Whether you're  a stay at home parent or a CEO, your job is sure to be full of surprises. There are probably some days when you get stuck at work for longer than you intended, or you just can't find time to fit in a full meal. I found myself unexpectedly working 10 to 12 hours per day last week and it was hard to sit down for a real lunch and dinner when dealing with such a full schedule. To get around this problem, I always packed a bag filled with snacks to get me through the day. These oatmeal bars are one of my favorite things to take to work -- they have complex carbohydrates for quick energy and fiber to keep me full until my next meal.

[caption id="attachment_1108" align="alignleft" width="150"] Oatmeal Snack Bars[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1109" align="alignleft" width="150"] A great way to use grains![/caption]           [caption id="attachment_1110" align="alignleft" width="150"] Homemade granola is a favorite![/caption] [caption id="attachment_1111" align="alignleft" width="150"] ready to put in the oven[/caption]


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup raisins

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp instant milk powder

3 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)

1  cup water

2 tsp Ova Easy crystals dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl mix together oats, raisins, cinnamon, salt, powdered milk, and brown sugar (if desired).  Pour in water, Ova Easy mixture, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour batter into baking pan and use a fork to press into a flat layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed and the top of the oats look brown and toasted.  Cool in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. Slice into 10 bars and individually wrap in plastic or foil. Store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Yield: 10 servings.

Tips and notes:

These bars have a chewy, rather than crispy, texture that is similar to soft oatmeal bars from the grocery store.

Add variety by substituting the raisins for other mix-ins. Try dark chocolate chips, coconut and cashews, dried blueberries , or a swirl of peanut butter.  I think that dried apple pieces and some more cinnamon would be amazing!

Sweetener should be adjusted according to personal preference. I made mine without sugar because sweet snacks can make me tired at work, but brown sugar and oatmeal is a classic, delicious combination.

The milk powder can be mixed straight into the dry ingredients, but I find that egg powder is most effective when reconstituted with water before being mixed into batter.

Contributed by Kate Wilt