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…
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!
A Berry Doughy Smoothie
Adapted Kath’s Dough Boy smoothie.
Vegan Overnight Oats (modified version):
- 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup oats
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (I like to pair almond extract with strawberries, but otherwise I use vanilla and cinnamon)
Directions: Mix together in a bowl and place in fridge overnight or for a couple hours until doughy.
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (or more as needed to thin out)
- Vegan Overnight Oats (from above)
- 1 large frozen banana
- 4-5 frozen strawberries
- 1 tbsp Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter with Hemp, flax, chia (amazing!)
Directions: Blend the above ingredients together and pour smoothie into a bowl. Top with desired ingredients. I added a few tbsp of raw buckwheat, 1/2 berry oat bar, 1 kiwi, and some Dark Chocolate Almond Butter on top.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good to the last spoonful.
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!
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!
Berry Bliss Oat Squares
Vegan, soy-free, refined-sugar free, no added fat, and can be made gluten-free if you use GF oats.
Adapted from Susan.
Yield: 12 squares
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
- 1 ripe banana, chopped
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp warm water
- 3 cups regular oatmeal, divided
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp (6oz) unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a 8inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch with warm water to form a paste. Make sure all clumps are gone. Set aside.
2. Berry Filling: In a small saucepan, combine the berries, banana, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and the pre-mixed cornstarch. Whisk until all clumps are gone and set aside.
3. Base: Place 1.5 cups of oats into a food processor and process until a flour/fine powder forms. Add this processed flour, remaining 1.5 cup of oats, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Stir. Now add in the wet ingredients (applesauce, maple syrup, water, vanilla) and mix well. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan and push down firmly with fingers to smooth out. Grab the prepared berry filling and spread over the top of the oat base until smooth. Now crumble the remaining oat base mixture on top.
4. Bake for 30 mins. at 375F or until the top is slightly golden and firm. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into squares.
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:
The whole process was very easy!
I really wasn’t expecting much from these squares because they just seemed too good to be true…but I was really blown away!
They remind me a lot of these squares I have made in the past:
Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares Buttery Apple Streusel Oat Squares
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.
I am really excited to let you know that I received this awesome award from Best Health Magazine in the Eat Well category!
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 (PS- We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning! Guess it was an April Fool’s joke after all…)
Love those berry bliss bars! They look so delicious and perfect for summer….
Love those berry bliss bars! They look so delicious and perfect for summer….
I’m going to make these bars sometime soon! BIG congrats on the Best Health Award! Very well deserved!
Congrats on the Health Blog Award! You definitely deserve it!
Congrats on the award-it is well deserved!! :)
You had me at “doughy.” Dough is always a welcome breakfast. :)
Congrats to you!!!
Congrats on the Best Health Blog Award!
Those squares look so yummy!
I’ve been yearning to bake something different – this is fantastic! Now the problem is this or your date squares!! I have a bag of frozen cranberries in my freezer…I wonder if they’d be too tart for this??
P.S: Is the smoothie thick? I’ve never been into smoothies because I prefer and thick texture.
Thanks for the link to the site! I’m not vegan – but new finds are good. Do you mind if I ask where you live in Canada? I’m in Ontario and not in a small town, but I find it hard to get much here often. (Or it tends to be downtown at specialty stores where I can’t get to often). Don’t answer if you don’t want to !! I understand privacy of course :)
Wow – congratulations on the award! What a fantastic way to beat the snow :-)
I am kind of new to chia seeds and they are my favorite find of this year so far (yeah, I’m a little late to the game)
I think the idea of using them for this recipe would be great for even better nutrition – I just don’t really know how to go about adapting the recipe (quantity and method). Any suggestions you can make?
Thanks! And I agree with those who have mentioned massage for healing – helped me a lot with a similar issue.
Well I would probably try adding chia seeds by the tbsp until the thickened consitency is achieved. You will also have to cook it on low for longer until the chia seeds thicken up and gel up. I hope it works! It might add a fun crunch to the berry filling too.
I’m from the raw food camp where we just don’t eat those raw buckwheats without soaking them. They can be rather harsh on the digestion, so be careful!
The bars remind me of the apple bars – delish :)
I totally get appreciating exercise more – I just had to stop running because of an eye problem, and I miss it so much! Yoga is great, but I like a good sweat. :)
Have you ever tried arrowroot as a thickening agent? It’s gluten-free and it doesn’t upset my tummy like corn starch does.
Yes I have and I totally forgot that I have some in the pantry too! :)
Glad to hear your injury isn’t anything really serious. Those bas look great, just another reason why you won the eat well category!
wow those bars look awesome and they are so easy! I’m glad your injury isn’t too serious :)
Congrats on the award!! I wish I had time to make those oat squares right now; they look so amazing!
Those look heavenly!
Sorry about the diagnosis. Injuries are so irritating!!
The berry doughy smoothie looks so pretty – not to mention incredibly delicious! I’m going to try that tomorrow morning :)
Both these recipes are awesome. I’m going to try them out ASAP.
Thanks for the link to Upaya Naturals. I think I’m going to stock up on some great deals! So excited!
I love that they’re called Berry Bliss Oat Squares! They’re little pieces of heaven I bet! :)
Growing up my dad was a huge gardener and for about 4 weeks in the summer there was an abundance of raspberries. Nothing all year and then more than we could ever eat all at once. My mom used to make raspberry cobbler type bars that look very reminiscent to these with raspberries. Great memories for me seeing this recipe, as they finished product looks similar but I guarantee my mom used butter and tons of it in her recipe :)
Your back. Well, thank god they have ruled out some really serious things and they are checking you for sciatica which is an awful, nagging, condition. Major hugs, sweetie. If you are open to it, I know many people who have been helped tons by acupuncture and yoga. I hope you find some relief!!
Congratulations on winning the award! I voted for you. :)
I think chia might work for a thickener, especially if it was ground first. You might also want to try arrowroot powder. I have heard that it is a little more unprocessed than cornstarch.
I found this post (http://www.thekindlife.com/post/cornstarch-agar-agar-kuzu-and-arrowroot-oh-my-plus-secrets-for-constipation) on different vegan thickening agents that I thought was helpful.
I LOVE the idea of blending overnight oats into a smoothie. I use raw oats and raw chia sometimes, usually separate, so the voo sounds like a great combination of the two.
I didn’t know you can eat buckwheat groats raw! I like buckwheat a lot, and don’t eat it nearly often enough. Buckwheat is really easy to sprout too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Your photography is absolutely beautiful. Amazing. Love it.
just look at pretty pictures of flowers and green trees to hold you over until Spring arrives…I think when it finally stars to warm up there it’ll be full on, unbearable heat down here in Texas :(
That first picture is rediculously gorgeous Ange! I love the color of the berry filling.
“Nothing like an injury to make you thankful for exercise again!” – I’m recovering from a sprain/ stain in my left pec and am still healing, but have been gradually been able to add more activities in (besides walking) and get SO excited to do things I haven’t been able to do in WEEKS. …like really excited. lol
Glad to hear nothing is seriously wrong with your back… back issues are NO FUN!!! I should post a picture of the hardware in mine for fun… It’s crazy to think that I have metal in my spine.
I had a pinching sensation in my low back a month ago, so I started going to a chiropractor. Even thought my parents don’t believe that it works, it helps me! When I go in for an adjustment, the pinching sensation is automatically relieved.
That looks amazing. Congrats on the award!
Congrats on your award! And hope your sciatic nerve heals quickly – they can be stubborn, so hang in there. I just found your blog this week, and you’ve been inspiring me everyday since – I even wrote about it in my second blog post! :)
thanks so much! I will check it out :)
I’m so glad that you won! I voted everyday for you :)
I love your breakfast bowl… err, mug… and matching plate! Oh so springy.
seriously!? wow thanks Becca!
congratulations Angie!! you deserved it through hard work! :) yeahhh babyyyy VOOs~~had it this mornin’ with buckwheat too. I’m still really wanting to make your strawberry bars.
I love your blog so much! You are such an inspiration in so many ways!!!
I’m glad your pain is nothing serious! I once hurt my tailbone too and I thought the pain would never go away, but it did after about 1.5-2 weeks. Hopefully yours will heal up quickly! :)
Is that mug/bowl from Pier 1? I have the same one in the same colour and I love it!
Yup its from Pier 1…I want all the colours…love it!
yummm!!! I love oats of any kind, and they’re healthy too! Glad to hear it went well at the doctors. Those raw buckwheat groats remind me of a great snack at a all natural health grocery store I got once. It was called Pea’s Please, they where great, they’re probably real simple to make, they’re just dried pea’s!!!(so crunchy) Can’t wait to try out the squares!!!
Congratulations on the award! These bars look delicious.Your tropical coconut cranberry pistachio bars have become a staple at my house. I can’t wait to add a new bar into the rotation.
These look fantastic, I think I have everything I need to try them them this weekend :)
sorry to hear about your back. my older sister has nerve problems with her back, she goes through periods were she is fine, and then it gives her pain. Back problems are one of the worst, because not much you can do. So thinking of you and your back :) haha that sounds funny, but I know it cannot be fun
love buckwheat!! and we noticed a few years ago we reacted corn, so we had to give it up. but arrowroot does pretty good, as I saw others mentioned. we have a ton of arrowroot if you ever need any
Thank you! I have some arrowroot and I never thought to use it instead…will have to try it :)
These bars have got to go on my “to try” list–along with overnight oats! :)
Just made the bars! They are fantastic!!! Sooo delicious and just the perfect amount of sweet! I had organic raw blue agave nectar, so I split that with the maple syrup, and it came out amazing! :)
I cannot thank you enough for your amazing recipes! I always love them. Although not a vegan, I always feel better about my food choices when cooking one of your recipes! Thanks for making vegan so accessible (and delicious)!
Good luck with your back!
Those squares look amazing and thanks for the link, us small town girls appreciate it!
I was going to suggest arrowroot but looks like a few people beat me to the punch :)
Hi Angela, Congratulations on the Award. I always she Oh She Glows on my blog reader, but it hasn’t updated since March 26th. The other blogs I read seem to be fine. I am wondering if anyone else has expressed concern.
Hey Lauren, thanks for letting me know. I will look into it!
That smoothie bowl is so incredibly gorgeous that I feel uplifted just looking at it. I bet I’d feel even better if I ate it :P
Those squares look amazing :)
I had a pinched sciatic nerve last year, which made running rather difficult for a while. It’s certainly not a comfortable experience! I did find my physio to be really helpful though, so that might be worth pursuing. He was also able to suggest stretches to help, which might make you feel better about being less able to exercise! I hope it improves quickly for you.
came across these brownies and thought I HAD to show you..so up your alley!!! :)
I just made your banana oat bars a couple nights ago, and my boyfriend and I both love them! They are the perfect, not-too-sweet snack for any time of day. Thanks so much for helping introduce more wholesome foods into our lives. :)
These bars look like the perfect snack food! Also, I would recommend seeing a chiropractor. I work for a chiropractor and it can really help sciatic pain!
thanks for the tip!
These squares look awesome. I’m totally wishing I had some fresh berries right about now! Your creations are amazing!
These recipes are bright, gorgeous & I bet beyond tasty! So sorry to read that you have sciatic issues. I think everyone at some point gets that. I know it hurts like crazy & affects everything you do. The great news is it does eventually go away. I too kept up with excercise on the elliptical & anything that felt good. xxoo
Those oat squares look delicious! I am happy your injury isn’t to serious! I’m injured right now (my knee) and I haven’t been able to do cardio in like a week and a half! It’s killing me….I want to get my sweat on! Hopefully it will heal up quick :)
These look so simple and delicious! Definitely on my “to-try” list :)