Quick and Easy Granola bars to take on the run!

1 cup packed dates, pitted (either deglet or Medjool dates)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla

Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain - about 1 minute. It should form a dough like consistency (able to roll into a ball).

Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Or you can leave them raw. Some prefer the toasted flavor.

Place the oats, almonds and dates in a bowl, and set aside.

Warm the maple syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over the oat mixture. Mix the ingredients, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.

Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8 x 8 dish or other small pan lined with parchment paper to help lift out easily. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.

Remove the bars from the pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn't necessary.