Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Happy Wednesday!

I'm going on my 3rd day of not leaving the house. We are currently buried under 6-7 inches of snow. The roads are snow-covered and icy, and the hubby hasn't even been driving his car. His car has been parked at his office all week, because thankfully, his boss gave him a huge 4-wheel drive truck to tackle the weather with.
Therefore, I'm stuck at home. Not that I could drive our old-beater Sentra with bald tires out in this weather anyway :)

I think the snow is driving all of us at the house (Me, Haloti, Gizmo) crazy. The snow is too deep for either of the dogs to do much playing in. Haloti has figured out that he can hightail it down our driveway (which the hubby shoveled off), run down the car tracks in our lane to the hubby's Aunt and Uncle's house, and explore all the pathways the hubby's uncle has carved out in the snow. He also enjoys running like a madman through the snow about once a day. As I mentioned though, the snow is deep and Haloti's running in it takes quite some effort. I normally shovel off some paths in our yard as well, however my back has been on the fritz and shoveling snow is a no-no. Gizmo has been spending an average of 1 minute outside on his trips. It's safe to say he is loathing this storm system.

Yes, it appears the snow may be with us quite a while. The temperature is not supposed to get above 20º until the weekend. In fact, it's supposed to be -4º tonight, and -16º tomorrow. And those aren't wind chill readings. Brrrr. One good thing about being stuck at home is the time I have to bake! 

Remember that list I was telling you about on Monday? Well, this idea has been on there for months too. Ever since I saw a "Today Show" segment in which they were making blueberry breakfast bars. I had just made a huge jar of Spiced Blueberry Jam and what better way to use it? Well, that was July and it is now February. Needless to say, the jam was long gone. While I didn't make more spiced jam, I did whip up a batch of fresh filling just for these bars. The blueberry filling only takes 20-25 minutes of hands-off simmering on the stove, and it tastes so much fresher than commercial blueberry jam. 

I would compare these to a homemade Nutri Grain bar, only way better. They are made with whole wheat flour, lots of oatmeal, and very low sugar. They are, in my humble opinion, the bomb dot com.

Pair a bar with a cup of tea, and you'll be amazed. So good. I tested bars with both regular green tea, and then with blueberry acai green tea. Tea and breakfast bars? Winning combination. And of course, they go fabulously with coffee. I have a feeling these little squares would be very kid-friendly as well. I mean, if your kids like Nutri Grain bars, they will go crazy over these.

As you can imagine, being stuck at home all week has enabled me to attack my library books. I still haven't started "Under the Dome" because I got 2 books from Amazon on Monday and I decided to read them both. One was a re-read of a book that I checked out from the library last year, and I decided I wanted to own it. The other was "The Highly Sensitive Person" by Elaine Aron. It was a very good read. I highly recommend it to anyone who might be highly sensitive, or think they are. There's a quiz you can take online that will give you an idea (I don't think any quiz online is 100% foolproof) if you are highly sensitive. If you score highly, this book could be enlightening for you. I've read it once and I'm probably going to read it again. When I say "highly sensitive" I'm not just talking about emotions. The central argument of the book argues that "highly sensitive" is a temperament that could be genetically inherited where you experience stimuli very differently than most people. The author postulates people that are highly sensitive have differences in their brain from other people that make them interpret stimuli more intensely than the average person, with stimuli referring to noises, sounds, images, etc.  She estimates about 20% of the population is highly sensitive. I say this book was enlightening for me because, in a way, I have always felt different. I have always wondered what is wrong with me. I'm not 100% convinced on every aspect of the book, as I suspect more scientific research needs to be done on the subject, but wow, it gave me a lot to think about. And I must confess, I find myself looking at myself a bit differently after reading it. Interpreting my emotions in a fresh new way.

Again, a very good read. Highly recommended.

All right, I've got a gaggle of birds outside demanding seed. I must go distribute the goodies to my snow birds :)

Have a great day everyone!

Ingredients (makes 16-20 bars):

Blueberry filling-
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cups oatmeal
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, very cold, cubed
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3/4 cup fresh blueberries


1. Prepare fruit filling- in a small sauce pan, combine blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil, lower heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Filling is done when it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350º. Liberally coat a 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine flours through butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut into mixture until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of mixture, set aside.
4. Add the egg white to the remaining flour mixture. Stir to combine. Gently fold in the fresh blueberries. Pour mixture into pan, and press down to form an even layer. Bake in oven for 10 minutes.
5. Using a spatula, spread fresh blueberry filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle with reserved flour mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. 
6. Remove from heat. Allow to cool in pan for 1-2 hours. Cut into squares. Serve immediately. 

*Chef's Note- Keep bars in tupperware covered with a dish towel for the first night. If you put squares immediately in an airtight container, they will get mushy. Let air get to them for the first 24 hours, then you can store in an airtight container. Bars will keep 3-4 days on the counter, and about a week if you store them in the fridge.

Recipe adapted from Today.
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  1. I typed in a long comment and it disappeared! I haven't left the house in days either. No snow, but we had ice and cold. I don't do cold! I have some blueberries in the freezer from our bumper crop last year, I just might have to give these a try. That book does sound interesting!

    1. Oh man! That happens to me sometimes when leaving comments, drives me nuts. And if I could send you some our snow, I definitely would! :)

  2. Wow, these look amazing! I just make date bars but will definitely add this to my recipe plan for next week - blueberries are ALWAYS a hit around here.

    Thank you so much for linking up with us at the Thank Goodness It's Thursday party, Jessica. I'm now following you on G+ and Pinterest.

    1. Blueberries are always a hit around my house too Sarah :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, I look forward to participating in Thank Goodness It's Thursday. I'm looking forward to following your blog as well! Have a great weekend!


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