PB+J Oat Bars

Strawberry Oat

As the mother of a young toddler, there is a certain time of the day where you aren't sure you will make it until the very end. For me, it is right around 5pm when there is a fit over something ridiculous or my son begs me desperately to sit and build blocks while I try to calmly explain if I don't cook dinner he won't eat. From there my husband comes home and we divide and conquer. I finish dinner and we rush to the table to eat. After which the dinner I lovingly prepared is effectively covering every part of Elias's face as well as high chair, the table and spewed onto far corners of the floor. From there we tag team yet again, Patrick usually transferring Elias directly into the bathtub while I dash to the kitchen to clean up from dinner while listening to a podcast. I am with Elias ALL day, so this is their time together. And my time to catch up on a Podcast which seems like a spa retreat.

Then we chase a naked bottomed boy around, read books, say prayers and give one million bedtime kisses before we slip out of the room in a quiet exhaustion. We usually sit in silence staring at our phones (that sounds lame) for 5-10 minutes before we talk. It's just that kind of tired. The race to bedtime.

It was that time recently when I had the wild hair to bake something new. I had a ton of fresh strawberries I was itching to make something with and was hoping to find a new breakfast recipe to try for Elias. 

We have been having a hard time with breakfast for Elias, since I am a classic eggs + toast (with fresh greens) for breakfast- I can have it daily and be the happiest girl in the world. He recently decided eggs aren’t his thing and has dropped them like a bad habit. We used to feed him oatmeal, but since he is Mr. Independent and the world’s messiest eater, I can’t bring myself to clean him of messy meals three times a day. So I am resolving to cleaner foods. (both nutritionally and mess-wise). 

Mostly baked good packed with nutrients and great ingredients are our go-to.

That is why we love these waffles from Cookie + Kate. I make them EVERY. WEEKEND. You got oats, protein from eggs and some good fats from coconut oil. I will heat these up for Elias on the weekdays to eat. They are crumbly, so I prefer to let him eat these outside. I am telling you, I am over cleaning up.

We also LURRRVVVV these muffins from Pinch of Yum. These are happening most weeks in our house. 5 Simple ingredients that are nutritious and easy- uh YES please. 

I usually start searching knowing what I want to make, but wanting a template to know proportions. I was looking for a strawberry oat bar but was having a hard time finding any recipes that didnt have flour and extra sugar. I finally found THIS one for Strawberry Oat Bars with an easy Strawberry Chia Jam from Running With Spoons. I had to try it. I did some tweaking, I just can’t help myself! I knew  there were some things I would want to add to it. 

After making them and everyone loving them, I had an epiphany- THEY NEED PEANUT BUTTER. 

Because PB&J BREAKFAST BARS?! Uh, yea, sign me up. Sounds like a delicious and healthy childhood memory baked to perfection. And these turned out as such. 

They are gluten free (if you use gluten free oats!), no refined sugars, packed with the goodness of oats, fresh strawberries and chia seeds. I know when I serve one of these to Elias for breakfast that he is starting his day with good nutrients getting packed it (even if he asks for pizza after he scarfs them down). 

And they’re not just a kid breakfast, we love having them to grab on the go or for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. Do yourself a favor a make a batch to have for the week!

PBJ Oat Bar1


Strawberry Chia Jam: (Can use Strawberry or Rasberry jam if you want to skip this step)

  • 2 Cups strawberries (frozen or fresh work)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • 1 Cup oat flour (Easy to make by blending oats in a blender. I keep a container of homemade oat flour in the pantry to grab easily!)
  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbl unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract



  1. Place the strawberries + maple syrup in a saucepan and cook down over medium heat until the berries cook down, 5-10 minutes if fresh and 10-15 if frozen. After bringing to boil, use a wooden spoon to break them apart as they cook down.
  2. Once sufficiently cooked, stir in 2 Tbl of chia seeds and the vanilla, allowing to cook for another 5 minutes or until thickened. Add in the lemon juice, stir, and remove from heat. This will thicken as it sits and will work better for the bar.


  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and prepare an 8x8 (20x20cm) baking dish by lining it with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add the mashed banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in and mix well. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  4. Transfer about 2/3 of the mixture into the baking dish. It will be sticky, but use your hands or spatula to press it down evenly. Spoon the cooled chia jam on top. Sprinkle remaining dough over the jam layer in clumps, trying to cover as much as you can. This won’t create an even layer, so dont try to force that!
  5. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top lightly browns and the jam is bubbling. Allow it to cool fully before cutting into bars. Although taking a taste of the fresh and warm bake from the corner is totally acceptable. Just don’t burn your mouth!