Rhubarb Jam Oat Bars (Vegan)

"Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
- Helen Keller

I can count my empty promises on my fingers. One of which is promising to write. My notebook is near empty. I have so much on my mind, but when I pick up a pen, it all seems to go white like the blank page I am staring at. 

The hardest part is starting. That moment when the tip of your pen touches the page is everything. Its like the first time you share that electric touch of another's hand against yours. Once you've started, you can't turn back. You can cross it all out. You can rip it up. You can toss it into the garbage. But it all still exists somewhere in your city recycling center. You can find it buried deep beneath old General Mills cereal boxes and torn photographs of past lovers.

Right now, I am typing. Typing usually means spelling out three words and backspacing four. 
"Can I say that on internet?" "What if ___ reads this and thinks poorly of me?" "What does this have to do with baking?" 

Once upon a time, I worked two jobs and took extra classes just to get a minor degree in writing. I was going to be a writer, a damn good one. To be a writer, you must write. And so, I will write. I will write 100 carefully crafted pieces of crap until I come up with 1 brilliant, poetic work of art. 

I can sit here and backspace for hours or I can type all of the words I wish to say in this particular moment and set them free. 

This post is written straight through and left unedited, because I am so tired of striving for a perfection beyond reach. All that does is cause writers block, a condition that I am going to rise from with thanks to my acceptance that everything I write doesn't have to be a masterpiece and all of the analogies I form don't need to make sense. So I'm kissing my fear of starting from scratch goodbye, by daring to write. 

I recently watched the documentary, 180 Degrees South. It's a film following adventurer, Jeff Johnson, as he travels to Patagonia, Chile to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins (founder of Patagonia) to climb Corcovado Volcano. The footage is beautiful, the soundtrack is soothing, and the message is inspiring. 

One of the quotes by Yvon is as follows: "The word 'adventure' has just gotten overused. For me, adventure is when everything goes wrong. That's when the adventure starts."  

Let me tell you about my adventure (in the making). Not much has gone as planned. As I said, I was supposed to be a successful writer by now. I would be living in the Pacific Northwest with the person I was once engaged to and our would-have-been Siberian husky (those who have followed along for a long time know about this). Life was going to be one grand adventure. 

Except it wasn't. 

Why? Because adventures can't happen unless the unexpected does. Heartbreak. Impulsive flights. Chronic illness. Recovery from mental illness. Spontaneous camping trips. Swimming in enchanted, mysterious waters. Living in Los Angeles. Not having a solid plan. 

These are all things that happened because I took a chance on adventure over safety. I let my own world fall apart for a chance at rebuilding it. It's coming along well, but is still very much under construction. 

And now, I share with you my next adventure. 

A traveling confectionary is in the making. I don't know when and I hardly know how, but I'm dedicated to spending my time learning and planning on making this ever-evolving dream I've had for so long into a reality. 

More to follow. 

Meanwhile, here's a little playlist for how I've been feeling lately:

Now onto the part you really came here for — the food!

I made these bars using a gift from a sweet friend who works at Sqirl, one of my favorite breakfast spots in LA. She popped in at work one day and handed me a jar of rhubarb meiwa kumquat jam aka pure gold. 

I turned the jam into breakfast for my week of early morning shifts. They're the perfect reason to be semi-okay with the fact that I wake up at an undesirable time for work every morning. Seriously, from the moment my alarm goes off to when I get in my car, I look forward to two things: 1. The coffee I will have when I get to work 2. The pre-shift breakfast I eat on my way to work.

Here's my favorite 4:30am breakfast thus far:

Rhubarb Jam Oat Bars (Vegan)
Yield: 12 bars
Adapted from: theconscientiouseater

- 1 chia egg (1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 8oz jar of rhubarb jam
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- extra chia seeds for topping
- coconut flakes for topping

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Make the chia egg by combining the chia seeds and water. Let rest for 5 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl,  combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla. 
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until fully combined.
  6. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then, spread the jam over the top of the dough. 
  7. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the jam, Top it all off with chia seeds and coconut shreds. 
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on the top. Let cool completely before cutting into small 2x2 inch squares.


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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall