Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Bars

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I’m writing this post on Thursday night and I’m so very antsy! On Friday afternoon, S and I will be taking off for Rhode Island to meet baby Charlie. I don’t know how I’ll get through the work day tomorrow; I’m so excited! And then we’ll be in the car for eight hours or so… I wish we could fast-forward to the minute I get to wrap my arms around the teeny-tiny newest member of my family. But alas, time marches onward steadily! At least S and I will be armed with snacks galore so we don’t need to make a stop for dinner. He’s picking up fruit and a bag of Earth Balance white cheddar popcorn (SO GOOD), and I’ve made a sweet treat to keep us energized.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Bars

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Bars

Makes eight bars

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash cloves

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking pan or line with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut sugar, coconut oil, molasses, agave nectar, and vanilla extract over low. Stir to combine as the oil melts. Once all ingredients are well mixed, turn off the heat and stir in the pumpkin puree.

In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and mix. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula until the oats are coated and all ingredients are well mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press down evenly.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the oats begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. If you’re patient, let them cool before eating. If not, they might be a little crumbly!

Inspired by this recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal Bars

Baked oatmeal bars strike again! I can’t help it; I just love this easy, on-the-go method of enjoying oatmeal. These bars are just sweet enough for me, but if you like a sweeter breakfast, you could substitute maple syrup for the blackstrap molasses. But then, of course, you’d lose out on the stellar benefits of my beloved blackstrap! Each bar gives you 13% of your RDV of iron, about 6 grams of protein, substantial fiber, and nearly your entire day’s requirement of vitamin A. Not a bad way to keep your tummy full on a drive up the east coast!

What are your favorite road trip snacks?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

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Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

S and I share many traits. We both prefer staying in to going out and partying. We have ambitious Goodreads goals. We appreciate a solid pun. But one point of difference is our tolerance for meal repetition. Although I have no problem with leftovers in general, I need diversity in my meals. Eating the same thing for lunch or dinner every day bores me. S, on the other hand, has been known to make a giant pot of his favorite cold noodle dish on a Sunday and eat it every. single. day. for lunch throughout the week. Me? I’m bored by Tuesday. When a series of events led to him having Chipotle for lunch three days in a row a few months ago, he could’ve kept going for the next week. Me? I’m good with a monthly Chipotle fix.

When it comes to breakfasts, I have marginally more tolerance for repetition. But lately I’ve become bored with overnight oats, my typical summer staple. Well… “bored” is too weak a word for my feelings. “Repulsed by” is too strong, but it’s somewhere between the two poles. The finer distinctions of my current dislike aside, I wanted to make myself a substantial breakfast that would fill me up like oats do but would not require me to eat from a jar. (I’m so over that for now.) Determined to use the quickly browning bananas on my kitchen island, I gathered inspiration from my Blueberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies and my Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal.

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

The result? Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, a satisfying breakfast you can eat with your hands—no jar required! My poor reviled oats take on new life in a dense, satisfying square sweetened ever so lightly with brown rice syrup. A few tablespoons of almond butter add filling protein and fat, but the nut-free among you could switch to soy butter with no major flavor changes. I left mine bare, but you could dress up your bars with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. (And if you have a sweet tooth, consider adding a tablespoon or two of dark brown sugar to the wet ingredients—I prefer less-sweet breakfasts, but I know not everyone does!)

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Makes 9 servings

  • 1 C whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 2 medium-large very ripe bananas
  • 1 C unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 375˚ and prepare an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. I typically use coconut oil, but any oil or spray will do.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas very thoroughly—they should be very liquid-y. Add the almond milk, brown rice syrup, almond butter, and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate fully. Add the ground flax and give the liquid mixture a last stir.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25  minutes, or until a toothpick or metal testing tool comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes and then cut into squares… and enjoy your jar-less breakfast.

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

P.S. Ya dig that cute fabric napkin? There’s a set of six for sale in my Etsy shop!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

This admission may be blasphemous in most vegan and/or healthy-eating circles, but here it is: I don’t really like bananas. I’ve mentioned it before, but it remains true. We just don’t get along.

Straight-up bananas are what really give me grief. Every so often I think my tastes and texture preferences might’ve changed, and I gamely set forth in a brave quest to conquer a single banana. (Of course, it has to be on the overripe end of the spectrum; any hint of green and the accompanying less-than-ripe smell and I’m gagging before I begin.) I peel it. I take a bite and quickly chew and swallow. This isn’t so bad, I think. I can do this. Then I’m two bites in and I’m remembering why I don’t do this. There’s a slimy mass on the back of my throat and an unpleasant smell in my nose. I force myself to swallow. I gag. I hand the banana off to S, who wonders aloud why on earth I keep doing this to myself.

Why, indeed. Bananas are a perfect on-the-go snack; they come with their own protective suit that keeps them safe in your purse or backpack. I want to be able to eat an entire banana while waiting for a flight without worrying about gagging aloud or having to furtively find a trashcan to dispose of the half-eaten fruit.

But alas, straight-up banana-lovin’ doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me.

I do, however, like bananas in other foods. Muffins. Softserve. And of course, banana bread. I love banana bread.

The thing about banana bread, though, is that I don’t consider it an appropriate breakfast food. Which is not to say that I’ve never indulged in a slice for breakfast, but it never fills me up. Banana bread—and most quick breads—are typically loaded with white flour, oil, and sugar. Not exactly the nutrients needed to get you off to a rip-roarin’ start.

This breakfast, however, combines all the flavors of banana bread in a wholesome, protein-packed baked oatmeal. It appeases both your love (or lukewarm like) of bananas and your need for a filling, nutritious breakfast. And it’s dead easy; everything comes together effortlessly in a blender. Now that’s a banana recipe I can get behind—no gagging involved.

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Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

Serves four

  • Coconut oil, oil spray, or Earth Balance for buttering the pan
  • 3 very ripe medium-sized bananas
  • 1 cup nondairy milk of choice
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 C rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1/4 C add-in of choice (chopped walnuts, chopped dates, chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Spread the oil or Earth Balance around the inside of an 8”x8” square baking dish, making sure to cover all sides.

Add the bananas and milk to a blender and blend until fully smooth. Add all other ingredients except the oats and add-ins and blend again to incorporate all ingredients. Add the oats and blend for 30 seconds or so until the oats are partially broken into small pieces but aren’t fully blended.

Pour the mix into your prepared pan and drop any add-ins on top. Using a large spoon, gently fold in the add-ins. For an extra treat, sprinkle the top with a teaspoon or two of brown sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the milk doesn’t look liquid-y on top of the oats. Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes to let set, then serve and enjoy!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.