I am home. Yay!
And I could not be happier!
Not that I did not like Oregon this year, because I did. The weather was incredible the whole forty-two days my family and I were there. Well, I guess there were two days in the middle with tons and tons of low clouds, fog and pure misery. Technically, I guess forty day were gorgeous out of the forty-two.
Even though it is like me to complain, I can’t. I love the sun and blue skis and that is all I saw. Honestly, I barely saw any clouds. It was awesome.
Although, I was inside half the time cooking, but I would have been doing that anywhere, no matter what the weather was. I am always cooking.
With that said though, I am still so happy to be home.
With all my stuff, my giant kitchen windows and three refrigerators. Yeah, three. Again, it’s awesome.
What? Is three fridges a lot? My family has always had three for as long as I can remember. Big family means lots of food and stocking up on things when they are on sale. It just works, really well.
I almost always have backups for my back ups.
I know, I am so spoiled over here. But I love it.
Oh and um, hello?
The grocery store!!
I have one a mile down the street and another one ten minutes away. Plus, TARGET! It’s been way too long since I stepped foot in Target. I miss Target. It’s time.
Now that I got my excitement out, let’s talk about school.
My least favorite topic on this planet.
Alright, that’s a total exaggeration, but you all know school was not my thing. Which is why I raced through it and graduated early, went to the local college and did what I needed to do and said “See ya”!
I may done with school days, but my younger siblings are still chugging on through. Ahh, well sort of. Red and Kai? They barely go, but hey, there is always little Asher who LOVES school to death and could not be more excited to start going a full day kindergarten this year. How can this be, she is not even five yet?
I am pretty sad she is growing up so darn fast. I wish she could just be my little side kick forever. Soon she’ll probably be too cool for me. And trust me, she already has a lot of attitude. It’s scary.
Anyway, I was thinking these bars would be the perfect thing to pack in lunches or to have as after school snacks.
Growing up I used to love Nutri Grain bars in my lunch or as a snack, which is pretty weird since I am not really a baked fruit girl or a jam/jelly girl for that matter. But for some reason I loved those bars……until I realized they are pretty processed and full of sugar.
Enter the homemade version.
It took me three tries to get the recipe right, but the third one was spot on. Super soft and moist, just like the packaged ones. Except with real strawberries and oatmeal.
The fresh strawberry filling is incredible, not so sweet that is gives you a headache, but sweet enough to make you say, “Mmm”. The dough that you are going to wrap the filling up in is almost like a moist muffin. It is so soft, slightly chewy from the oatmeal, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.
I am telling you, it’s spot on.
My mom, Asher and I have concluded they may not look as good as the real ones, but they taste a million times better.
Oh and Asher wanted me to share with you how she will be packing these up in her Frosty the Snowman lunch box and taking them to school.
She is very excited.
Oh, and so is Frosty, it just snowed up on those mountain tops.
Homemade Strawberry Nutri Grain Bars
Yields: 8 bars
- Strawberry Filling
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed
- 1/4 -1/3 cup sugar (this depends on how sweet you want the filling, I used a 1/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon coconut oil, at room temperature (may sub butter)
- 2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
To make the strawberry filling, in a food processor or blender puree the strawberries until mostly smooth. Leave a few chunks if you wish. Add the strawberry puree, sugar and lemon juice to a medium size pot. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. Whisk the cornstarch with the cold water and then add to the pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer 4-5 minutes until slightly thick, but still jelly like. Remove and set aside to cool and thicken more.
While the filling cools make the dough. In a small bowl mix the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.
Cream the coconut oil, greek yogurt and honey together in the bowl of a stand mixer or other large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until combined. The dough should come together, but be wet.
Line a work surface with wax paper and lightly flour the wax paper. Divide the dough in half, cover one ball and place the other on the wax paper.
Lightly sprinkle the dough ball with flour and then place another sheet of wax paper on top. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Using a pizza wheel, pastry cutter or sharp knife cut out as many 4x4.5 inch squares as possible. I was able to get 2 squares and then re-roll the dough an get 2 more.
Down the center of each square, spoon 1-2 tablespoons of the strawberry filling right down the center, but leaving about 1/4 inch on either end clean. Fold one side up and over the filling and then pinch the dough together at either end. Do the same for the other side. Carefully roll the bar over and place the seam side down on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough and squares.
Once all the dough has been used and you have 8 or so bars on the baking sheet, cover and place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. while the bars freeze.
Once the oven is preheated and the bars have been in the freezer for 15 minutes place the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
Allow to cool 5 minutes and then carefully, transfer the warm bars to a plastic container with a lid or large zip-top bag. If you need to stack the bars, place a piece of parchment between the layers.
Seal the container or bag tightly. This will trap in heat and moisture and slightly steam the bars, ensuring they remain soft. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days or in the fridge for longer.
How is it already back to school time? Where did summer go?!?