baking/ gluten free/ little bites of goodness/ lunchbox/ some for now + some for later/ this is life

Rhubarb Oat Bars + Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Ruby red rhubarbChopping fresh rhubarbRhubarb roasted with tangelo juiceHumanity. It gets me, right there in the heart strings. Every single time. The capacity we have as humans is awe inspiring, and all together too much, in a good way. As much as travelling is expanding for the soul so too is hearing someone else’s story, learning about the choices they made and why; discovering how one life can be lived.

Oven Roasted RhubarbI’m not sure if you’ve heard of Fred Rogers. He created a children’s television show in the U.S. called Mr Roger’s Neighborhood. It began in the very early days of television and continued right up until 2001. In this program he presented a neighbourhood of diversity and tolerance, a place of love and acceptance, at a time when this, sadly, was not always commonplace. A dear friend of mine told me about the documentary of his life, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, insisting that I really must see it, that I’d totally get it and that it would change the way I look at life.

As I watched, I was overwhelmed by Mr Roger’s patience and understanding for human beings, and human nature. His message of love, acceptance and thoughtfulness was palpable. He treated all children as equal and gave them each his full attention and time – no rushing, just holding thoughtful space. This is turn allowed the children connect with him, talk with him honestly and feel a real connection. His key tenets were ‘love your neighbour, love yourself’; ‘stand up for what you believe in’, ‘listen to your children’ and ‘just being you is enough’. Simple concepts, but just living by those sentiments could completely change someone’s life.

My life certainly feels all the richer for having watched this documentary and learned the story behind it; just an hour and a half of thinking about truly feeling and demonstrating love, patience and understanding as best I can in every moment, every day, has reminded me how I truly want to live; I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. 

Making rhubarb and oat barsHis main goal was that every child feel loved for who they are, as they are. His message was that you don’t need to do something special in order to be loved, and we never need to apologise for having feelings. He created a special space for children to ask questions and process the difficult aspects in life with caring guidance. Addressing difficult topics of the time such as assassination, death and the concept of war these are difficult things; but helping children face these questions of life by talking with them rather than shielding them or dismissing them as being too young to comprehend what was actually going on in the world around them honours them as human beings.

Inviting children to have a conversation filled with truth, without being patronising or underestimating their capacity for understanding and compassion, or their capacity for love, is surely what helping a human being grow is all about.

Mr Rogers helped counsel a generation of children by talking to them about the world around them, demonstrating what it meant to be a tolerant person filled with love for all neighbours, and letting children know that they were actually perfect, just as they are.

Roasted Rhubarb and Oat BarsAt the end of the day we can all learn from and take inspiration from each other. Every person’s experience, passions and life lessons learned provide insight into their lives and our own. By simply loving ourselves and our neighbours, our world can be a better place. It’s good to be curious and hear how people are doing things in their own world. How another is living might help inspire you in a way that changes something in your life for the better. And how you do things might inspire someone else. Just being you is enough. Anybody can change the world.

To all the mothers, fathers, carers, lovers – teachers, givers, listeners – people who do something just out of the goodness of their heart, or take an extra moment to really spend with someone else when they need it – a child, a friend, a stranger – thank you. Love makes all the difference. 

Rhubarb Oat Bars fresh out of the ovenRhubarb Oat Bars

A really important way for me to reconnect with my family every day, is to spend a quiet moment with them over afternoon tea. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we don’t. There may be stories of the day, or talk of things to come, or sometimes just quiet reading side by side. Sometimes there is something special to eat, and other times not – it doesn’t really matter, as long as we spend the time close to each other. When the days feel rushed and there isn’t time to reconnect in this way, sometimes I add a little something to their lunchbox; it’s my way of making an ordinary moment feel a little special, and hopefully, let them know they are loved.

These rhubarb oat bars were inspired by some apricot bars from Top With Cinnamon. They’re wholesome and comforting, filled with a gentle sweetness from the oats. Fresh out of the oven, the base is almost like shortbread, with sticky tanginess from the roasted rhubarb. They keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days, where they will get a little more crumbly but still be comforting and delicious.

Rhubarb Oat Bars

Makes 12 bars

For the rhubarb:

250g rhubarb cut into 2cm lengths
juice of 1 orange or tangelo
1 tablespoon xylitol
1 teaspoon vanilla paste


Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Toss all of the ingredients together, and roast in a small baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender but still holding it’s shape.

Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.


For the bars:

100g almond flour
50g rolled oats
100g buckwheat flour
125g unsalted butter, cubed
pinch of fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
80g (1/4 cup) maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon liquid stevia
1 large, free range egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

extra 25g rolled oats
25g flaked almonds


Line a 17 x 21 cm (7 x 9 inch) rectangular tin with baking paper. 

Place the almond flour, the 50g rolled oats, buckwheat flour, butter, salt and spices in to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a rough crumbly mixture.

Add in the maple syrup, stevia, egg yolk and vanilla paste and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together. Set aside 50g (around 2 tablespoons) of the mixture in a bowl for later – this will form part of the crumble topping. 

Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking tin, using your hands to flatten the mixture and spread it all the way to the edges. 

Drain and scatter the rhubarb pieces over the base, you can save the syrup and stir it through some natural yoghurt or drizzle it over crepes for breakfast. 

To make the crumble topping, use your fingertips to mix together the extra 25g rolled oats, the flaked almonds and the 50g of mixture you set aside earlier, until you have a sticky but crumbly mixture. 

Scatter the crumble topping over the rhubarb and press the toppings down gently with the palms of your hands.

Bake in the oven for around 30 – 35 minutes or until the topping is lightly golden. Allow to cool before slicing into bars.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days; the bars will be crunchy and like shortbread when fresh out of the oven and soften a little in the following days.

Rhubarb Oat Bars for afternoon teaRhubarb Oat Bars with crumble topping

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Rhubarb Oat Bars

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 bars Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the rhubarb:
  • 250g rhubarb cut into 2cm lengths
  • juice of 1 orange or tangelo
  • 1 tablespoon xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • For the bars:
  • 100g almond flour
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 125g unsalted butter, cubed
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 80g (1/4 cup) maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid stevia
  • 1 large, free range egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

  • extra 25g rolled oats
  • 25g flaked almonds

Instructions

1

First, roast the rhubarb. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Toss all of the rhubarb ingredients together, and roast in a small baking tray in the oven for around 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is just tender but still holding it’s shape.

2

Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

3

For the bars, line a 17 x 21 cm (7 x 9 inch) rectangular tin with baking paper.

4

Place the almond flour, 50g rolled oats, buckwheat flour, butter, salt and spices in to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a rough crumbly mixture.

5

Add in the maple syrup, stevia, egg yolk and vanilla paste and pulse briefly until the mixture comes together. Set aside 50g (around 2 tablespoons) of the mixture in a bowl for later - this will form part of the crumble topping.

6

Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking tin, using your hands to flatten the mixture and spread it all the way to the edges.

7

Drain and scatter the rhubarb pieces over the base, you can save the syrup and stir it through some natural yoghurt or drizzle it over french toast.

8

To make the crumble topping, use your fingertips to mix together the extra 25g rolled oats, the flaked almonds and the 50g of mixture you set aside earlier, until you have a sticky but crumbly mixture.

9

Scatter the crumble topping over the rhubarb and press the toppings down gently with the palms of your hands.

10

Bake in the oven for around 30 - 35 minutes or until the topping is lightly golden. Allow to cool before slicing into bars.

11

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days; the bars will be crunchy and like shortbread when fresh out of the oven and soften a little in the following days.

Notes

• gluten free, if using gluten free oats • low sugar • whole food •

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