Is it just me or is anybody else struggling to get back into a routine after the summer?
My daughter started Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and while I had high hopes that life would finally get just a little bit easier, everything seems even more hectic and complicated. I’m sure a lot of parents can relate when I say that all I seem to be doing these days is drive back and forth to different schools on different schedules. While other mamas tried to warn me about after-school activities, early release days, PTO meetings and weekly homework packets, I had no idea just how abruptly our well-oiled preschool machine from last year would come to a halt. My son’s nap schedule (that literally took years to perfect!) seems shot to heck and between afternoon play dates and endless weekend birthday party fun, everybody in our house – including myself – has been a little tired and cranky.
While I am working really hard on letting some things go altogether (first world problems, right?) I have been trying to streamline some others in order to help with better time management such as planning and prepping meals in advance. In my attempt to get back on track, I have come up with this simple recipe for no-bake oatmeal raisin cookie bars that can easily be made within minutes on the weekend to last you through the week. These bars are versatile and nutritious, making for a satisfying snack that keeps your kids’ tummies full until lunch or your body fueled post workout. They even taste great with your afternoon cup(s) of coffee. (Hey, it’s OK! Let’s hope this, too, is just a phase that only temporarily tests our patience and challenges our sanity.)
- 1 cup almond butter (no sugar or salt added)
- 1/2 cup raw organic honey
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 apple, shredded
- Line a medium-size baking dish with parchment paper and place the oats in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the almond butter, honey and coconut oil and melt on low heat stirring frequently. Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Pour the almond butter mixture over the oats, add in the apple and raisins and throughly combine until everything is mixed and the oats are evenly coated.
- Transfer the oat mixture into the baking dish and press down firmly.
- Refrigerate for about 4 hours and when the mixture has set, lift it out of the dish. Cut into bars and keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days until ready to serve.
- Eat your oats, ladies! As I have mentioned before, they contain high quantities of dietary fiber – soluble and insoluble. The insoluble fiber in oats is important for digestive system health. The soluble fiber is known to lower bad cholesterol and may help fight the risk of heart disease. And please, none of those instant oatmeal packets loaded with sugar and additives. Yikes!
- I have had many conversations with other mamas recently about what snacks we should pack for our kiddos to eat in school. To accommodate the ever growing amount of students with food allergies these days, most schools are peanut or nut free zones altogether. In order to suit your needs when making these bars, you can pretty much use any nut butter you have on hand. You can also substitute with sunflower seed butter as a nut free alternative.
- Feel free to change the add-ins to anything you like and have available as well – chocolate chips, dried apples or cherries, chia seeds, flaxseed, coconut flakes, pepitas, sesame seeds, cocoa nibs, goji berries – you name it!
- If you prefer less sweetness, reduce the honey to 1/4 cup and use a little more of the apple to add some moisture back in.
I absolutely love these stainless steel ECOLunchboxes! Read my previous review HERE.