Mini-meals

"An after-school snack should boost their fuel for whatever your kids are doing the rest of the day, whether it's homework or baseball," says Lisa Barnes, author of the Petit Appetit cookbooks series. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Grease an 8-inch square glass baking dish, and set aside.

2. Mix oats, seeds, oat bran, cereal, cranberries and ginger in a large bowl.

3. In a small saucepan, combine rice syrup, sugar and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla.

4. Pour over the oat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until all is moist and coated.

5. Spread mixture into prepared dish. Cover the mixture with a piece of parchment paper and press down firmly with your hands or a weight. Refrigerate if necessary to get the mixture to stay together. Let sit until firm, cut into pieces.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 151 calories, 18% of calories from fat, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 79 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

hstevens@tribune.com