Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oatmeal Bars

It always seems that my family is running late.  It's not that we don't try.  We really do!  Even this entry is late!  Just for some reason getting out the door can be so difficult at times.  Because we're always late, we rarely have time to sit down to eat a good breakfast.  So I'm always on the lookout for fast & healthy things to serve my family when I'm throwing their breakfast like a frisbee at them as we pull out of the driveway.  OK, so the frisbee thing isn't exactly accurate, but it feels like it sometimes! =)

While James and I were taking our childbirth classes, the couples were supposed to take turns signing up to bring a snack for the group each week.  The first week, our instructor provided the snack.  Yep, you guessed it. She provided these oatmeal bars.  She encouraged us to not go overboard while we were getting the snack.  She said, "I just made some homemade granola bars real quick."  That's right.  I looked at her like she had lost her mind.  We tried them and they were really good!  My husband loved them!  And all the wives reading this knows that when your husband really likes something, you will do anything to reproduce that for him.  It's no secret that a happy husband has a happy belly. ;-)  To my surprise, they were really easy!!!  One of the best parts of all, they are saving us so much money!  We used to buy prepackaged granola bars that were expensive and not very filling.  My husband takes one on his way to work every morning, so I make a lot of them.

Anyway, the recipe came from a book called The Laptop Lunch User's Guide.  As I started looking around, I found that they sell reusable lunch box kits and promote healthy foods.  Cool!  I also found that they have a blog here.

The following is the word for word recipe and I'll put my tips at the end.

Oatmeal Bars
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

These oatmeal bars are a great alternative to many similar prepackaged products.  Freeze some for future use.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups "old fashioned" oats
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup walnut oil
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons orange juice or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Combine oatmeal, flour baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine honey,, oil, egg, orange juice (or water).
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix again.  
  • Using a spatula, press mixture firmly onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet, forming one large rectangle about 1/3 inch thick.
  • Smooth the edges with the edge of the spatula.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until light brown and firm.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the large rectangle into smaller 1 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangles.
My tips for this recipe:
  • Walnut oil - We don't use walnut oil in our bars.  I substitute it for apple juice concentrate.  I actually do this a lot when I bake.  I keep it in a container in the freezer and just scoop it out with a measuring spoon when I need it.
  • Orange juice - I keep another container in the freezer with orange juice concentrate.  I measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of orange juice and the 1 1/2 tablespoons of water for the recipe.
  • Vanilla extract - We have made them with the vanilla extract before, but now make them with almond extract now.  I love the flavor with the oatmeal
  • 1/3 inch thick - We make ours much more thick.  Ours are more like 3/4 inch thick.  They don't seem to fall apart easily.  Because we like to make ours more thick, I have to bake them longer.  It takes closer to 20 minutes in my stoneware.  
  • Extras - We add a few more ingredients.  I have a cranberry thing, I eat them year round.  We also like chocolate...and pecans.  So, we add 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips, and 1/4 cup of chopped pecans.  You can add pretty much anything your imagination can think up.  Add, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, any nuts, dried fruits, coconut.  Anything you like!

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  1. I love "treats" for breakfast. I can't wait to give these a try. I'm a "get up at the last minute, run around like a fire drill" kinda gal in the morning. These will be perfect!

  2. Oh, yum! I think I'll have to add these to my "baking list". *wink* :)

  3. Yum!This looks so delicious.I saw your blog from the foodie blog roll and I like what you have here.if you won't mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the oatmeal widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  4. I HATE breakfast food so I end up not eating and then I feel lousy because I didn't eat! But these look great and I'm gonna have to make some! Thanks for sharing your great recipe with us at Anything Related!

  5. These sound fun -- and I like that you can use something else in place of the walnut oil (I'm allergic to nuts!).

  6. yum! I'm going to try these this weekend with the kiddos.

  7. Will have to try this one, the kids like crunchy bars better than those chewy ones. Now, I am surprised that the apple concentrate works to sub for oil but it sounds like such a good idea. The cranberry, chocolate and nuts are a great anti-oxidant mix too!

  8. I'm not trying to be difficult, but when you say "whole oats" you mean NOT oatmeal? Like actual whole oats? Just checking- cause that could make quite a difference. TIA

  9. @Cynthia - I am going to change that. It should say "Old Fashioned Oats".(the big oatmeal) Hope that helps!

  10. i just made these...with canola oil and i think i finally found a granola bar i love! ive tried quite a few! YUM! although next time ill double the recipe and make them thicker! i also used maple syrup in place of honey, with choc. chips and dried cranberries! DELISH!

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