I love the solitude and quiet of morning. As a child my family lived by the Missouri River in Montana, winding through the plains across the prairie. When my mother permitted me to drink coffee (I was about fourteen) I would wake and drink a steaming mug of coffee watching the mist rise as the geese honked loudly. I’m not sure if I liked coffee back then or if I drank it to try being an adult.
These days, I consider myself a morning person because I like getting up early and feeling the peace of the morning. In Okinawa our apartment is on the east side of the island and I watch the sun rise over the ocean as my coffee is kicking in. Sometimes I have time to have a leisurely breakfast, looking over the news before work. Other days I try to clean my house and need something quick to take on my way out the door. This recipe is for those days.
I made a batch when we went to Mt. Fuji as I knew we needed breakfast and snacks to power us through our hike up Japan’s tallest mountain. Healthy, quick, portable bars to keep us headed up the trail. It was a good thing I thought to make them as snacks at the huts on the way up were expensive. I used to think some of the food I’ve seen at similar mountain stops was overpriced but then I met a man hunched over when we were climbing down Bukansen in Seoul. He was on his way up to the rest stop with a giant pack of waters strapped to his back to sell. He was hurting. Since then, I’m ok with the prices or the idea of bringing my own things.
These cranberry apricot oatmeal bars are everything you want them to be. Healthy, filling, slightly sweet and cinnamon-y. Good for a hike, a quick breakfast, a snack in the afternoon. Pretty much any time is the right time to grab one. Be sure to measure the flour by scooping with a spoon, too much flour packed into your measuring cup will result in dry bars. Also, make sure to stir in the coconut oil right before adding the wet ingredients to the dry so it doesn’t have a chance to congeal if your eggs whites and yogurt are too cold.
- 1 ½ cups quick oats
- 1⅔ cup whole wheat flour (lightly scooped into measuring cups or they will be dry)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 4 egg whites
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup dried apricots chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13inch pan with cooking spray and parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, powder, soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In another medium bowl, mix Greek yogurt, egg whites, almond milk, and vanilla. Add coconut oil last so it will not congeal before adding it to dry ingredients. Stir it into wet ingredients and quickly add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined (do not overmix). Stir in dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots to evenly distribute. Spread in prepared pan. Top with shredded coconut.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into pieces. May be wrapped individually and frozen or refrigerated.