Hearty oatmeal combined with cherries and almond to make a portable bar for breakfast, snacks or dessert. ~ by Serena Ball, MS, RD
Over the summer, my little girls and I built several fairy houses.
We made some out of shoe boxes using cotton balls for fairy pillows and sardine cans for beds. Other fairy houses were more natural tree bark beds and leaf blankets. Every morning we’d check to see if we caught any fairies – or if the leaf blankets or cotton ball pillows had moved…just a bit…signaling a fairy had slept there that night. We’re certain several fairies found our fairy houses quite comfy.
But I never caught a Dishes Fairy – her special talent: Doing my dishes while I slept.
See, that’s the thing about cooking at home a lot. Even though I really enjoy cooking, I really, really don’t like doing dishes or cleaning up the kitchen…night after night after night.
But, then again, if I weren’t willing to clean up a little mess, I would never have seen the sheer delight on my kids’ faces the first time I made these snacking bars – or the surprise on my friend’s face when I made it into a cake for her birthday – or imagined the happiness of my girls when they opened their lunchbox to find the frosted bars inside.
Now these snacking bars (or cake, which I call it too!) are perfect because they are totally versatile:
- Breakfast Bonus: Yes, cake for breakfast! The ingredients: Oatmeal, yogurt, fruit and eggs are actually the same as those in my 5-Minute Breakfast Custard – they’re just in a different order in this recipe!
- Filling After-School Snack: Whole grain oats + protein-rich dairy = Lots of energy for homework
- A Sweet (Healthy) Treat for Dessert: Did someone say frosting with sprinkles and a cherry garnish?!
And for lots more healthy inspiration for Bars & Bites for the lunch box and beyond, check out all the Recipe ReDux recipes for this month’s theme of “Bars & Bites for Brown Bags.”
And just imagine the look on your kids’ face when they find one of these treats in their brown bag – or Tinkerbell lunchbox.
Probably how I will look if I ever do catch that Dishes Fairy.Print
Cherry Oatmeal Bars with Yogurt Frosting
Hearty oatmeal combined with cherries and almond to make a portable bar for breakfast, snacks or dessert.
- Yield: About 16 bars 1x
- 1 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt (can use Greek, but I like regular better – it makes for a fluffier frosting)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sprinkles, cherries – optional for garnish
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked), blended in blender to consistency of flour
- 1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- One 6-ounce container cherry low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 3 tablespoon softened butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup pitted and halved sweet or sour cherries (fresh or frozen, partially thawed if frozen)
- Begin frosting about 2 hours before serving cake: Place two paper coffee filter inside a medium-sized colander; place the colander over a bowl. Spread yogurt evenly over filter; cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. To make frosting, pour off drained whey liquid. Scrape the yogurt from coffee filter and place in a clean bowl; add sugar and extracts. Mix well; refrigerate.
- To make cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, egg whites, butter, extracts; beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer. Add to flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until mixture is moistened. (Do not overmix.) Gently fold in cherries.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool completely. Frost with yogurt frosting; garnish if desired.
What treats do you add to your kids’ lunchboxes? Or your own?