Berry Bliss Oat Squares

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My doctor’s appointment went well yesterday. After doing a physical exam (twisting and bending my back all around and also checking the back bones), the doc thinks that my bones and spinal discs are fine, but it is probably an aggravated sciatic nerve (given the location of the pain). Apparently this is fairly common and will just heal with time. While she can’t be 100% sure without an X-ray, she doesn’t like to do X-rays unless absolutely necessary and given that I am not in a ton of pain, she isn’t overly concerned. Apparently, sciatic nerves can be stubborn healers so if it doesn’t heal within another week or so, I’m going to look into seeing a physical therapist or chiropractor.

She gave me the go ahead for low impact exercise and I can start running when the pain is fully gone. It could be fine in 1 week, it could be 4 weeks, we really don’t know. I drove straight from my appointment to the gym and cranked out a refreshing 30 minutes on the elliptical. Love the elliptical! I left with happy sweat. Nothing like an injury to make you thankful for exercise again!

Breakfast was bright and cheery just like my mood…

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I had some Vegan Overnight Oats in the fridge and instead of eating them straight from the bowl or in a parfait, I made a modified version of Kath’s Dough Boy smoothie. You simply add overnight oats (vegan or otherwise) into your smoothie to create a thicker and more doughy smoothie. It sounded like fun to me!

Look what finally arrived in the mail on Monday- The long awaited Raw Buckwheat groats. I have been dying to try these since seeing them all over Ashley’s blog.

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Many people believe that Buckwheat is a cereal grain, but it is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel making them an option for people sensitive to wheat. The best part is you can eat them RAW without cooking them. I saw Ashley eat them raw on her blog and I kept thinking, ‘Isn’t she going to crack her tooth on one of those things!?’, but they really are softer than they look. Promise!

They have perfect amount of crunch to sprinkle on oatmeal, VOO parfaits, salads, Banana soft serve, etc. The flavour is also much, much better than the toasted buckwheat (kasha) that I tried a few weeks back.

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If you are in Canada, check out this amazing E-store called Upaya Naturals. It’s a vegetarian and vegan’s paradise, especially if you live in a small town like me and cannot find specialty products.

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I topped the smoothie with buckwheat, 1/2 berry oat bar (below), 1 kiwi, and some Dark Chocolate Almond Butter. I did miss the chewiness of the vegan overnight oats, so next time I’m going to blend 2/3 of the VOO and then stir in the rest to get the best of both worlds.

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Good to the last spoonful.

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Now about those Berry oat squares!

I have been ogling this recipe on Susan’s blog for a long time now and I finally remembered to make them. They have no refined flour, no white sugar, no added fat, no soy, and can be made gluten-free too. I enjoy them with breakfast crumbled over oats, as an afternoon snack, or a light treat after dinner. So versatile!

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The wholesome flavours of the oats, maple, and berries really shine through and aren’t hidden by too much sweetener. They are rustic, yet elegant and simple. I like that. Unfortunately, so does Eric.

And we’re running out!

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You are probably going to ask me if you can use frozen berries instead of fresh. I’m not sure to be honest. The original recipe didn’t mention anything about using frozen berries. My guess is that frozen berries would produce more water when cooking, so you would probably have to add more cornstarch to thicken it. In my experience, frozen berries tend to be less sweet than fresh, so you might want to add more sweetener too.

The main point is to make sure the berry topping tastes good to YOU before spreading it on top! If it doesn’t taste good, add a bit more sweetener and you will be fine.

It should have a thick jelly-like consistency:

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The whole process was very easy!

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I really wasn’t expecting much from these squares because they just seemed too good to be true…but I was really blown away!

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They remind me a lot of these squares I have made in the past:

Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares                  Buttery Apple Streusel Oat Squares

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The only thing I might change next time is trying to replace the cornstarch with chia seeds. For some reason cornstarch doesn’t seem to agree with my stomach too much. I wonder if chia seeds could act in the same thickening manner? It might be worth a shot.

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I am really excited to let you know that I received this awesome award from Best Health Magazine in the Eat Well category!

winner ew   Berry Bliss Oat Squares

I can’t thank you enough for your support and votes over the past month! Be sure to check out all of the fabulous contestants and winners here.

Enjoy your last day of March wlEmoticon sun4   Berry Bliss Oat Squares (PS- We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning! Guess it was an April Fool’s joke after all…)

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{ 150 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer @ keepitsimplefoods.com March 31, 2011

Wow! These looks so bright and cheery! Perfect for breakfast or a snack! These would also be killer with cranberries or tart cherries.

Congrats on your win! You deserve it! :)

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Lauren March 31, 2011

Congrats on the award!!! You deserve it! Also those bars look amazing and I love that it’s almost entirely regular pantry ingredients. Putting it on my to-make-list!

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Presley March 31, 2011

Lovin the bright colors this morning! Glad to hear that you got some pretty good news from the doctor :)

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Katty Lea March 31, 2011

Ohhhh this post is a sweet reminder that summertime is just around the corner :)

Congrats on the win! Your recipes are always inspiring.

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 31, 2011

Oooh, these look so good!! I love the combo of berries and oats!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

thanks guys!

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Felicia (a taste of health with balance) March 31, 2011

ive been making these bars ever since she posted them, and they are my top favorite of all time. so easy and healthy, and extremely delicious!

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Holly @ The Runny Egg March 31, 2011

Congrats on the blog award!

Your breakfast looks delicious and so do those bars! They totally reminded me of those other oat crumble bars you have made in the past. They are so bright and springy!

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Alisha March 31, 2011

Or Arrowroot – apparently it can be used as a thickener in substitution to cornstarch – says Alicia Silverstone :P I haven’t tried it yet though.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

good idea, I have arrowroot too!

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RhodeyGirl March 31, 2011

This looks INSANE. Yummmmmmmmmm

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Shanna, Like Banana March 31, 2011

What is it about berries and oats that taste so darn good together?

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Jes March 31, 2011

What a wonderful idea for the smoothie from the overnight oats! I’ve been rocking out the overnight oats for several weeks now since I saw them on your blog (and LOVE them). I’ll have to try this and the berry bars out.

Congrats on the award! Well deserved :)
Jes

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Sharon March 31, 2011

My mom eats buckwheat groats everyday for breakfast. I’m not sure what all she puts in them… water, egg, sometimes tops them with flax seeds/chia seeds. She thinks they taste like a warm pretzel. I don’t know how I feel about that description but I’ve tasted them a few times and they’re pretty good. I wouldn’t add the egg of course. I really have a hard time eating anything other than oatmeal for breakfast though. Food rut or food love?

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Kath March 31, 2011

Forget the SIAB, those berry bars look amazing!! On my summer list :)

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CathyK March 31, 2011

so glad to hear you did not need an xray (i like your doc’s philosophy about that!) and could elliptical! that is progress.
i’ve had sciatic nerve problems (from running!) and DO suggest massage or a visit to a chiropractor – mis-alignment is often an issue with sciatic troubles. and true, too, is that the healing time is so variable! i hope you’re 100% asap!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

Thanks! I will look into that :)

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe March 31, 2011

Yum, berry season is on its way! Can’t wait until berries hit their peak of ripeness so I can make delicious things like this!

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Peggy @ freshnutrition.net March 31, 2011

Fantastic, I think my son will be over the moon about those berry squares!

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Alicia March 31, 2011

Hey Angela! Sorry to hear you are having sciatic nerve problems. I think you are totally due for a fabulous massage girl! I am a LMT and sciatic nerve issues really settle down with a few good massages! Treate yourself!! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

i love that idea!

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Allysia March 31, 2011

I love Upaya! That’s where I bought my juicer. I’m from Saskatchewan, which might as well be in the middle of nowhere when it comes to buying fun food stuff. Also, I loved the color of your breakfast! It made me happy just looking at it. :) And congrats job on the award!!

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Lora March 31, 2011

Cannot wait to make these! If I use oat flour instead of processing the oats, how much do you think I should use? Since I have it on hand, it just seems like a way to make these bars even easier!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

Good idea. Hmm I just realized I should have measured the amount of oat flour it made from 1.5 cups! I would guess 3/4 cup?? Just an estimate though

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Jenn from Much to My Delight March 31, 2011

Even though it doesn’t look like it out my window, it feels like spring when I look at your blog and for that I thank you! Your pastel plates and fresh berries just bounce off the screen.

I’ve been reading so much about overnight oats and have yet to try them. Do you heat them up, or eat them cold? I’m not sure if I’d enjoy the texture of cold oatmeal, but maybe I should try it before making that call.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

They are eaten cold. :) It took me a couple tried to get used to the texture but now I love them!

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Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 31, 2011

Glad to hear you’re ok and that you were able to get your elliptical on ;) Those bars looks heavenly — I love the vibrance of the berries and the texture of the oats!

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Jess@atasteofconfidence March 31, 2011

Congratulations on the Eat Well award!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 31, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS ANGE!!!!! That’s fabulous news about the award! You totally deserve it. All of your photos look great this morning. If I were “testing out” that berry topping, I’m not sure there’d be enough left to cover the squares!

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shana @100lbsandcounting March 31, 2011

Congrats Angela! I voted for you =)

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jodie March 31, 2011

Have you ever tried acupuncture and cupping? I have had great success with Sciatic pain. I am sure there are some great acupuncturists in your area!
By the way I am making your beet carrot salad right now! Yum!

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Moni'sMeals March 31, 2011

Congrats! We knew you would win though…”winning, DUH!” I had to say it. :)

What a lovely day of delicious food you have! Those bars…good lord.

Glad you had a good report from the Doctor.

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Erin March 31, 2011

Hi Angela – I tried hot yoga the other day and the instructor had us hold pigeon position for a looooong time – apparantly it is supposed to help release a small gluteal muscle that helps with sciatic nerve pain. Not sure if you have already tried this but thought I would mention it :) Thanks for the great recipes, glad to hear your spine is good ;)
erin

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Julie @ Shining From Within March 31, 2011

boooya for exercise ! I have been looking all over the place for buckwheat… must prowl the internet I guess ;). Or stalk the Wegman’s shelves. Either way, I have to get my grubby paws on some!
Those bars look soo good. I love the color!

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Rachel @ The Avid Appetite March 31, 2011

I love adding oats to a smoothie! So delicious. I haven’t tried it the overnight oats way, but I will now!

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Heather (heathers dish) March 31, 2011

Oh my word please overnight these to me :)

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Faith @ lovelyascharged March 31, 2011

Ah I made SO many oat squares at Thanksgiving (cranberry white chocolate crumb bars to be exact) that this is the first time the idea even appeals to me again! A berry version sounds amazing!

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Sara March 31, 2011

Hey Angela!

I’ve been cooking with the buckwheat groats for a few weeks now (funny how timing works out) and discovered that they make absolutely delicious, easy, and (the best part) STORABLE porridge! I soak the buckwheats in water overnight- this releases a lot of the nutty flavour, and when you rinse them, they are clean and delicious. They’re good just like this, OR, put them in a pot, add water at approximately a 2:1 ratio, bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer. If you’ve soaked them first they’ll only take 15 or so minutes to cook. Into my buckwheat porridge, I usually add grannysmith apple, some vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea salt (just a pinch) and almonds. I usually make a BIG pot on Sunday nights, and then separate them into individual servings for the week. In the morning I plop a serving in a small pot, add a big glug of almond milk, some fresh berries, cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg. It will re-constitute into a BEAUTIFUL texture, and the taste is delicious. They have a nutty, rich flavour profile, and keep you full for HOURS. Top with fruit of choice. I bet they’d be great cooked into a porridge casserole, too.

Try it out, I think you’ll like it.

Sending positive energy from my heart to your back,

Sara

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 31, 2011

Oh wow this sounds delish! Thanks for sharing. I will certainly try this out. Mmmmm. :)
Thanks for your healing vibes!

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Lesley Lifting Life March 31, 2011

That is a very cheerful breakfast, I love it!! :)

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner March 31, 2011

I love the elliptical, too. I definitely appreciate/enjoy exercise much more after I can’t do it for some reason. Those bars look amazing–yet another recipe of yours to bookmark in case of potluck!

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Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa March 31, 2011

Colorful bowl of oats! I love using chia seeds to thicken things up as opposed to corn starch.

Congrats on the award!

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Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) March 31, 2011

Ohmy those bars look AMAZING!! I have been DYING to make your strawberry oat squares for AGES, but now I have a dilemma: make those, or make THESE?! I think both ;)

And CONGRATS on the award!! You deserve it SO much!! :D

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Eliza March 31, 2011

I’ve already printed out this recipe and I’m so excited to try it tonight! I’m really looking forward to having one of these after I finish off your Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Warm Salad for dinner! Yum!

And congrats on your award! You completely deserve it! You and chia seeds have changed my life!!

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope March 31, 2011

I love all the berry-goodness in this post! The smoothie has such pretty colors, that alone makes me want to try it. :)

HUGE congrats on the award Angela! You deserve it with all the time, hard work, and effort you put into your food/blog/healthy lifestyle. It’s always nice to be rewarded for the work we do!

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Melissa March 31, 2011

I love the colour and freshness you captured in your pictures with this post. Beautiful.

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