D.I.Y. Power Squares
Commercial power bars are marketed as good-for-you treats despite their abundant sugar and fat. Do-it-yourself power squares let you put healthy whole foods in your bar and into your family. Feel free to swap any nut butter for peanut butter, substitute your favorite nuts for almonds, and use any dried fruit in place of apricots.
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup almonds, chopped small
2 tablespoons hulled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped small
1 cup unsweetened crispy (not puffed) brown rice cereal (such as Nature’s Path or Erewhon)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly oil an 8-inch-square baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, sunflower seeds and ground flaxseed. Spread onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until oats and nuts smell buttery and just start to turn golden.
Remove from oven and let cool. In the meantime, heat peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat for just a few minutes, until mixture just comes together and is warmed through.
Return the oats mixture to the large bowl. Add dried fruit, rice cereal, cinnamon; stir to combine. Pour in peanut butter mixture. Mix well with a large spoon until ingredients are lightly coated and slightly moistened.
Pour mixture into baking pan. Moisten your hands with a little water and press mixture firmly into pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When well-chilled and firm, cut into squares.
Keeps refrigerated and well-covered for several days. Makes 16 bars.
Per bar: 99 calories (29 percent from fat), 3.3 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 0.9 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 3 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 26 mg sodium.