Jars and Bars

August 20, 2010

JARS…

Breakfast this morning was indeed porridge.

Oats in a jar!

I was introduced to this fun little concept by Kath, a dietitian blogger in the US. We share a love of oats and nut butters, amongst other things. One day I saw that she put her morning oatmeal in a near empty jar of nut butter. What a cute little breakfast idea, I thought.

This morning I noticed that my natural peanut butter jar was nearly ready to exit the nut butter line-up and take a dive off the shelf into the recycling bin, and I jumped at the chance to try out Kath’s idea of oats in a jar!

I had a lot of fun eating this. Scooping up the plump porridge and scraping the side of the jar for peanut butter remnants made for an enjoyable and scrumptious breakfast.

The porridge consisted of 1/3 cup oats and a finely sliced banana cooked in skinny milk, and poured straight into the jar. Not having a bowl to clean was an added bonus! I will definitely be doing this again.

BARS…

I am a huge fan of making my own muesli bars. It allows you to control exactly what goes into them, avoiding any additives or excess sugar and fats. They are incredibly fun to make, and easy to boot!

Making your own bars also allows you to exercise portion control, and choose how large or small you want your bars. I often make two different sizes. I make larger bars, that weigh ~60 grams, which Ben often takes to work. I also make smaller, bite-size pieces (~30 grams). I might have this size bar for afternoon tea alongside a yoghurt or some fruit. I also like to crumble the smaller bars and have them over yoghurt or porridge.

Even though it is just the two of us, I make a full batch of the muesli bars and freeze them individually (I wrap them in glad wrap once they’re cooled). At night I will take a bar out of the freezer and pop it on the bench, so they are defrosted by morning and ready to eat. You can also take it out in the morning and it will be ready for afternoon tea. They tend to take around 4 hours to defrost, depending on the thickness of the bar.


I created the recipe below by adapting a few different recipes. I am still tweaking the recipe, as I don’t think it is currently sweet enough to eat alone. We eat these muesli bars with a spread of natural nut butter or jam on the bottom. You can eat them without the addition of a spread, but it really does give it a nice kick. Next time I think I will add more mashed banana, and then perhaps omit the milk and maybe egg. We’ll see.

I make many different muesli bars, and the ones that taste the best are those that have a decent amount of sugar or syrup in them. Yes, they are delicious, but I am hoping to perfect this recipe, which is less sugary and has a lower GI. You’ll definitely feel healthy eating these!

Walnut, Banana and Cinnamon Muesli Bars

Ingredients

1 ½ cup rolled oats
½ cup bran flakes (I use Vogel’s Soy & Linseed Bran)
½ cup pepitas (you can add less, I just love these!)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried fruit
(sultanas, craisins, diced apricot)
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
300g mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon cinnamon(I sometimes add more, as I love cinnamon)
pinch of salt

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine the wet ingredients, then add them to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. The mixture will be quite wet.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (I use a rectangle one that is 28cm x 15cm, and 5cm deep). Pour mixture onto the baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly, so it fills the tray. Press down on the mixture with the back of a spoon, to ensure it is packed in firmly and smoothly.

Bake for ~30 minutes, until warm throughout and the top is slightly brown. Let it cool, then slice into bars. Serve as is, or with a thin spread of natural nut butter or jam.

A muesli bar jam sandwich!

Happy Friday! Ben and I are going out for Pizza with some friends. Such a nice way to start the weekend.

Heidi xo

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  • jessmac August 20, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Yum Heidi! Love your oat passion! I have an empty jar of peanut butter coming up very soon – can't wait!

  • Leah August 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

    Im going to make these muesli bars for sure. They look so delicious!

  • Chanel11 August 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I will definitely be giving these a whirl 🙂

  • Heidi August 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    thanks girls! if you have any suggestions re how to make them sweeter without losing the health factor, please let me know! with this recipe i was trying to avoid the addition of a syrup style sweetener, but perhaps that is what i would need to do.

    jess, you will love the oats in a jar! so much fun. im hanging out for my almond butter jar to be finished – it's my fav 🙂

  • Katie August 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Great recipe! Will definitely be trying this one 🙂 Re: the sweetness, could you add a little honey? Does that come under the "syrup style" heading?

  • Heidi August 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Hi katie! Yes, i was thinking of honey as a syrup style sweatener. Perhaps syrupy ones are the only way to go. I may next time add just a touch of agave nectar or brown rice syrup for a slower release of energy. Or just stick to spreading nut butter on it. So tasty 🙂

  • KittyCate August 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    These bars look so delicious, I will definitely be trying the recipe myself. I am not a massive fan of overly sweet foods, and find conventional muesli bars far too sweet, so these may be perfect for me! x

  • ClaireyH August 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Heidi,

    Your friend AW sent me your blog. (We work together) It is really great, and I especially love your post about the nut jar usage. I will give this a go with my two little girls.

    It is such a great idea I was wondering if I could mention it on my blog for you and include a link back here for the readers (mostly Mummas) from my site.

    It would also be great if you could add the follow or feedburner gadget so that we can follow your posts in Google reader.

    You can find me at
    claireyhewitt.blogspot.com

  • Maxabella September 10, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Both fantastic ideas! I'm so happy I found your blog (via Clairey at BabbleOn's great post today)… x