Grain Free Granola Bars (DIY Kind bars)


It’s no shock to any of my friends that I ve been pretty low energy and run down the last several months. Stress has been slowly eating at me, and the lack of a real vacation since last Christmas has me feeling a little dry and crispy at the edges. I am yearning for this week s Thanksgiving holiday, and can t wait for 4 days of laziness, cooking and relaxing at home.

I adore the foods, traditions and feeding the people I love on Turkey Day, but this year abdicating all responsibility to my aunt, uncle & cousins in the  burbs sounds like bliss. I’ll whip up a little gluten-free something to bring along, but this year, I’m kicking back and relaxing. Ahhhh.

Last month, Shauna wrote a post where she shared how she d been feeling tired, and slightly  off. She learned that she needed to give up eggs and almonds, and true to her generous spirit, she welcomed the challenge and headed to the kitchen to create. I love when the words of my blogging friends tickle the brain, spin around, and settle in…Shauna’s experience resonated with me…I know I’ve had problems with eggs in the past, and looking to get more of my energy back, I made an appointment with my amazing chiropractor/healer to do some nutritional testing to get to the bottom of things.

A snip of hair for analysis, and simple muscle testing to determine the foods, chemicals and metals that give me trouble, and we had the answers…eggs, corn, oats and soy were added to my  off-limits list for now…maybe not forever, because my reaction isn’t super severe, but for now, they’re outta here. Another run through muscle testing determined the supplements and dosage I would need to help heal my body, and I was on my way with a bag of herbs and a new regime. Such is life.

Of course I’m bummed about losing eggs and corn…two mainstays of many a grab ’n go meal of spicy egg & veggie tacos, chilaquiles, and omlettes, but after nearly 10 years in this food allergy rodeo, it’s no big deal. I’ve been stuck in a rut in the kitchen lately, and this new challenge gets my fingers tingling with anticipation to get cooking, and to learn a few new techniques. With the long holiday weekend ahead, this is the perfect time to take a deep breath, stock the pantry and reboot my kitchen, and my life.

Be KIND to your Guts Bars

I traveling frequently for work, which can leave those of us with food allergies high and dry, depending on where your flight lands. Larabars used to be my go-to road food, but I ate too many of them this summer, so I switched to the higher-end goodness of the Kind bars. At upwards of $2 a pop, they re not something I can afford to eat for breakfast every day. I was thrilled to see that Camilla, from Enlightened Cooking, had already paved the way for me in recreating the bars at home. A few twists of my own, and these bars came together in a snap, and now I m set with tasty bars to last me for a couple weeks, for the cost of about 3 Kind bars. This is my kind of cooking.

Grain Free Granola Bars
Adapted from Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking
Serves: 15, 3×4 bars

2 cups raw nuts, roughly chopped (I used 1 c hazelnuts, 1 c cashews)
1 cup raw seeds (I used pepitas and sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup unsweetened large coconut flakes
1/3 cup minced dried apricots
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Scoop the chopped raw nuts and seeds onto a 1/4 sheet pan (9×13), and toast for 15 minutes, stirring at the 7 minute mark, to ensure the nuts don t burn. Add the coconut flakes when you stir.
  3. When the nuts are toasted, scoop them into a medium mixing bowl. Add the minced dried fruit and stir together.
  4. Pour the brown rice syrup, honey, salt, pinch of cinnamon and black pepper in a small bowl. Warm in the microwave on the lowest setting for 15-30 seconds to gently heat the syrup to make it easier to stir into the nuts and fruit.
  5. Pour the warmed syrup mixture over the nuts, using a spatula to ensure that you get every last drop. Stir the nuts and syrup together. Put a little elbow grease into it to ensure that all the fruit and nuts get an even glossy coating of syrup.
  6. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper, and spray with oil.
  7. Scoop the nut & fruit mixture onto the lined cookie sheet, and spread with a spatula. Next, spray a second sheet of parchment to cover the bars as you press the mixture firmly into the pan. Peel the top layer of parchment off when done pressing the bars together.
  8. Place the bars back in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove the bars from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then proceed to cut them while they re still slightly warm. If they fully cool before cutting, they will not slice into neat squares – they will break unevenly into shards.
  10. Gently lift the bars out of the pan by the parchment liner, and use a chef knife to slice the bars into squares while still on the parchment – otherwise they will stick.
  11. Once cut, use a butter knife to separate the bars from the paper, and store in a container with sheets of parchment between layers to prevent sticking. Store in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Cocoa Curry Coconut Granola Bars

Every woman needs a few close friends to stand in her corner. A sisterhood, a tribe – a handful of confidants that will always have your back, ask tough questions, and tell you when you’re full of it.

I found groups of girls difficult to navigate in my younger years…the rules were complex and politics were always changing. But in college, a fact as simple as a random room assignment in South Case Hall at Michigan State gave me the first sense that I had found a smart, fierce group of women to call sisters. Most of them are still close friends, though the miles and time between visits stretch farther as the years go by. But husbands, children and careers have made them no less dear to my heart.

At the end of my college years, I found a new tribe…a small feminist discussion forum on the web. We shared intimate details of our lives, joys and the frustrations that come with defining yourself as an adult, a woman, feminist, friend and lover. Behind screen names, we shared our innermost thoughts and struggles with honesty in a way that we rarely do in real life. The women (and some men) residing in these threads of conversation online burrowed deep into my heart and life, as real as the friends I hung out with on weekends. When I moved to Chicago in 2000, I learned that several of them lived in my new hometown. We met for brunch one summer morning – shy, and barely in our 20s…and our sisterhood evolved, transferring to the “real world.”

My beautiful feminist sisterhood. Chicago, October 2011. 

Thirteen years after meeting these women online, members of the forum flew in from all over the country to rent a house in Chicago for the weekend, to just hang out. The weekend started with a party on Friday night, and knowing that we all love to cook and eat good food, we made it a potluck affair. These dear women gave me the kick in the behind to start this blog in the first place – we had long rambling conversations online about food, and I always shared what was simmering on my stove. Bringing something to this potluck required some thought…I had a reputation to maintain, after all.

Needing something I could prep ahead, I settled on my signature granola bars as the symbol of my first gluten free experiments. These women witnessed my health transformation, and my frustration in learning to cook in a completely new way. When I first figured out how to make safe, delicious granola bars, it was a eureka moment I shared online first. But I wanted to dress things up a bit – try out a new savory, spicy combo, and so I dreamed up these coconut cocoa curry bars, inspired by Jeni’s Ice Creams recipe using the same flavors. These bars are a winner. Tweak the spices to your tastes – you might like more or less curry and heat than I do, but do try them. You won’t be sorry.

Then, share these bars with the women in your life who make your heart sing.

Granola bars
Makes about 30-35 bars (approx 3×3″)

5 cups gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup chopped raw nuts
 (I used a mixture of chopped pecans, cashews and pepita seeds – use whatever nuts you like best)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (shredded)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter
1/3 c honey
1/3 c brown rice syrup (available at Whole Foods or use all honey)
4 Tbsp butter
2.5 tsp madras (sweet) curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/3 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger, optional
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the nuts and oats on a full sheet pan. Toast the nuts and oats in the oven for 13 minutes, then stir, and sprinkle the 1/2 cup of coconut on top of the oats and bake for another 7 minutes. Remove from oven and pour the oat mixture into a large mixing bowl along with the chopped crystallized ginger, if you’re using it. Leave the oven on at 350 – you’ll need it later.
  3. Meanwhile, during the last 7-10 minutes of oat baking, combine the brown sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, peanut or almond butter, curry powder, cayenne, cocoa powder, butter, and salt into a small nonstick sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring with a spatula until it all melts and is well incorporated with no lumps. Add the vanilla, stir and remove from the burner.
  4. Cut two pieces of parchment paper. The first piece of parchment should be large enough to cover the whole sheet pan, including folding up the sides of the pan. Cut a second smaller piece, just large enough for you to use to cover 1/4 of the bars to aid in pressing the bars together.
  5. When the 20 minutes of toasting the oats are complete, remove from the oven, and pour into your largest mixing bowl, along with the chopped crystallized ginger – stir it all up.
  6. Drizzle half of the hot “glue” (the sugar/butter mixture) over the oats and nuts in your mixing bowl and use a spatula to stir it all together, coating the oats evenly in the sweet goo. Pour the remaining glue over the mixture and continue to stir until everything is nicely coated.
  7. Place the large sheet of parchment paper over the sheet pan covering the entire bottom with overlap for the sides, then scoop the sticky oat mixture onto the pan. Use your spatula to smooth it out into a more-or-less even layer covering the whole pan. Next, take the second, smaller sheet of parchment and use it to cover part of the pan as you use your hands to firmly press the bars together into a tightly packed, even layer.
  8. Put the granola bars back in the oven for 4 minutes, then remove and set on a cooling rack until completely cooled before cutting.
  9. Cutting the bars: Pick up the whole pan of bars by the ends of the parchment, and turn upside down on a large cutting board. Peel the parchment away, and reserve, cutting the sheet into smaller pieces to lay between layers of bars in a large storage container or ziploc bag, to keep them from sticking.
  10. Use a large chef’s knife and firmly press down with the knife with a gentle rocking motion (do not saw at the bars), and cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. I usually get 5 rows of bars across the pan lengthwise, 7-8 bars per row. I also like to cut one row of the bars into two-bite super mini bars for smaller snacking size.
  11. Layer the bars in a large storage container, and slip pieces of the parchment between layers. Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks, though I doubt they’ll last that long.
Girl Scouts Founder Juliette Gordon Lowe was kind enough to take a moment to snap a pic with me. 
…I have to thank the Girl Scouts of the USA for the inspiration to ponder what sisterhood has meant to me. I just returned from the 100th Anniversary Girl Scouts Convention in Houston, attended by 15,000 troop leaders, staff, and girl leaders. I was  there on behalf of a client, and totally drawn in by this huge group of women who laughed, smiled, and truly welcomed every single person as a member of their tribe. Girl Scouts definitely know the power of sisterhood, and I am grateful and humbled by the week spent with their leaders. 
What has sisterhood meant in your life? And what foods do you love to share with your closest friends?  Please share in the comments below. 

Oat Innovations: Smoked Paprika Granola Bars

Hey everyone, sorry for the long absence from the blog…the new gig (which I LOVE) has been all-consuming. I’ve got a few half-written posts sitting in the hopper, but I have to jump the queue to bring you this latest iteration of my granola bars. It seems appropriate to cover some new ground in my ongoing love affair with the humble oat. We eat a lot of them in our house between baked oatmeal, my classic steel cut oats and the daily granola bar snack. If you’re a daring sort and like your sweets and treats a little on the wild side, you’ll have to give these a try.

I’m spending much of my new professional life thinking about oats with Quaker as one of my clients. As a self-proclaimed oat-obsessed nutrition nerd, I’m thrilled to be working on such a well-respected brand – who doesn’t trust the Quaker Oats man?! For my first foray into the wide world of oats, I’ll be attending BlogHer Food conference next weekend! If you’ll be there, stop on by the booth to say hello, enter the fabulous giveaway, and tell me all about your oat inspirations. It feels like a dream come true to spend a weekend talking with food bloggers about oats!

As I was mixing up a batch of my typical granola bars this morning, my eyes wandered to the jar of pecans. My mind drifted to memories of those delicious smoked paprika-laced candied pecans that I gifted to the whole family over the holidays…as I stood there, I wondered if that same flavor combination would work in a granola bar. I couldn’t help myself, so even though I already had a pan of cocoa and ginger granola bars cooling, I whipped up a batch of these bars. I love them – and I hope you will too.

The bars have the sweetness of a typical granola bar and a touch of cinnamon – nothing unusual there…but the kiss of smoked paprika and hint of heat from cayenne and black pepper make these bars pretty addicting. The way I figure it – eating a granola bar or two is still going to be healthier than demolishing a couple handfuls of candied pecans.

And in other non-oat news, Mark and I ran the Indy half-marathon last weekend, and had a blast! We had a big group from Chicago caravan out for the race, and met up with some of my favorite American Cancer Society runners back at the tent after the race…I love the camaraderie of race day and comparing notes on the race. I had my BEST RACE EVER, clocking in a smoking 18 minute PR (personal record) with a 2:03 finish (9:22/mi avg pace)! I felt great the entire race, and if anything, I probably could have pushed it a bit more. And Mark ran his first half-marathon and is already itching to try another…my husband is a runner now – and I could not be happier!

What’s your favorite way to mix it up with oats? Share your oat inspirations in the comment section below…

Smoked Paprika Sweet & Spicy Granola Bars
Makes 30-35, 3×3″ bars 

5 cups gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup creamy, unsweetened almond butter
1/3 c honey
1/3 c brown rice syrup (available at Whole Foods – or use maple syrup or all honey)
4 T butter
½ T smoked paprika
½ T cinnamon
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 T vanilla extract
1 tsp Kosher salt
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the nuts and oats on a full sheet pan. Toast the nuts and oats in the oven for 10 minutes, stir, then bake for another 10 minutes and remove from oven and pour the oat mixture into a large mixing bowl. Leave the oven on at 350 – you’ll need it later.
  3. During the last 10 minutes of oat baking, combine the brown sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, almond butter, smoked paprika, cayenne, black pepper, butter, and salt into a small nonstick sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring with a spatula until it all melts and is well incorporated with no almond butter lumps. Add the vanilla, stir and turn off the heat.
  4. Cut two pieces of parchment paper. The first piece of parchment should be large enough to cover the whole sheet pan, including folding up the sides of the pan. Cut a second smaller piece, just large enough for you to use to cover 1/4 of the bars as you press them firmly into the pan, so you don’t burn your hands, or stick to the oats.
  5. Pour half of the hot “glue” over the toasted oats and nuts in your mixing bowl and use a spatula to stir it all together, coating the oats evenly in the sweet goo. Pour the remaining glue over the mixture and continue to stir until everything is nicely coated.
  6. Place the large sheet of parchment paper over the sheet pan covering the entire bottom with overlap for the sides, then scoop the sticky oat mixture onto the pan. Use your spatula to smooth it out into a more-or-less even layer covering the whole pan. Next, take the second, smaller sheet of parchment and use it to cover part of the pan as you use your hands to firmly press the bars together into a tightly packed, even layer.
  7. Put the granola bars back in the oven for 4 minutes, then remove and set on a cooling rack until completely cooled before cutting.
  8. Cutting the bars: Pick up the whole pan of bars by the ends of the parchment, and turn upside down on a large cutting board. Peel the parchment away, and reserve, cutting the sheet into smaller pieces to lay between layers of bars in a large storage container or ziploc bag, to keep them from sticking.
  9. Use a large chef’s knife and firmly press down with the knife with a gentle rocking motion (do not saw at the bars), and cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. I usually get 5 rows of bars across the pan lengthwise, 7-8 bars per row. I also like to cut one row of the bars into two-bite super mini bars for smaller snacking size.
  10. Layer the bars in a large storage container, and slip pieces of the parchment between layers. Store on your countertop or in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks, though I doubt they’ll last that long. I keep ours in the fridge, just to keep my hand out of the container every time I walk into the kitchen!

148 cal per bar, 50 cal from fat, 7g fat, 55mg sodium, 15mg potassium, 17g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugars, 4g proteins

Update: The BEST Granola Bars

Fall 2010 is really shaping up to be one incredible season in our family. After the amazing weekend at House on the Rock, we received a call from my brother on Thursday. Our new niece was determined to join us in the world a little earlier than expected – Mike and Lisa were already at the hospital awaiting her arrival. Well, it turned out to be a LONG wait for the little lady. As Mikey said – if she were a roast beef, she’d be cooking low and slow. Rowan Elisabeth officially entered the world early on Saturday morning, about the same time Mark and I were heading downtown to our last big race of the season, the Hot Chocolate 15K.

The Hot Chocolate runners shiver before the race. Mark, Jenn, Shelley, Jeremy, Elizabeth

And let it be said that my sister-in-law, Lisa, is one tough momma for enduring 3 days of labor without medication or apparently even screaming, though I’m sure she was in PLENTY of pain. Lisa is my hero and proud momma to a beautiful little girl with a full head of fluffy blond hair! Times like these, it’s hard to live a thousand miles away from them, as I wish I could hold my new niece and inhale that sweet baby smell NOW.

Since I don’t live in Colorado, and don’t want to crowd the new parents with my presence as they settle in, the best I can do is to send my love from afar and a few granola bars to snack on…I know from other friends with newborns that one-handed foods that can be grabbed and munched on quickly are needed in those first weeks. I hope these bars help keep their energy up as they get to know little Rowan and her routines.

Granola bars are hands-down the most frequently made food in our kitchen…and the one I’m known for in our circle of friends. It’s an established fact that at any race, biking event, vacation or party, I’m bound to have a baggie of granola bars with me – and I’m usually willing to share. I can’t count on restaurants and shops to have something I can safely eat, so these little granola bars are my go-to snack.

I posted my recipe for granola bars eons ago, but dozens and dozens of batches later, the recipe has evolved, and these bars hold together much better than the old recipe. I love that by adding cocoa powder to the “goo” I get the chocolate flavor in there, without having to worry about them melting if it’s warm out. The recipe is just a general guide – you can use whatever kind of nuts you like (hazelnuts, pepitas and sunflower seeds are my current favorite mixture), and you can play with the sweeteners as well – honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup and agave all work fine, so use what you like best.

So welcome to the family, Rowan! Know that Aunt Jenn can’t wait to meet you, and in the meantime, be good to your parents – they’ll be working hard to keep up with you for awhile!

What’s your favorite on-the-go snack? Share your travel snacking secrets in the comments below.

Granola bars
Makes about 30-35 bars (approx 3×3″)

5 cups gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup chopped raw nuts
 (I use a mixture of 2-3 different kinds of seeds & nuts)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup creamy, unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter
1/3 c honey
1/3 c brown rice syrup (available at Whole Foods – or use maple syrup or all honey)
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 c chopped tart cherries or crystallized ginger, optional
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the nuts and oats on a full sheet pan. Toast the nuts and oats in the oven for 10 minutes, then stir, bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from oven and pour the oat mixture into a large mixing bowl along with any chopped dried fruit or ginger, if you’re using it. Leave the oven on at 350 – you’ll need it later.
  3. During the last 10 minutes of oat baking, combine the brown sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, peanut butter, cocoa powder, butter, and salt into a small nonstick sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring with a spatula until it all melts and is well incorporated with no peanut butter lumps. Add the vanilla, stir and turn off the heat.
  4. Cut two pieces of parchment paper. The first piece of parchment should be large enough to cover the whole sheet pan, including folding up the sides of the pan. Cut a second smaller piece, just large enough for you to use to cover 1/4 of the bars as you press them firmly into the pan, so you don’t burn your hands, or stick to the oats.
  5. Pour half of the hot “glue” over the oats and nuts in your mixing bowl and use a spatula to stir it all together, coating the oats evenly in the sweet goo. Pour the remaining glue over the mixture and continue to stir until everything is nicely coated.
  6. Place the large sheet of parchment paper over the sheet pan covering the entire bottom with overlap for the sides, then scoop the sticky oat mixture onto the pan. Use your spatula to smooth it out into a more-or-less even layer covering the whole pan. Next, take the second, smaller sheet of parchment and use it to cover part of the pan as you use your hands to firmly press the bars together into a tightly packed, even layer.
  7. Put the granola bars back in the oven for 4 minutes, then remove and set on a cooling rack until completely cooled before cutting.
  8. Cutting the bars: Pick up the whole pan of bars by the ends of the parchment, and turn upside down on a large cutting board. Peel the parchment away, and reserve, cutting the sheet into smaller pieces to lay between layers of bars in a large storage container or ziploc bag, to keep them from sticking.
  9. Use a large chef’s knife and firmly press down with the knife with a gentle rocking motion (do not saw at the bars), and cut your granola into whatever size bars you’d like. I usually get 5 rows of bars across the pan lengthwise, 7-8 bars per row. I also like to cut one row of the bars into two-bite super mini bars for smaller snacking size.
  10. Layer the bars in a large storage container, and slip pieces of the parchment between layers. Store on your countertop or in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks, though I doubt they’ll last that long. I keep ours in the fridge, just to keep my hand out of the container every time I walk into the kitchen!

148 cal per bar, 50 cal from fat, 7g fat, 55mg sodium, 15mg potassium, 17g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugars, 4g proteins


A few of my running friends post-race and post brunch: Mark, Jenn, Elizabeth, Heather and Crysta.

Grain-Free Granola Bars


It’s been a little quieter in the Whole Kitchen recently…I’ve been managing to still get a couple posts up each week, but there hasn’t been a lot of activity and creativity in the kitchen. I’ve got a little adrenal fatigue goin’ on from working too hard without taking much vacation time, and recent weekends have been pretty frantic too. My body is calling for a “time out,” and all I can do is say YES. Thankfully, I have some amazing healers on my side – my chiropractor and homeopath are getting me back on the path to wellness with extra support and a few supplements.

For my part, I need more sleep, exercise and meditation…three weeks into the new regime, I’m already feeling a positive change in my body and energy level. I’ve also signed up to run the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon, so the extra exercise I need has been training runs for the big day. Working for the American Cancer Society, I participate in at least one of our events each year. My friend Emily manages the DetermiNation Charity Athlete program, and after having lunch with Emily and one of her committee members, David Pittman…I found myself wondering if I could join the ACS DetermiNation team too. I needed a new fitness goal, so I signed up. I’ll be running the half-marathon on August 1 to fight cancer for ACS (and don’t worry, I’ll be giving you an opportunity to support me later).

What does my tangent about adrenals and running have to do with food? Well, part of the healing path is simplifying my diet for a little while since my stomach has been a little quarrelsome. I’m giving my morning steel cut oats and granola bars a rest, and going as light on grains as I can manage. Green Kitchen Stories just posted a recipe for these nut bars – they’ve got a lot of protein, good fats and no sugar – they’re sweetened by the dates and dried fruit. The resulting bars are fantastic – good peanut butter flavor (always a favorite), crunchy nuts and a touch of sweetness from the fruit. The bars are a lot softer than granola bars, but they hold together pretty well if kept in the fridge. I’ll be very happy to start my mornings with these and a bowl of cinnamon quinoa for the next few weeks while I work on getting my energy back!

Grain-Free Granola Bars
makes 18 3″x3″ bars
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

1 1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used almonds, pepitas, cashews, sunflower seeds and peanuts)
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter), unsweetened, unsalted
3 oz dates, chopped roughly
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 T water
1/2 cup chopped fruit (tart dried cherries and prunes)
2oz unsweetened coconut flakes
parchment paper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor (chop the almonds separately from the rest of the nuts, as they are much harder than the others). Dump the nuts onto a small sheet pan and toast for 10 minutes. Place the coconut and chopped fruit in a mixing bowl and set aside. While the nuts are toasting, scoop the peanut butter, chopped dates and water into a small sauce pan and heat the mixture on a low burner, stirring as you go. As the peanut butter warms, it may seize up a bit – add a touch more water. You just want the mixture to be warm, not hot, so that you can stir the mixture together.
  2. After the nuts have been toasted for 10 minutes, pour the nuts into the mixing bowl with the fruit and coconut and stir the ingredients together. Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the nuts, and use a stiff spatula to fold the mixture together until all the ingredients are coated in peanut butter. Line the sheet pan with parchment, then dump the sticky mixture onto the parchment. Use the back of your spatula to press the gooey mixture onto the pan in an even layer about 1/2″ thick – don’t worry if it doesn’t fill the whole sheet pan, mine covered about 80%. Use your hands to finish pressing the mixture into an even layer. Place the bars into the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes to set the bars, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting. Store the finished bars in a storage container in the fridge, with waxed paper between layers.

136 cal per 3×3″ bar, 90 cal from fat, 9.6g fat, 55mg sodium, 95 mg potassium, 11g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 4g protein