Fruit and nut oatmeal bars

I made these today and I am almost certain that I’ll want them again, so I’m writing up my notes before I forget what I did.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Half cup sugar
  • Three fourths cup of old-fashion oatmeal (retain for later)
  • Half cup of honey (or skip the sugar and use a full cup of honey)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Good dash or two of cinnamon
  • One and a half cups of cooked steel cut or pinhead oatmeal
  • Half cup chopped walnuts (or preferred nuts)
  • Half cup raisins (or other dry fruit)
  • Half cup chopped prunes (optional)

Instructions

Cook the steel cut oats as per the instructions. While the oats are simmering, you can work on the rest of the recipe. I found that I had to let the oats sit a bit to absorb excess water; you may want to try reducing the amount of water a bit from what the instructions say. I’m very much a newbie in the kitchen, so if you’re a quick worker, you may want to start the oats a bit earlier so that they’re ready when you need them.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

Measure a half cup each of nuts and raisins; chop prunes to make a half cup. Set aside for a moment.

In a larger bowl, mix the eggs, oil, cooked oatmeal, honey, and vanilla. Set aside.

Gradually add the dry mixed ingredients to the larger bowl, stirring well to blend them with the wet ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once your batter is smooth and well mixed, fold in the fruit and nut mixture.

Add small amounts of the dry old-fashioned oats to the mix until it reaches a firmer consistency; it will flow all over the cookie sheet otherwise.

Prepare your cookie sheet as you normally would (we use parchment paper, which makes this super easy), if you’re planning to turn any of the batter into cookies. I made a dozen medium cookies and still had plenty of batter for the bars I was aiming for.

Use a tablespoon or medium cookie scoop to portion out the batter onto a cookie sheet (9-12 cookies per sheet). Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the cookies start to firm up and begin to brown.

While the cookies are in the oven, pour the rest of the batter into a 9-inch round or square baking pan. When the cookies are done, take them out and put the baking pan into the oven. Cook the bars for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center dry.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store them in an airtight container, or freeze for later.

When the bars are cooked, cool the entire cake for at least 20 minutes before cutting into bars. Wrap the bars individually for ease of taking for your lunch or breakfast.

Enjoy!

NOTE: I adapted this recipe from one on “Real Food Real Deals:” https://realfoodrealdeals.com/steel-cut-oats-cookies/

What is the hardest truth you had to accept?

That I wasn’t special. I was brought up by a mom who (apparently) thought that teaching her kids that they were special would make them feel better. I don’t know what effect it had on my siblings, but I spent a lot of time expecting people to like me for my imagined special qualities.

My relationships (and my life) improved a lot once I realized that it’s how you treat others that makes you worth knowing, not your specialness.

Gated communities of the mind

Many years ago, I was walking through New London, Conn. late on a summer day and spotted a dog trotting along the sidewalk, obviously on some doggish errand, and paying no attention to anyone around. I remember him turning a corner very decisively & vanishing from sight.

The scene struck me as odd, but it took me a second to realize that I never thought of dogs as having self-motivation. I’d lived with dogs my whole life, but they were usually asleep or reacting to some human; going for a walk in the woods with me, eating their supper, chasing a car, or something similar.

I was recently thinking about my reaction to the dog, and what it said about my human chauvinism. I was 19 and had just realized that the world doesn’t revolve around humans. Thinking about that realization lead me to intuit that a lot of people probably see other humans through a similar filter. For instance, there are doubtlessly guys to whom it never occurs that women have any life outside of reacting to guys. (See: ‘Bechdel Test’ for more on this idea.)

It’s an interesting exercise to consider members of a range of other chauvinistic groups where the person barely ascribes personhood to people outside their group.

I’ve no idea if it’s possible to trigger a revelation in those people like mine on that long-ago summer day… but without that breakthrough of seeing others as free & self-motivated humans, not dependent on, nor even concerned with, the viewer, I’m not sure any real progress is possible for those shut in the gated communities of their minds.