Neighborhoods hum and bustle with an extra dose of activity this time of year, and some households, like the Gustafsons' in Minneapolis, seem to be on the go -- make that on the run -- all the time. Watching the action from the sidelines, I can't help but be inspired by this fit family. Ranging in ages 8 to 14, all four kids play hockey, baseball/softball and tennis, and two play soccer. For the parents, biking trumps driving the car whenever possible.
No wonder mom Angie keeps her favorite chewy power bar recipe handy. She and the kids enjoy making the tasty snack that is full of healthy ingredients, including flaxseeds, wheat germ and raisins. Reese's Pieces are added to the mix, but Mom controls the amount.
"The original online Ultimate Power Bar recipe, which has been passed from friend to friend, comes from Lunds, our neighborhood market where you can easily find all the ingredients," she says. "But, like most recipes I prepare, I tweak the ingredients to suit our tastes. The bars are ideal for school lunches, picnics and rest stops when we bike around town with our cycling club, the Mill City Cyclomaniacs (mccyclo maniacs.us). I don't know a kid who doesn't like them -- even the picky eaters ask for the energy snack."
ANGIE'S ULTIMATE POWER BAR
Makes 36 bars.
31/2 cups oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
3 tablespoons flaxseeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups natural peanut butter
1 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup Reese's Pieces
To prepare oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To mix bars: In large bowl, let one child combine oats, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, oat bran, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt. Stir with a big spoon. Continue stirring while another child adds peanut butter, honey and melted butter. Stir until well mixed. Stir in Reese's Pieces.
To bake bars: Spoon mixture into ungreased 9-inch-by-13-inch glass pan. Using spatula, firmly pack and press mixture down. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool completely. Chill completely before slicing.
To store bars: Store bars in stacks separated by wax paper in covered container in refrigerator.
Resources: To find original Ultimate Power Bar recipe, go to lundsandbyerlys.com. Click "recipes" and search "Ultimate Power Bar."
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."