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Need a Snack? Try Gorpola

Remember the stuff that's made with Chex cereal, peanut butter, chocolate, and other stuff? Sometimes it's called "muddy buddies," "trash," and a few other names. Whatever it's called, it tastes of peanut butter and chocolate and is quite addictive. Well, I wanted to come up with something similar that isn't quite as bad for you. The result is Gorpola. It's a cross between gorp--essentially a trail mix--and granola. Hence the name, Gorpola. Okay, so it isn't health food, but it isn't too horrendously bad for you, either. The stuff includes Cheerios (or their equivalent), peanut butter, and oats for a mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The Gorpola bakes in the oven to make it toasty and crunchy and incredibly tasty. If you'd like, you can mix in an assortment of dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate pieces, after baking. Don't/don't be tempted to bake the dried fruit and chocolate with the rest of the Gorpola. The fruit will harden and the chocolate will melt to nothingness. Bad idea. Add the extras last after the Gorpola cools. For ease, I add a bag of cheap trail mix from Aldi. It includes almonds, dried cranberries, sunflower kernals, and chocolate chips. What do you do with the Gorpola once you've made it? Well, you can scarf it down "as is." Or you can sprinkle the Gorpola on top of yogurt, ice cream, fruit, smoothies, puddings, or whatever you'd like. It really is good, easy to make, and far less expensive than store-bought granola.

Gorpola -- Muddy Buddies, Trail Mix, and Granola

Gorpola -- Makes 6-8 cups

1 cup of peanut butter

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of honey

3 cups of multi-grain Cheerios or similar "O" cereal

1 cup of oats (old fashioned)

2 cups of roasted, unsalted peanuts

2 cups of trail mix (optional)

Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, and honey. Microwave the mixture for 2-3 minutes, stirring it every minute, until it bubbles. Stir the mixture well. Add the Cheerios, oats, and peanuts and stir the mixture well to combine everything. Spread the mixture out in the prepared pan and press the mixture down into the pan evenly. Bake the mixture for about 20 minutes or until it's just starting to brown and smells fragrant. Remove the pan from the oven and let the Gorpola cool completely. Stir it a bit with a spatula, leaving some big pieces. If you'd like, stir in the trail mix or the dried fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate pieces of your choice. Store the Gorpola in air-tight containers or bags.

Gorpola -- Muddy Buddies Plus

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