My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free


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monster bars

As promised, here is a recipe that will start your week off right.  It’s definitely healthy enough to be called a breakfast bar, but delicious enough to be called dessert.  With Jake coming for the weekend, I wanted to come up with a recipe that was packed with real foods, not high in sugar, easy to eat, and easy to take on the go.

I wouldn’t change anything about this recipe.  I cannot stop eating these.  They’re just the perfect balance of soft, sweet, gooey, pnut buttery, oatey, deliciousness.

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Mix all the dry.

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Mix most of the wet.

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Mix in the milk.

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Mix in wet to dry.

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Stir, stir, until just combined and no dry flour is left on the bottom of the bowl.

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Line a pan with parchment.  Trust me.  Go buy parchment.  I use it almost everyday! 

Spread 1/2 the mixture, then the jelly.

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Then plop down scoops of the rest of the oat mixture.  Don’t just plop it down all in one lump or it will be hard to spread on top of the gooey jelly.

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Then bake.  Then feed it to a cute little kid.  For breakfast!

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And watch him smile!

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And then be randomly interrupted in the middle of the post with broccoli cheddar soup from Friday.  The last bowl.  I’m sad!

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Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with smoked paprika??  If you find it, you MUST buy it.  I couldn’t find it at my Whole Foods, but Costco had a huge container for about $3.  It was fabulous sprinkled on my salad that went along with the soup!

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Now where were we???

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There are so so many variations you could make with this recipe.

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Let me rattle off a few….

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recipe variations

instead of jelly in the middle:

mix in options for the bars:

  • chocolate chips/carob chips/white chocolate chips
  • unsweetened coconut
  • chia seeds
  • hemp seeds
  • chopped walnuts/almonds/pecans/peanuts
  • chopped dried fruit

substitution ideas:

  • chocolate almond milk + 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder [might need extra 1-2T milk] instead of plain or vanilla almond milk
  • whole wheat pastry flour instead of spelt flour
  • applesauce or pumpkin puree instead of mashed banana
  • try other spices instead of cinnamon
  • maple syrup or honey instead of sugar [might need to add 1-3T extra flour]
  • almond butter, sunflower butter, cashew butter, or coconut butter instead of peanut butter

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And now the recipe :)

Monster Bars [makes ~12 bars] *vegan

  • 3c rolled oats
  • 1c spelt flour
  • 1/4c ground flax meal
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 3/4t salt
  • 1 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/4c sucanat [or pure cane sugar]
  • 1/2c mashed banana [very ripe]
  • 1/2c organic pnut butter
  • 1/2c unsweetened almond milk [vanilla works also]
  • 2t vanilla extract
  • 1c no sugar added jelly [any flavor]
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease bottom + sides of pan.
  3. In a large bowl mix oats, flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon + sugar until combined.
  4. In a medium size bowl mash banana until liquidy.
  5. Whisk in pnut butter to the banana with a fork until combined.
  6. Whisk in vanilla + almond milk with fork until combined.
  7. Add wet to dry and stir with a spoon until just combined.  Batter should be very thick and not too wet.  Mix until no flour or oats are left on the bottom.  If it seems really dry add 1-2T more milk.  If too wet, add 1-2T more flour.
  8. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until smooth.
  9. Spread jelly on top evenly.
  10. Plop down spoonfuls of the rest of the oat mixture on top of the jelly.  It will be easier to spread this way.
  11. Spread carefully with a spatula, until evenly distributed + covering the jelly.
  12. Bake for ~35min until lightly browned on top.
  13. Let cool for about 30min.  Lift bars out by the parchment and cut into bars. 
  14. Wrap individually for on the go transport, or keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Delicious slightly warm and with a smear of peanut butter on top!  But also delicious straight out of the fridge.  :)  Like I said these are only slightly sweet.  So you may want to use 1/3c-1/2c if you like things a bit sweeter.  For me, 1/4c is the perfect sweetness.  The mashed banana + jelly definitely help! 

These are going to make fabulous mountain snacks.  They’re soft but hold together well.  Very excited.

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I’m about to go raid the fridge for another!

But first, dinner.  We really need to go to the store but despite that fact, scraped together a pretty delicious meal.

main ingredients:

  • tempeh
  • cashews
  • organic frozen sugar snap peas
  • organic frozen tri colored peppers
  • farro
  • millet

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I used the recipe on 101 Cookbooks for maple grilled tempeh.  I had all of the ingredients, and the flavors sounded awesome. 

The only thing I did differently was broil in on low for about 10min per side.  Oh yah, and instead of chipotle powder, I of course used smoked paprika.  Delicious!  I cooked a mixture of farro + millet together.  1 1/4c millet/farro mixed with 2.5c liquid [veggie broth + water combo], simmer with lid, over med-low for about 15-20min, until liquid is absorbed.  Let sit with lid on for 5min then fluff with a fork.  Awesome texture!  I cooked the veggies over med-high heat in 1T coconut oil. 

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Frozen veggies definitely come in handy sometimes.  I don’t use them often but stock up when they’re on sale.  Did you know frozen veggies are said to hold more nutrients than fresh veggies in the store?  That’s because veggies start to lose their nutritional content as soon as they’re picked.  The veggies are flash frozen more quickly than we buy the fresh version at the store, so they actually retain more nutrients.  Interesting!

Some frozen veggies are pretty gross.  Spinach comes to my mind first!

Peppers + snap peas are delicious though!

I’m not sure why, but these light box photos came out looking the more natural yet!  They are a bit washed out but pretty daylight-ish.

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Chris said he liked this meal better than the orange pan glazed tofu from the other week.  I thought they were about equal.  I liked that this wasn’t quite as sweet and I really love tempeh.  Tofu is delicious, but it’s much harder on my digestion [which is very common]. I try to limit my soy consumption, especially processed soy.  However, tempeh is fermented, making it much easier to digest + absorb the nutrients.

We just finished watching the season finale of Dexter.  I thought I was going to lose it!!  So intense.  I’ve never watched a show that got my heart racing as fast as this one.  Definitely one of the best shows ever. 

So much to do before leaving for home on Thursday.  Bed!

<3 Ashley

Reader Comments (68)

Wow! Those look amazing :)
I am such a sucker for all things peanut butter and jelly... and the fact that it can be a breakfast option is pretty stellar.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTatianna

These bars sound incredible and definitely Jake approved! :) I am actually really thinking the PB and Jam would be the best variation. Maybe an Almond Butter and Apricot Jam. Hmmmm…see you've got me all inspired now girl!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Girl! Smoked paprika is to DIE for. It has been my favorite spice for nearly 5 years. I put it in absolutely everything. It is rare that I make something without it!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

I want to try making some of these. I know my daughter (and I) would love them for a good snack.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina @ Faith Fitness Fun

Look at those bars!! My daughter would LOVE these :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEstela @ Weekly Bite

I love that monster bar recipe - it hardly has any added sugar, which is amazing! I can't stand it when snack bars have tons of added sugars! Definitely on my "make" list!

My daughter would love those bars! They look delicious. You can't go wrong with pb+jelly+banana.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaryea @ Happy Healthy Mama

YUM! They look great and the combinations are endless! :-P

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErika @ Food.Fitness.Fun

hey, all i'm saying is those bad boys are for big kids too...i would eat the whole pan!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather (Heather's Dish)

I dont even know where to start..this post all looks too awesome!

monster bars, anything w/ PB & J, plus oats, cinnamon (& sugar), well, it's gotta be awesome! I make no bake granola bars that start off the same way sort of, minus the jelly.....I need to get on the jelly train b/c i love jelly :)

The cute!

The smoked paprika and the soup and tofu, girl, you can cook!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAverie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)

how old is jake? all the little ones i've babysat for were not eating peanuts (or any nuts, i think) yet...

those bars look crazy delicious though. and jake is adorable. i probably wouldn't give him back ;-)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhaya

I love the picture of Jake smiling. It is so adorable!

These sound delicious Ashley. Your pictures look amazing like always :)

These look so delicious and kid-friendly! I'm sure Jake loved them :)

And your dinner looks awesome! Sometimes throw-together dishes are the best!


Those Monster Bars look fabulous! I'll have to try them. And yes, frozen veggies are a good thing!!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacy @ Every Little Thing

Everything here looks awesome. Though I'm most dying to try those bars. I love how healthy they are. (Of course, knowing me I'd add chocolate chips.)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

Great vertical pics of the Monster bars!!! Can't wait to have some- hint, hint, hint.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

mm, looks so good!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristina cadden

i've been looking for a healthyish dessert to make and these look perfect!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren at KeepItSweet

Oh hi! Remember me?

Ummm.. those bars. MUST MAKE. Tonight? Probably.

Oh wait, I have no food in my new house and there's a storm raging outside.

Hmmm.. worth the risk to trek to the store?


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

Yum--love how these bars allow so much customization! :-)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaSaundra

I have a recipe that I got from Polly that I'll be making soon that is similar to these monster bars! Jelly for the win! :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristin@purplebirdblog

Ash those bars look awesome!! Such an impressive ingredients list and I love all the variation recommendations, those are totally going to be my ski-season bars! I have to try that tempeh recipe, too, I have been seeing it pop up on different blogs and it seems like a good one :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Yum! And he is so sweeeeeet! Aawwwwwww!

Hi, Ashley! I recently came across your blog (referenced by Peas and Thank You), and I am really enjoying it. Your recipes look so fresh, delicious, and satisfying in every way. You have a new reader!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I'm picturing these with pumpkin butter in the middle :) They look SO good! I love your recipes!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate (What Kate is Cooking)

Those bars look INCREDIBLE! And I love the name, "Monster Bars" :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGracie

Yum, those bars looks delicious. Loved the "interruption" in your post. lol.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBronwyn Coyne

Smoked Paprika has rocked my world this fall! SO MUCH flavor!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfaith @ gracefulfitness

Those Monster Bars look so yummy! I know two little monsters that would LOVE them. Hope you are not going through kiddo withdrawals today. :(

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMama Pea

So many delicious things in this post! Monster bars sound so good, I'm also thrilled to see that I have pretty much everything in my pantry already. Really healthy too. I need quick snacks to munch on during work, so this seems like something I'll definitely have to make. Love how many variations/substitution ideas you shared too.

I'm assuming I can substitute regular cow milk instead of almond milk, right?

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura (Blogging Over Thyme)

I was just talking about Dexter in my post today too!! Great show. Those bars looks awesome.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Those bars remind me of nutrigrain bars, but much healthier and without all the scary ingredients! I love that there would be so many ways to adapt these so you could pretty much make them with whatever was in your pantry.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorey @ the runner's cookie

These look and sound fabulous! I'm a sucker for homemade granola bars!!! :)

Pretty jealous that you got to spend your weekend with a cute baby!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternatalie (the sweets life)

Bars looks delicious as always ;) And I love the name - monster bars, so cute!


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPure2raw Twins

Yum! My 3 year old and I are on the way to the kitchen to make these right now. This is just the kind of recipe we needed :D

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Wow, the bars look amazing and makes me sad that I haven't had much time to play in the kitchen lately. But I must try these as soon as I do!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristine (The Raw Project)

thank you thank you thank you!!!! I'm always looking for quick, healthy meals to feed my 3 munchkins. This will do it, they will love them!!! I'm so excited to make these! Thank you again :)


December 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

I would like one serving of each of these items please. Penny says hi.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

Only one??

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

You're so welcome!! I'm addicted to these...but that's not a bad thing I guess!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I hope you liked them!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Oooh yes, you're right!! I might try grinding the oats so it has a smoother consistency like the NG bars as another variation.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

GAH. sooo goood!!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Yay! Well, I hope you like them. I've eaten about 50% of the pan. :) Yes, cow's milk is just fine!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I almost feel cheated by the world that you moved from Denver BEFORE we moved To the city - I would come steal a bite of these Every day ;)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather C

Aww, yes, the girls would love these!! I'm going through 3 kid withdrawal...still miss your monsters!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thanks so much Sarah!!! :)

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I hope you like them! I can't wait to make more varieties...and I already know I'll be making them when I'm home in Ohio. The family has requested them!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Ummm, yah you're that Abby girl!? Right? Hope you like them!!! Hope you're staying warm too!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thanks dad...I'm on it!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

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