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A little on the naughty side, but blueberry oatmeal bars are packed with good stuff too

I don't make mother-in-law jokes, because mine happens to be perfect. A bold statement I know, but it's true. In the history of our 17-year relationship, we've only had one rocky moment when she gave me a rather large pair of leopard-print lycra knickers. I am not sure what the intent was, but as they looked like the kind of skimpy Speedos generally worn by hairy European men. I was a bit worried. I did wonder if they would look better on, but the mirth from the (not so) lovely husband put paid to that.

Still, on the non-Speedos related upside, we have had so much bath-time and babysitting help that we're once again in parenting nirvana. We don't call her Naughty Nana for nothing though as the treats have been flowing fairly freely. I am also wondering the wisdom of the Nana and Chloe shopping trip that involved a visit to Strands and a browse at Lusso. What's next? Snack time at Harry's?

While we may have to do something to manage expectations when Naughty Nana flies out, for the short-term I am embracing the help and accepting all the naughtiness that comes with it. That's why this week, instead of giving you something involving steamed bean sprouts, I'm giving you a fruity compromise. These blueberry oatmeal bars are a little on the naughty side, but they are packed full of good stuff too. Oats provide an excellent source of gentle, soluble fibre and blueberries are rich in immune-boosting and heart-protective antioxidants. Treat yourself!

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose and ½ cup whole-wheat flour (or gluten free equivalent)

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 ½ cups soft brown sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest

¾ cup cold Earth Balance margarine (not the soy version)

3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

1. Combine the flours, oats, 1 cup of the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and orange zest in a large bowl.

2. Rub in the cold Earth Balance until you have coarse crumbs. Set two cups aside for the topping and press the rest into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Set to one side.

3. In a medium saucepan bring the blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and remaining sugar to a boil. Stir constantly for two minutes allowing the fruit to soften.

4. Spread the blueberry mixture over the base and then cover with the remaining crumbs.

5. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, until slightly browned on top.

6. Cool before cutting into squares makes about 30.

* The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is a fully qualified Nutritional Therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a Registered Dietitian. She can be contacted at nourishbda[AT]gmail.com

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Published August 19, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 19, 2011 at 10:17 am)

A little on the naughty side, but blueberry oatmeal bars are packed with good stuff too

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