Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Sweet Snack

My son loves to help me in the kitchen, and it's no surprise, really. Lord knows we watch plenty of the Food Network in our house. And when my son could sit up in his high chair I would sit him in it in our kitchen and talk him through all the steps as I cooked dinner, like my own Food Network show.

As my son turned two, he was no longer content to sit idle in the high chair and watch Mommy. He wanted to help Mommy. I tried to steer him to his play kitchen, but he rejected that option. Nothing short of the real thing would do. So I would put the seasonings I needed in a bowl, hand him a whisk, and let him mix away.

By December he was helping me bake Christmas cookies. And now, on the cusp of four, his interest in helping Mommy cook has not waned. (I only wish he was as interested in the clean-up!) The difficulty lies in finding recipes that are simple enough that he can take a more active role and would be interested eating.

Enter the Pioneer Woman's recipe for Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. It's everything I'm looking for in a recipe. I can make it with my son. It's easy enough to help him measure out the ingredients. With nothing that needed to be poured, he stirred the dry ingredients while I cut the butter. He helped me press the oat mixture into the pan. And as a kid who loves granola bars and strawberries, he couldn't wait for these to cool so we could cut them.

If you have a little helper in your kitchen, I highly recommend this recipe. A great way to have fun and keep it interesting is to try different flavors of preserves. And if you do, let me know how they are. I have a feeling we'll be sticking to strawberry in our house.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes 24 servings


  • 1 3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 10 to 12-ounce jar strawberry preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch rectangular pan.
  2. Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly.
  3. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares.

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