I’m learning about grief …

is that it need not be

a heavy gray shawl

to wrap myself in,

clutching my arms tightly

across my chest

nor …

need it be

a granite rock

that I should try

to push away

neither is it …

… at least, no longer …

a vast dark ocean

ready to pick me up

and slap me down

without warning

what I’m learning about grief …

is that it is not me,

but that it offers

to become a friend

a friend …

who will lightly lay a hand

on my shoulder

when tears come in the dark

a friend …

who will laugh

out loud with me

at remembered silly moments

a friend …

who can still hear

the music of our life

what I’m learning about grief …

is that this friend

doesn’t intend

to leave me

but promises

to hold my hand

to carry my memories

a friend …

who will bear witness to my love

as I venture

toward the next day

and the following night

Grilled Cranberry Glazed Salmon in Banana Leaf with Cranberry Cauliflower Rice

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Typically, cranberries are associated with autumn and holiday recipes. It’s April, so why am I cooking with cranberries? First, I love them. Second, it’s because premium frozen cranberries are available all year long and mingle well with the BBQ lifestyle. Inspired by spring and the opening day of fishing season cranberries make the most fantastic, tangy BBQ glaze for grilling all kinds of seafood. They also brighten up easy side dishes with their superfruit flavor. Today, I share a fun family dinner with a bit of cranberry flare as part of the Cape Cod Select Blogger Recipe Contest.

Cranberries add the most incredible layer of flavor and tang to my Asian inspired BBQ sauce plus a breath of freshness to cauliflower rice. It’s all so pretty, light and healthy.

And don’t be afraid of that banana leaf. It’s readily available in your frozen food section, too. It helps seal in all the moist goodness and flavors so lovingly wrapped up inside it. In a pinch you can substitute aluminum foil, but you will miss the subtle flavor infused by the charred leaf.

Can I double dog dare you to step outside of your cranberry comfort zone now that spring has sprung? Get to your grocery store and grab a bag of Cape Cod Select Premium Farm Fresh Cranberries and try my recipe. For sure you will be thanking me. And BTW, this cranberry glaze is equally delicious on chicken, pork and burgers, so get grilling and enjoy being outside.

Grilled Cranberry Glazed Salmon in Banana Leaf with Cranberry Cauliflower Rice

1 ¼ cups Cape Cod Select Premium Farm Fresh Cranberries, divided

3 tablespoons fresh tangerine or orange juice

1 tablespoon lite rice wine vinegar

¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce

4 (3 to 4 oz) skin-on salmon fillets

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 pieces (12-inch square) banana leaf, thawed, if frozen

½ large cauliflower, cored and separated into florets

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon water

Garnish: sliced green onions and toasted black or white sesame seeds

Side dish recommendation: grilled bok choy

In small saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup cranberries, juice, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili garlic sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer and stir 3-5 minutes, or until cranberries burst and mixture thickens. Heat grill to medium-high. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place 1 fillet, skin side down, on one end of banana leaf. Spoon a good tablespoon of cranberry glaze over top of fillet. Fold banana leaf over fish, fold in sides, and continue folding to opposite side. Place packets, skin side down on hot grill. Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, or until banana leaf is charred, turning, during last 2 minutes of grilling time. Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower and remaining ¼ cup of cranberries in food processor to form rice-sized pieces. In a large skillet over medium-high heat combine cranberry-cauliflower mixture, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of pepper and I-teaspoon of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve: spoon some cranberry-cauliflower rice on each serving plate. Carefully unwrap salmon packets and place fillet on top. Spoon additional warm cranberry glaze over salmon. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Makes 4 servings.

Notes: you can also present the dish on the opened banana leaf, if desired