Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh So Easy Oatmeal Bars

"Mommy is gonna watch TV this morning for thirty minutes. I'm not gonna help anybody with anything, I'm not gonna get off the couch. So...before I go sit down, does anyone need anything?"


Guilt...mild, but guilt all the same...

"You guys can come watch with me, but you've gotta be quiet..."

The sound of a small stampede...

I was making a Saturday morning stand. No ESPN or Little Einsteins this morning! I'd missed my favorite cooking show last weekend, and I didn't want to miss it again this time around. The kids and I settled in to see what The Pioneer Woman was going to make on the Food Network.

I feel a certain kinship with this famous blogger, turned Food Network star, Ree Drummond, who lives on a cattle ranch in the middle of Oklahoma, not because of the cattle ranch or Oklahoma, but because she is a homeschooling mother of four who is passionate about cooking for her kiddos and for her husband. Her cookbooks have become sources of some of our favorite meals.

As the kids and I watched the show, and were rewarded for our efforts with a simple but absolutely delicious recipe for Strawberry Oatmeal bars. We've made this recipe two or three times in as many weeks, and we're not yet weary of it! {Click here to watch the video of The Pioneer Woman making the original recipe on the Food Network website.}

I've made the Oatmeal Bars by strictly following the recipe {here} and I've also made it with a few tweaks of my own. My illustrious panel of taste testers has declared the oatmeal bars delicious either way. They simply suggest that I keep 'em comin'!

Here's how I make these easy treats that can be used as a dessert, or as breakfast. We, of course, have done both.

Fruit-Filled Oatmeal Bars
[adapted a little from Pioneer Woman]

{Printable Recipe HERE}


1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (if you do not have whole wheat, use 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour but adjust amount of butter to 1 and 3/4 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks of butter cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
18 ounce jar strawberry/blackberry preserves

Here's what to do...

In a large bowl combine flours, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add butter and either with hands or a pastry blender,

...and cut the butter into the flour mixture until the whole mix looks like small pebbles.

 After butter has been well cut in, add the oats and stir well with spoon or fork to combine.

Place half of the flour/oat mixture into a sprayed 13 x 9 baking pan and press to make an even crust on the bottom of the pan. (If you forget to spray the pan...don't worry, just run a knife around the edge of the pan immediately after you take it from the oven. No worries!)

Next, pour preserves into a small bowl and stir to thin and make smooth. 

Spread preserves onto the bottom flour/oat layer. You'll want to take your time here and spread the preserves evenly which could prove tricky. It may also be a good idea to wet a spoon to help spread the preserves. Don't fret if some of the oatmeal layer gets into the preserves, it won't ever show up in the finished me here.

The original recipe calls for 8-10 ounces of preserves. The jar I used was an 18 ounce jar, and I had this much left (about a tablespoon). The whole point is to completely cover the first layer of oat the oat mixture. Ten ounces has been sufficient with other preserves and jams, this one was especially thick and needed more.

  Pour the other half of the oat/flour mixture on top of the preserve layer...

and press gently to create the top layer.

Bake in a 350 oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden...

Let cool for 5-10 minutes then cut into squares.

 Now the hard part...wait 20 more minutes for the oatmeal bars to cool completely. Your efforts here will help you to avoid being burned by hot strawberry me here too.

After the Oatmeal Bars have cooled completely, they're also much easier to handle, so call in your crew and let 'em get started!

Besides eating these as a dessert (my Man says some vanilla ice cream would be perfect here...) and for breakfasts on the porch in the sun...

these make a wonderful snack to enjoy through out the day, say, 

for those times when lunch or dinner is waaaaayy too far into the future but when grumbly bellies are in action!

A note about the preserves:  I cannot think of any fruit preserve or jam that wouldn't be wonderful in these bars. I've used a combo of strawberry/apricot...yum. 

I've used plain strawberry...also yum. My sister used a homemade peach jam...the reports were...yum. Today I used this new jam from Smuckers...very, very...yum.

Go ahead and make these for your gang...they'll love ya for it. 
{Really, they probably love you anyway, but now they'll not be loving you with hungry bellies!}



Tiffany said...

These look super yummy!! Can't wait to try the recipe!

Becky said...

You make the recipes look so fun. Thanks for sharing!

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