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pumpkin oatmeal bars

October 21, 2012

pumpkin oatmeal bars

Pumpkin in sweet goods is a new concept to me. Having grown up only eating pumpkin roasted (always in it’s skin!) with dinner, or tossed through a salad (commonly with chickpeas and balsamic dressing) at a cafe, the concept of pureeing and cooking it in a dessert is still a little strange.

And a little awesome.

I imagine it’s a great way to get more vegetables into children, but living in an isolated town, it’s also a great way to get more vegetables into Jesse and myself when they are looking limp and a week expired at the Northern store scarce. We haven’t had fresh fruit and vegetables in our house for a few days now, and won’t be doing a food order until the month is up. This means getting creative with the long-life things. I found a squash in the back of the cupboard which has already made three meals – squash and black bean burritos (best burritos yet! Watch this space for recipe), Thai green squash & coconut curry, roasted pumpkin squash seeds, and spicy coconut squash soup.

It was probably taking it a little overboard but I couldn’t resist cracking opening a can of squash puree (may as well make the most of the crazy stuff while we are in North America!) and throwing it into a batch of muesli bars, along with some pumpkin pie spices, pecans and dried cranberries for the week’s morning teas.

steel cut oatmeal bars

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

While racing around a grocery store like headless chickens when we were in a nearby ‘city’, we accidentally bought a massive box of steel cut oats. I always thought steel cut oats were the large, flat, old fashioned oats (as opposed to the small flakey ones we have every morning for breakfast) but turns out they are whole groats that require 30 minutes of cooking to be consumed… Unfortunately, we don’t have 30 minutes every morning to prep breakfast.. This overnight method is great. And so are these oatmeal bars.

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
2 Tbsp flax seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp wheat germ (optional, toasting it first brings out great flavor)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In one bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Pour the pumpkiny-applesaucy-mix over the oaty-spice-chocolate mix and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Fold in the chocolate, nuts and dried fruit.

Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set – you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool in pan.

Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in snaplock bags for an energy snack on the go.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2012 10:07 am

    Wonderful – really wonderful :)

  2. October 22, 2012 1:45 pm

    Wow, these sound fantastic – definitely a stick-to-your-ribs kind of snack! Loooooove the photos too – I need me a camera with adjustable focus!!

    • October 22, 2012 2:11 pm

      Korena all cameras have adjustable focus! Mine just happens to not have autofocus (it’s a prime lens). Try holding the shutter halfway while pointing at the point you want in focus, then moving it to the centre and clicking fully. Play around with it – you can get a lot more out of your average camera than you think! These really are stick to your ribs – it’s like having breakfast all over again at morning tea time!

      • October 22, 2012 5:38 pm

        I have a pretty low-tech point and shoot camera and I think all it has is autofocus… but I will play around with that!

  3. October 24, 2012 11:16 am

    These look delicious. Sounds like you have to be really creative when meal planning and ordering food up there.

    • October 24, 2012 3:07 pm

      Oh yes! Creative for sure! I haven’t set foot in a real supermarket in months so it’s all up to my husband when he gets to fly into larger communities/cities. He’s says shopping now is just a free for all – running madly through the store trying to stock up indefinitly in the short time he has. Budget goes out the window… hence why it’s so easy to blow it and go fresh-fruit-and-vege-less at the end of the month! (as we are now…) Hence throwing canned vegetables (or rather fruit if I’m not mistaken) into muesli bars.. Nice of you to stop by – thanks for commenting!

  4. October 24, 2012 2:35 pm

    I’ve just found your blog.. I’m your newest follower:) I haven’t seem steel-cut oats in a bar like this.. that’s so healthy! I do have some pumpkin left-over, I love pumpkin anything!

    • October 24, 2012 3:04 pm

      Hi Barbara! Funnily enough I’ve been sneaking glimpses at your blog too! I’ve started enjoying pumpkin everything now too..

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