Hi, everyone! I’m back after a very long break from blogging. Life got so busy that blogging fell to the wayside (largely because I was either not home or preoccupied during prime daylight hours, when the lighting is most flattering for amateur food pics!), but I found myself thinking about the blog all the time, so I’m going to give it another go.
For my first back-to-blogging post, I made a recipe that my friend Tomomi shared with me a few months ago: homemade strawberry cereal bars! The original recipe comes from Super Healthy Kids, and it is super healthy. My boys love cereal bars (Nutri-Grain, Nature’s Valley, Quaker, Special K, those Trader Joe’s cereal bars … if it’s in bar form, they’ll devour it!), but they’re often loaded with sugar, chemical additives, or preservatives. I’m not super up-in-arms about that kind of thing — I try to feed myself and my family “clean” 80% of the time, leaving 20% open for interpretation — but, if it’s possible to make a store-bought food easily at home with fewer ingredients, I’m all for it! This recipe is easy, involves only a handful of wholesome ingredients, and it tastes delicious, so much so that my husband and I devoured half of them last night as dessert. This is a great option for those harried school mornings. The whole recipe (without pictures) is below this overview:
All you need are whole wheat pastry flour, agave, an egg, vanilla extract, baking powder, coconut oil, strawberries, and oats.
You cream the coconut oil, agave nectar, and egg together, then add the dry ingredients to make a dough.
The dough needs to chill for an hour in the fridge, during which time, you simply mash up some strawberries.
When the dough is chilled, you roll it out, then cut it into 3″x3″ squares with a pizza cutter.
Fill half of each square with a little bit of the mashed-up fruit, then fold the other part of the square over. Pinch the seams to seal (sorry for the messy presentation; the dough was very soft!).
Bake the bars on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes, and voila! You have homemade cereal bars.
What a great option for an on-the-go breakfast or snack!
Homemade Fruit-Filled Cereal Bars (from Super Healthy Kids)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup agave
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut up
With an electric mixer, blend the coconut oil, agave nectar, vanilla, and egg until they form a creamy mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, and baking powder). Add the dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients, a bit at a time, while the electric mixer is on low. A dough will form. If it seems very wet and gooey, add a bit more flour. Next time, I might add 1/4 cup more flour.
When the dough is well incorporated, gather it up into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for an hour. (My dough turned out so soft that it was difficult to work with; next time, I might try chilling it in the fridge for 45 minutes, then putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.)
Toward the end of the dough chilling time, mash up your strawberries with a potato masher. You can also use other fruit — ideas include cooked apple mashed with cinnamon, blueberries, or raspberries. Or, you could use jam. The original recipe had instructions for thickening up the fruit on the stovetop, but I just mashed up strawberries with a potato masher for a few minutes. While you’re mashing the fruit, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the dough is ready, line your workspace with some wax paper, sprinkle some flour on the wax paper, then roll out your dough on this surface. With a pizza cutter, cut your dough into 3″x3″ squares.
Spoon out a little (just a little! or else it will be difficult to fold the dough over) bit of mashed strawberries on one side of each square. Fold the other side of the square over, the pinch the edges to seal the bar. Transfer the bar to a baking sheet. My small frosting spatula was VERY useful for getting under the dough, flipping it, and transferring it to the baking sheet.
Bake the bars for 15 minutes, or until the dough looks a little toasted (mine took 17-18 minutes). Let the bars cool before serving. Store remaining bars in an airtight container. Enjoy!