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?

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Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

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In just a couple days, S and I devoured all the Apricot Buckwheat Bites I made earlier this week. I’m surprised they lasted longer than a day, to be honest!

“Mmm. I really like these,” S said when he tried the first one. And then, a few bites later, “You should make a chocolate version.”

A chocolate version. Once the idea was in my head, it wouldn’t leave. I had to make it happen.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites
Makes 25 balls about 1.25″ in diameter

  • 1 C raw hazelnuts
  • 1/4 C raw buckwheat groats
  • 18-20 raw Medjool dates
  • 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/3 C chocolate chips
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add the hazelnuts, buckwheat groats, the hemp seeds, and about 15 dates to a food processor and process until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, maple syrup, and sea salt and process for 10-15 seconds. Check the mixture—if it’s not holding together at all, add a few dates, process, and check again. Add more dates if necessary until the mixture is sticky but holds together.

Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.25″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Buckwheat Bites

Between the chocolate chips and the crunchy buckwheat, these little bites taste more like candy than anything else. But five balls give you 20% of your daily value of iron, along with 9 grams of protein, 7% of your daily value of calcium, and a decent dose of fiber. Sweet!

Apricot Buckwheat Bites

LVV MoFo 2014 mainOne of the best parts of MoFo this year has been discovering new and unexpected nutrition sources. The internet is full of top-ten lists, touting the best ways to get various nutrients on a vegetarian/vegan/paleo/gluten-free/whatever diet. But those lists only take you so far—I’ve found plenty of great protein and iron sources simply by rifling through my pantry. Today’s mostly raw recipe combines a few surprising sources of iron into a super satisfying snack.

Apricot Buckwheat Bites

Apricot Buckwheat Bites
Makes 20 balls about 1.5″ in diameter

  • 1/3 cup raw whole hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup raw buckwheat groats, divided
  • 8-10 medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 2/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (measure before chopping)
  • 2 T raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash sea salt

Add the hazelnuts and half the buckwheat groats to a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the dates (start with 8), apricots, and vanilla extract and process until all ingredients are combined—the mixture will be a little sticky, but it should hold together. If it’s too dry, add the remaining dates. Add the remaining groats, hemp seeds, and sea salt and pulse a few more times until all new ingredients are incorporated.

Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1.5″ in diameter. Store in the refrigerator for best results.

Note: Vanilla bean seeds would work great here, but I couldn’t find mine… so, vanilla extract it was.

Apricot Buckwheat BitesThese little bites have a satisfying crunch to them thanks to the raw buckwheat groats. If you’ve never used raw buckwheat, do yourself a favor and try it. Just be careful not to buy toasted buckwheat accidentally—that satisfying crunch will be much less satisfying and a little more unpleasant in that case. (Toasted buckwheat is also called kasha, and it makes a nutty replacement for your favorite cooked grain.) Raw buckwheat is—surprise!—a great source of iron, as are the apricots, dates, and hemp seeds. Four of these bites will give you 13% of your daily value of iron, along with 4 grams of protein and 6.4% of your daily value of calcium. Impressive!

Have you tried raw buckwheat groats? How do you like to use them?