Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars -- Juggling With Julia

It’s true I am a huge sucker for anything that puts oatmeal and peanut butter together, especially at breakfast. Chocolate is a frequent accomplice. Is this obsession bordering on insanity? Let’s review the evidence.

♦  I smother my bowl of oatmeal in peanut butter and chocolate at least twice a week.
♦  I love Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips.
♦  I hawk healthy cookies like No-Guilt Peanut Butter Banana Oat Chippies.

And now, if it please the court, I’d like to introduce Exhibit D. Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars. These little darlings are the latest addition to our dessert-for-breakfast family.

Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars -- Juggling With Julia Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars -- Juggling With JuliaGuilty as charged? Of course. Before you sentence me, though, I do have something to say on my behalf.

These scrumptious morsels of deliciosity are truly wholesome.  Peanut butter, oatmeal, and whole wheat flour are SO GOOD for you! Protein, heart-healthy fiber, vitamins from all across the alphabet…I could go on, but you get what I’m saying. If craving these is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Now, take me away.  Just promise you’ll mail me a batch of these every so often, ‘kay? Thanks.

Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Makes 16
Prep time:  15 minutes     Baking time: 22-25 minutes

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup non fat milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan with spray oil.

Mix the dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking soda, and salt) together in a small bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and peanut butter together on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the vanilla.

Next, add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately, beating on medium speed between each addition. By the time both are all added, the batter will be thick and difficult to stir. Mix in the chocolate chips and raisins with your hands until they are well incorporated. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Do not over-bake! The bars are done when they are set and slightly browned.


Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars -- Juggling With Julia


5 Foods Never to EatI know you’ve seen those fear-mongering lists.  “5 Foods Never to Eat” or “Avoid These Foods Forever” promising amazing health or weight loss benefits. They flash cartoon images of bananas, suggesting sinister outcomes should you eat them. They urge you to avoid sugar at all costs, to run screaming away from the conventional produce aisle, and excommunicate family members proffering baked goods made with -gasp- white flour.

Gawd, do those lists irk me!

The fear-mongering around food is getting worse all the time, and folks are especially susceptible in January, a time of healthy resolutions. The headlines are purposely provocative, tempting you to click through to what are often claims made without solid science behind them, and sometimes outright ridiculous suggestions.

Sally, a registered dietitian and mom who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition, wrote a great post earlier this month on why she’s tired of “foods you should never eat” lists. The whole time I was reading it, I was like, “Yes! So true!” Every thought I’ve thunk on this topic, she put down in words. Here’s a particularly to-the-point quote from Sally’s post, which sums up what so many of us nutrition experts believe:

“Yes, I support buying organic when available and feasible financially. Yes, I advise people to drink water over soda, choose whole grain bread over white, and brown rice over white. But at the end of the day, it’s about what you eat most of the time. It’s about your overall eating habits, not a single food or a single meal.”

Amen and Hallelujah! Thank you, Sally.

Aside from sharing her wisdom, which I’m 100% in agreement with, the only thing left to do is to leave you with my own “list” with the best nutrition advice I can offer, all with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek :)

5 Foods Never to Eat (All of Which are Negotiable)
by Julia Robarts, MS, MPH, RD, LDN
Food-lover, baker, writer, registered dietitian, funny girl

Yucky Foods That Make You Go “Ew!”
Simply put, don’t eat what you don’t like. For me that is oysters, overripe pears, and lobster. Do not invoke this rule, however, when presented with the opportunity to teach your toddler to try green beans for the first time. Buck up, big boy! Smile and chew :)

Lemon Garlic Green Beans -- Juggling With JuliaSpoiled, Rotten, or Moldy Foods.
Even this is negotiable, if you consider sauerkraut, blackened bananas, or bleu cheese. Please, though, do ditch the yogurt that’s turned red and green, as well as the foul-smelling chicken breasts you forgot you put in the fridge a week ago to defrost.

Unless you’re into that kind of thing and have the proper permit, flannel shirt, and F250 pickup.

Desserts That Are Bigger Than Your Meal.
Common sense. Unless said dessert IS your meal, in which case “make mine a double’ is entirely acceptable.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Cake -- Juggling With JuliaAny Food Offered When You Are Not Hungry.
Seriously, this is probably the most important one. Your appetite is like an child. Ignore it, and you will pay. Overindulge it, and you will pay. Give it what it needs, and you’ll both be happy :)

Happy Face - Juggling With Julia




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