If you’ve read The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great, you know that I lost forty pounds nine years ago. I did by establishing new pleasurable eating rituals throughout my day. No diet.
I’m proud of the way I’ve mostly maintained my weight, but these last several months have been challenging. Traveling back and forth to take care of my late dad and now Mom, my regular patterns are frequently interrupted, and you can tell. Ever so gradually I’ve packed on a few extra pounds.
Fortunately life offers new beginnings—every single day if we’re up to it. I’m back on track—nothing extreme—just returning to the a way of life that nourishes and sustains me.
One of those ritual moments is afternoon tea with a little sweet treat which are important to my happiness which, in turn, affects my health.
It’s nice when a treat can be this satisfying and restorative.
- 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup each: chopped bittersweet chocolate and dried cranberries
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan; line with heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on two sides to facilitate removal of bars from pan, and then grease the foil.
- Mix oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg and vanilla into coconut oil; stir coconut mixture into oatmeal mixture to combine. Press about ⅔ of the bar mixture into prepared pan, and sprinkle with chocolate and cranberries; top with remaining oatmeal mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes to set, then use foil handles to transfer to a wire rack to firm up. Cut into squares and serve.
Oh man, these look delicious! My husband is allergic to coconut, so I can’t use coconut oil…what would you recommend as a substitution? My first thought is butter…but that does reduce the health factor a bit…
What Holly said: for those of us who prefer not to use coconut oil, what would be the substitution? Butter, straight up?
Pam Anderson says
Hey Melissa and Holly, any neutral oil would be fine, but if you’re looking for good flavor, you are right. Butter is best!
Peggy Wolff says
Wow, what a rush just looking at those tempting oatmeal squares. I NEED my mid-afternoon sugar treat. I think I was born on the wrong continent, wrong side of the pond. I need my high tea too!
Zainab @ Blahnik Baker says
I love these bars because it’s the perfect mid afternoon snack!
Emily @ Life on Food says
Love! I haven’t made anything with cranberries and chocolate in a long time.
These look great. I would be the only one eating them though. How long do you think they will keep for?
Pam Anderson says
They’ll last a few days, but if I were you I’d freeze half. That way your second half will be as fresh as the first!
Ahhh, didn’t realise you could freeze them!! Right, will be making these this weekend.
Christa D. says
Perfect timing, Pam! My twin baby girls are about to turn 1 (!!), and my post-breastfeeding-physique is not quite where I’d like it to be. I was chatting with my husband just the other night about wanting to revisit this particular cookbook. So I’ll consider your posting this to be serendipity! We LOVE so many recipes/formulas from that book, and your attainable, reasonable approach. Thank you!!
Hi, I made these exactly as written, and was surprised (I LOVE dried cranberries and chocolate and oatmeal) that I found them bland. Should I add a bit of salt? A little more sugar or a drizzle of simple powdered sugar and milk? The idea is wonderful, I want to tweek it to my taste. Thanks for your excellent blog!
Pam Anderson says
Hey Kari, I think all of your suggestions are good.These bars are healthy. Any thing you do to jazz them up will likely add calories, but that’s what recipes are–starting points for creating your own dish.