Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares with Homemade Jam

208 comments

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I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator in most areas of my life, with the exception of a few things such as business taxes, receipt entering, and organizing my Recipes page. I usually accomplish my tasks before they are ‘due’ without feeling in a panic and I also like to arrive early for meetings, appointments, and dates. Yesterday, my Project Food Blog entry was almost finished by mid-afternoon, save for a few last minute edits. It wasn’t due until 6pm, so I had time on my side. I started working on other things and all of a sudden it was 5:40pm. Eric said, worried, ‘Aren’t you going to upload your post?’

I figured I still had quite a bit of time left so I kept working on things. At 5:45pm and I hit publish, thinking nothing of it.

And that is when I realized that our internet connection was dead.

Stay calm.

Luckily, after a few minutes the internet started to work again! I thought all was fine and dandy and I hit publish again. Painful minute after painful minute passed and it still had not uploaded. We have a very slow internet connection and I was convinced that Live Writer was going to time out on me. Finally, it posted at 5:58pm and I submitted the post in my Foodbuzz profile. I was just under the wire by mere seconds.

Moral of the story: Never put your faith in technology. It will go wonky at the last second and your blood pressure will go through the roof.

If this stress-inducing episode occurs, you can comfort yourself by making oat squares, with a healthy twist. I had strawberries leftover from the dessert pizza I made on the weekend, but you could also use pre-made jam too.

Or just eat Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache and call it a day. Both methods are completely acceptable.

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Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares with Homemade Jam

Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved strawberry oat bars and I would often have Strawberry nutrigrain bars in my lunches. While these squares aren’t a nutri-grain bar, the taste is similar. I have made this popular square much healthier, cutting the sugar and butter by half, and of course, it is vegan too. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. You won’t be able to stop at just one. Or three!

print this recipe!

Adapted from Food.com.

Ingredients:

For Oat Base:

  • 1.5 cups regular oats
  • 1 cup whole-grain Kamut flour (or mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds+ 4 tbsp warm water, mixed)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (for topping only)

 

For Strawberry chia seed Jam:

Ingredients:

  • 2 & 1/4 cups chopped strawberries, finely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces OR approx 1 cup pre-made jam
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar, to taste (liquid or dry sweeteners will work)
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a square pan (I used a 9×9) with parchment paper and oil the sides of the pan and base.

For the jam: In a medium sized pot, add the chopped strawberries and sugar. Heat over medium until the strawberries begin to sweat and it gets a bit watery. Once it cooks down a bit, add in the chia seeds, and stir well. Bring to a low boil and then simmer over low to medium heat for at least 10-15 minutes. Once it has thickened a bit, remove from heat and cool for 15 mins (you can pop it in the fridge or freezer to cool quicker). I like to add the mixture to a mini food processor and process it until mostly smooth.

In a small bowl, mix the chia or flax egg and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the oat base dry ingredients: oats, flour, Sucanat/brown sugar, baking soda, salt. In a small bowl, mix the melted earth balance, maple syrup, almond milk, and chia egg. Stir well. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well, using hands if necessary. Set aside 1/2 cup of the dough for the topping. Pour the oat mixture onto the square pan and press down with fingers. Use a pastry roller to smooth out if desired. Pour on strawberry mixture and smooth out. Now sprinkle on the reserved 1/2 cup oat mixture and sprinkle on. Now sprinkle on 1 tbsp of sesame seeds or coconut. Bake at 350F for approximately 30 minutes. Allow to fully cool for at least 30-40 minutes before gently removing from pan. Slice and then store in a container in the fridge to keep firm.

In my first attempt at making the strawberry ‘jam’ I added in a tablespoon of cornstarch after about 10 minutes of cooking. I was left with clumpy white bits of cornstarch throughout. Flop #1. I think I should have thinned it out with a bit of water first.

Second batch:

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For the second batch of jam, I thickened it up with chia seeds! Arrowroot powder might work well too.

Spread your delicious crumbly mixture into the pan:

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Roll it out if you are obsessed with your Dollarstore pastry roller like I am.

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Mmmm. Smooth and lovely.

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Spread on your cooled jam:

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crumble on the oat mixture that you set aside…

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Sprinkle on sesame seeds or coconut to make it really pop.

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Bake for about 30 minutes at 350F.

That’s what I’m talking about.

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Slice into 16 squares.

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or you can make bars and wrap them up for lunch!

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You will not be able to eat just one. Three if you are lucky. I had to shove these into the freezer asap. ;)

They are delicious.

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I’m thinking you could have a lot of fun with this recipe. More fun than should be legal perhaps. You could try making blueberry, raspberry, or even peach jam! I am getting excited just thinking about the possibilities…

Update: A comment below suggested making these with pumpkin butter! That would be wickedly delicious and seasonally appropriate to boot.

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{ 208 comments… read them below or add one }

Alayna @ Thyme Bombe October 18, 2010

Those look insane! I think I’ll try making them with apples.

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Tiffany @ Eat, Run, Write, Love October 18, 2010

Oh my! Those look great!
Good advice about not putting too much faith in technology too! :)

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Hope October 18, 2010

Holy moly that sounds like a close call! Glad you made the deadline!!

These look so good! mmmm I bet they would be amazing with blueberry jam! Love the colour of them!

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Annie@stronghealthyfit October 18, 2010

Those look delicious! How do you shop for your baking ingredients/ things like oats, nuts, etc? Do you buy in bulk ?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

with the bakery I purchase everything from a wholesaler so I can get stuff really cheap. I purchase by the 50 pound bag for nuts, grains, etc! Bulk all the way.
before the bakery I would buy a lot online in bulk and at bulk food stores.

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claire October 18, 2010

This makes me want a pastry roller, just so I can make these! Yum, strawberry jam is my favorite!

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stacey-healthylife October 18, 2010

Those look good. I love the crust.

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carol October 18, 2010

These look gorgeous and I’m sure they taste amazing too!!!

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Cynthia October 18, 2010

I would not have handled that situation as calmly. I probably would have been using some very colorful language. :)

Those bars look amazing. I have got to try them!

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Laura October 18, 2010

These look wonderful! I like the idea of the pumpkin ones too…

On a completely unrelated subject, what’s your favorite frozen banana soft serve recipe? I’ve been curious…

My husband will love your pizza too. He’s not vegan at all, but rather than lactose intolerant, I think he’s completely lactose revoltant! And, I have a freezer full of pesto from the basil he grew this summer.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

Fav BSS recipe…hrmm. Like picking between fav VOO recipes!

I would have to say either classic 1 tbsp peanut butter BSS with frozen cherries

OR

carob peanut butter (1-2 tbsp carob powder + 1 tbsp PB)

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Allie October 18, 2010

I can’t keep up with all the delicious recipes! I want to make them all :-). Keep em coming, I love attempting your recipes for my blog lol ;-)

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rebecca lustig October 18, 2010

you blow me away with your recipes. you are just a creative genius. that pizza? phenomenal!

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Andrea October 18, 2010

I’ve said it before, but you are a kitchen genius! Beautiful.

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 18, 2010

OH MY – how delightful! These are definitely going on my ‘to make’ list!!!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 18, 2010

Oooh, I was wincing when I was reading that story about yoru posting your entry for the contest! I learned from experience (several experiences, actually) that when you actually need technology to comply it never, ever will. I’m glad you were able to make it work, though!!

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Gina October 18, 2010

Your blog makes me so happy. You are so creative and think of wonderful recipes. I can’t wait to go home to my nice, big kitchen (I currently live in a dorm) and try some of these out.

You’ve come such a long way, you should be so very proud of yourself :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

Thank you :)

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Lauren October 18, 2010

MMMM, these look delicious!!! :) I want ;)

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Laura October 18, 2010

This looks wonderful!

Unrelated question- I’m a new runner (just signed up for my first 5K!) and am looking into the various Garmin products to better time my runs. Is there a particular model that you recommend? (I recall you using a Garmin – but if not, I’m open to any suggestions!)

Thank you for all the inspiration…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I use the Garmin 305 and I love, love, love it. I got it at Costco so it was cheaper than in other stores and online.

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Errign October 19, 2010

I saw Garmins on Amazon for 144 USD$ – is this a good price?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2010

I think mine was $165 canadian so that seems about right

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 18, 2010

“I wouldn’t call myself a procrastinator in most areas of my life, with the exception of a few things such as business taxes, receipt entering, and organizing my Recipes page.”–

You pay those? Business taxes? KIDDING…hah!
Nothing quite as bad as paying taxes, organizing recipes pages, going to the dentist, moving (packing or home renovation projects. And I think you have all of the above in recent memory.

Seriously…the recipe looks delish. The dollarstore roller, omg I covet that, badly.

The faith in technology…I cannot tell you how many times I have had something truly time critical to do..and that’s the moment my tech fails, my computer freezes, it’s like murhpy’s law. Glad you got it in…under the wire. I am an anal to a fault & i woulda had a heart attack!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

lol I think I am going to submit sunday at 5am just to be sure!

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Anne October 18, 2010

I know you were going for healthy, but if you’re making jam that’s not enough sugar to get it to jell up. If you’re not using pectin you need somewhere between 1:1 fruit and sugar (I usually go by weight). You can cut that to 3/4 sugar to one part jam but anything less and you likely need to add pectin. Or you can mix fruits with higher pectin to get it to jell. Sour apples are a good choice to add (a little bulk, a lot of pectin). Or pick a berry with higher pectin (blackberries are a good one). Strawberries, even with full sugar, is a tough one.

Oh, and I know that’s not why all people make low-sugar and/or sugar-free jam… but full fruit spreads (made with no sugar) often have more calories than jam itself. I prefer locally grown (backyard usually) fruit with sugar. Yes, I made way too much this summer, but people seem to enjoy them as gifts.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I wasn’t going for traditional jam in the case of these squares, so I found that what I made was a great consistency for the bar in this square. Had I been making it for another purpose, such as a spread on toast, I would have used a different, more traditional recipe. :)

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Nicole (Picky Nicky) October 18, 2010

Oohh that does look good! I think the sesame seeds look really cute on top

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Wei-Wei October 18, 2010

Wow, that was close… I would have died if you didn’t submit it, because you’re such an excellent contestant! Anyway, these bars look amazing. Bars + jam = loove. I wonder if you could replace some of the butter in the base with peanut butter? PB/J :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

mmm great idea! Wow that would be amazing actually PB + jam!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 18, 2010

I loved Nutri-grain bars when I was younger. Actually, I still do! :D

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Lisa October 18, 2010

Another masterpeice. Seriously, come out with a cookbook. I would buy it the moment it hit the shelves!

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Moni'sMeals October 18, 2010

You go Angela! WOWOWOW! I have a very similar recipe to this, but NO WHERE close to the pics my lady!
Maybe some non-dairy whipped cream and non-dairy vanilla bean ice cream to go with and done and done.

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Moni'sMeals October 18, 2010

Also, glad you made the cut with the Food Blog #5, close call.
I am glad you showed us that roller too, I need one of those. hehe.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

yes I would agree about the non dairy ice cream.

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Dawn October 18, 2010

Oh, those pictures looked so real on my computer, I swear I could smell them! They look so tasty!!
Also, just had to say thanks again for blogging about your half marathon last year. That’s part of the reason I decided to do my first one – which was yesterday! I blogged all about how it went for me, and hopefully, like you, I will inspire someone else to give it a try.
You rock!!
Dawn :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

Congrats on your first half marathon! :) How did it feel?

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Dawn October 18, 2010

Thanks! It felt amazing, I accomplished something that a year ago, I never ever dreamed of! It was a perfect day. :) Can’t wait for the next one!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

That is so exciting. :) What a huge accomplishment!
I felt like I was going to die in parts of my half marys..hehe…in a good way though!

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Katy @ a shot of life October 18, 2010

Wow those look awesome! Btw I made a quickie version of your pizza tonight and it ROCKED! The boys had their own pizza for during NFL but they were absolutely drooling over the one I made :) You have my vote!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

wow that is awesome!

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Lauren October 18, 2010

There is no way I would ever consider making my own jam for this recipe. You are such a domestic goddess! :)

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Errign October 18, 2010

Could I substitute spelt flour in these, do you think? Also, what would be the portions for a flax egg?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I’m sure spelt could work. The rule of thumb for subbing in spelt is reduce the amount of water by 25%. Not sure how crucial this would be in this recipe since it only calls for 2 tbsp almond milk anyways. Im sure it would be fine!

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Errign October 24, 2010

I just made these – with spelt flour and a flax egg. I added chopped hazelnuts & subbed in raspberry pomegranate preserves – they’re not as pretty as yours but there’s a photo on my latest post. Thanks for the recipe – they taste amazing.

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Bridget October 18, 2010

That is some of the brightest jam I’ve seen! Such a work of art :)

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Jennifer October 18, 2010

Did you use ground chia or whole chia seeds in the jam?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

whole chia seeds :)

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Jessica October 18, 2010

I have a batch in the oven right now…I halved the recipe in case of disaster. I am a vegan baking virgin. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I hope you like them!

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Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun October 18, 2010

I hate when my computer fails on me. It happened TWICE last week: once with school work and once with a blog post. I just need to get into the habit of pressing “SAVE” every 30 seconds. ;-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I compulsively hit save when I type of blog posts after losing a few before

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chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 18, 2010

I love the idea of thickening upthe jam with chia seeds! Genius!

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Cara Craves... October 18, 2010

That’s one beautifully delicious idea!

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Helen October 18, 2010

Those look absolutely delish! I would have to have someone by me to take them out of the house, lol! I love oat bars…must put these on my list!

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Christina October 18, 2010

Those look absolutely amazing! I’d love to try to make them but I have a question. How would you suggest wrapping them up for lunches without having all the jam stick to saran wrap?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

I would use parchment on the interior followed by saran or tin foil on the exterior :)

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Christina October 19, 2010

Great! I’m going to try them out some time soon! Thanks!

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Rachael October 18, 2010

A belated congrats on rocking Project Food Blog thus far!
I think I’d like to recreate this recipe with my afterschool program kids; the snacks they’re served tend to be chemically-laden variations on Nutrigrain bars, and these would be a fun, hands-on way to get a little more nutrition in them!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2010

Just an FYI- Eric just had one and he said they tasted like nutrigrain bars! Score :)

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing October 18, 2010

HOLY yum Angela!! Now I know why Caitlin said she was craving them now..

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Noelle October 18, 2010

Dang girl! You need to STOP making desserts. LOL
BTW, I made your upside down pear cake today for company and everyone raved. My hubby could not believe it die not have butter! :)

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