Grab & Go! Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Believe it or not, these Grab & Go! Oatmeal Breakfast Bars were the result of a homeschool assignment yesterday. My daughter, Kylie (age 7), and I rewrote a recipe from Laura Ingalls (THE Laura Ingalls, also known as Laura Ingalls Wilder).

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Over the past few school years, I’ve been using curriculum from Moving Beyond the Page with Kylie. It is a comprehensive curriculum that can be used for an entire year, or you can also choose to use it as a supplement. We use the full comprehensive Age 8-10 curriculum (we just got it in the mail a few weeks ago!).

The first language arts unit of the Age 8-10 curriculum focuses on the book “Little House in the Big Woods,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Kylie not only read the book, but is learning what it was like to live in the pioneer days of the 1860′s – 1870′s in the woods of Wisconsin. Life for Laura Ingalls was very different than the life we live today; there were no tv’s, radios, electricity, etc. If one didn’t grow, hunt, or catch their own food, they wouldn’t survive. Items that we take for granted now (like owning a doll to play with) were precious and rare back then.

When I discovered the first book Kylie would be studying was “Little House in the Big Woods” I was thrilled. I read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books when I was a little girl. They are among some of my favorite childhood books.

Thank you MBTP for giving me permission to use this image.

Thank you MBTP for permission to use this image.

One of Kylie’s homeschool assignments yesterday was to follow directions and make a recipe for “Maple Bars,” by Laura Ingalls. After she completed making the Maple Bars, she was to think of something else she could make in the kitchen and write her own recipe card with step-by-step directions.

This is what I love about homeschool. The recipe above wasn’t going to work for our family because of our food allergies, so I decided to change the assignment. Kylie and I sat down with the Maple Bar recipe and re-wrote it to make it lower in sugar, gluten free, and also dairy free. We gave the recipe a complete makeover (especially since it went from a dessert bar to a breakfast bar), and Kylie wrote the first recipe draft:

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She had quite a bit of help from me, but I’m really proud of her, and she was really proud of herself too!

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I have 2 versions of this recipe for you today. One is for Maple Pecan Oatmeal Bars, and the other is for Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Bars. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Please note, I do not recommend adding shredded coconut to this recipe. Coconut requires added moisture and will dry out the bars.

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Grab & Go! Maple Pecan Oatmeal Breakfast Bars:
Yields 9 – 12 servings

1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
4 – 6 tablespoons palm sugar
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

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Grab & Go! Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars:
Yields 9 – 12 servings

1 cup almonds, pecans, or walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
4 – 6 tablespoons palm sugar
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tablespoons flax meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup frozen blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

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Enjoy!
xoxo
Megan

This recipe is linked to Gluten Free WednesdayAllergy Free Wednesday, EOA Link up, Make Your Own Mondays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Gluten Free Fridays & Tasty Traditions

Blueberry Coconut Butter

Blueberries grow wild in Alaska. We had tons of blueberry bushes in Kodiak where I grew up and {much to my mother’s delight} I loved to pick them! My friends and I would go blueberry picking and come home with our little buckets full of blueberries. We would fill the kitchen sink up with water, let the blueberries soak, and then play with the insects that crawled out of them {I know… eww!}. My mom would freeze the {insect free} berries and we would use them in baked goods throughout the year.


Someone recently asked me if I was from Alaska, and the answer is yes. =)  I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but my parents moved to Kodiak, Alaska, when I was 9 months old. I spent my entire childhood on Kodiak Island and didn’t move to the Anchorage, Alaska, area until after I graduated high school. I still do live in Alaska, in the Matanuska Valley area, which is about an hours drive north of Anchorage. I sure do miss Kodiak at times, though; it was a wonderful place to grow up.

A pair of Stellar Sea Lions hanging out on the docks of the Kodiak boat harbor.

Surrounded by ocean and wilderness, I was able to see and taste some of the finest wild game and seafood. Halibut, salmon, and venison dishes were a regular at our family dinner table. I’ve had halibut and salmon cooked, baked, and fried just about any way you could possibly imagine. Out of all the fresh seafood I’ve had over the years, Kodiak scallops and crab are my ultimate favorites.

Me and my brother standing by a pile of Kodiak King Crab.

This next picture {below} requires a little bit more than a caption. I think I was 2 years old, and I’m being held by a family friend who was an Alaskan Native. He was feeding me raw muktuk, which is the skin and blubber layer of whales (I believe the muktuk he was feeding me was from a Bowhead Whale, but I’m not sure). I don’t remember eating muktuk, but my parents told me I loved it (I can’t say I would feel the same about it if I tried it again now)!

This next recipe is a fairly newer one I’ve been making. The girls and I like to eat it on toast made from my favorite gluten and rice free multigrain bread. It would also make a wonderful fruit dip straight out of the blender or as a waffle or pancake topping. However you choose to enjoy it, I am positive you will love it!

This recipe is linked to AIP Round TableSlightly Indulgent Tuesday, Kids in the Kitchen, Thriving on Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Wellness Weekend, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, Food on Fridays, Fresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, GAPS Friendly Friday, Healthy Vegan Fridays, and Whole Food Fridays.

Blueberry Coconut Butter Recipe:
Yields about 5 cups

2 packages of Let’s Do Organic unsweetened shredded coconut (about 5 1/3 cups, packed)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed*
2 – 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar, stevia, etc.
3 cups fresh blueberries

  1. Using a high speed blender (like a Vitamix), process the shredded coconut on high until it turns into “butter.” Use the tamper to carefully push the coconut down into the blades of the blender while you are processing it; this step should take less than a minute.
  2. Blend in the coconut oil, lemon juice, and sweetener of choice.
  3. Add the blueberries to the blender and blend on high, using the tamper to push the blueberries down into the blades. Process until smooth.
  4. Divide the Blueberry Coconut Butter into 5 glass storage jars (I use canning jars), leaving a inch of room at the top of each jar. Refrigerate what will be consumed within a week; freeze the remaining to retain freshness.

Megan’s Notes:
This butter does firm up in the refrigerator once it is cold, so if you are using it as a fruit dip, plan to use it as one straight out of the blender.

*If you are using tart blueberries, you may not need to use the full 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Leave the lemon juice out of the recipe until after you have the blueberries blended, and then taste and decide if you would like to add lemon juice (add tablespoon by tablespoon until the desired taste is achieved). The blueberries I used were very sweet.

I’ve also used this recipe to make strawberry coconut butter, although I did not use the full 1/4 cup of lemon juice in the strawberry butter.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me? What my favorite hobby is, or about my life in Alaska, etc? Ask me a question and I just might answer it in my next blog post!

Enjoy,
Megan
xoxo

Green Spinach Smoothie

This morning I signed up for an online calorie counting program, My Fitness Pal.  I’m not horribly overweight, but I could stand to lose 15 lbs.  That Coconut Cake is just a little too yummy if you know what I mean….  :)

So on to healthier recipes:

1- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 generous handfuls of spinach
1/2 a banana
5 large frozen strawberries or 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Other add-ins (optional):

flax seeds
chia seeds
protein powder
dulse flakes

Throw the above ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more dairy free milk if needed.

This recipe makes enough for me and my two little girls.  The smoothie is very green in color, but you don’t taste the spinach.  The banana and strawberries are great for masking the flavor!

Megan