Cooking from the Pantry: Oatmeal Jam Bars

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Summertime with all its delicious bounty is my time to store up for winter.  There have been years I have been selective with what I preserve and there have been years in which I put whatever produce I could get my hands on into a jar to save it for later.  But what if I don’t eat it?  What I have learned over time is that I rarely eat relish, so as innovative as zucchini relish seems, I rarely crack it open.  I don’t need 12 pints.

I also rarely eat jam.  I prefer peanut butter and honey over peanut butter and jelly, always have.  But I still make lots of jam…every year.  I imagine some day I will wake early, refreshed and rejuvenated, and whip up a batch of scones or sweet biscuits to smother fresh jam on.  I dream of capturing that sweet sunshine in a jar to delight myself with on a cold winter day.  And while I have lost interest in copious amounts of relish from unconventional sources.  I still enjoy making fruit preserves.

But what to do with it?  Sweets Girl likes it and eats it, but she is such a finicky thing that a half pint could last months.  I’ve yet to wake early and eagerly turn out a coffeehouse worthy pastry.  So instead I googled, “what to do with lots of jam.”  In fact, “what to do with lots of ____” is my go-to when I find a deal, or realize I have overstocked on any particular item.  It’s amazing the information that others have already compiled for you.

Multiple baked goods popped up and I narrowed down to a treat that the whole family would enjoy, that also was relatively low in fats and sugars compared to a lot of recipes I perused.  I found a recipe I felt good about, meeting my criteria of accessibility, simplicity, and presumed tastiness.  I adapted it slightly to suit what was in my cupboard and snuck in a bit of added nutrition.  I didn’t have to buy a thing and it provided delicious smells for the house to wake up to.
I won’t feel guilty if Sweets Girl decides to eat multiple servings.
It should last us a couple days.
Mission accomplished.
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OATMEAL JAM BARS
⦁ 1 1/2 cups All Purpose white flour
⦁ 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
⦁ 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
⦁ 1/2 tsp salt
⦁ 1/2 tsp baking soda
⦁ 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
⦁ 1/4 cup honey
⦁ 1/4 cup maple syrup
⦁ 1 cup jam or preserve of choice.  I used a mix quince jam and raspberry preserves to clear out two open jars in the fridge.
⦁ 1 tbsp. chia seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 350F
2. Line a cast iron skillet with parchment paper.  If baking in an 8″ square or cake pan, skip the parchment paper and butter the sides.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, oats, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda together.
4. Add the coconut oil (having this melted will help it mix), honey and maple syrup and mix well.
5. Transfer about 2/3 of the dough mixture to the prepared skillet or baking pan. Pack the mixture down firmly.
6. In a small bowl, mix the chia seeds with your preserves.  Spread this over the dough.
7. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 mixture over the preserves.
8. Add a sprinkle of oats over any bare spots.
9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
10. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Bars can be kept in an airtight container for a week.  lasted three days.  Sweets Girl enjoyed them so much she took several portions to her mom’s for them to share.
The whole point of cooking from the pantry is to use what you already have.  Feel free to substitute ingredients based on what you have.  Substitute wheat or oat flour, whatever you have that will make a nice crust.  Substitute melted butter for coconut oil.  Use all maple syrup or all honey, agave would work too.  You don’t have to add the flax or chia seeds if you don’t have them already.
Follow your heart.
Use what you got.
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