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As far as I’m considered, summer is here.

I don’t need a calendar to tell me. Or the summer solstice – that’s still a month away.

I know this because I am constantly sweating.

T.M.I.? maybe.

But for someone who is cold 99% of the time this is clear as an unmuddied summertime lake or water in the Bahamas all year round. Yeah, that clear.

I can walk outside at night in a tank top, flip-flops, and shorts and not be cold. That = summer.

The MD humidity is out in full force. I never knew my hair was curly until I moved to MD. Now it refuses to be straight for 5 months out of the year.

And the final reason why I know it is summer is because the only two things my body craves are: fruit and ice cream.

In buying large amounts of fruit to supply my addiction, every once in a while I end up not eating them fast enough and being faced with some spoiling fruit. A.K. claims that 50% of my paycheck goes towards fruit. He’s wrong. But it can get pricy, even when only buying on sale.

In this case it was strawberries. I refuse to waste fruit, and always try to find some way to turn the spoiling fruit into a wonderful baked good.

I got this deliciously healthy inspiration from Clean Eating Chelsey‘s recipe. However, I have to admit I changed it up a bit. She is vegan and gluten-free, which doesn’t bother me when making a recipe, but for some reason I didn’t have enough of the wet ingredients to cover the dry ingredients, so I ended up making a few adjustments.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

(makes 16-20 bars, depending on cutting preferences)

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 banana, smashed
  • 2 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1/4 c  sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2T oil or 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 pound strawberries, divided
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 3 dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, oats, baking soda, and salt – mix these ingredients together. In another small mixing bowl, combine your smashed banana, vanilla, agave, water, and almond milk. Stir until semi-smooth and add to your dry ingredients. Stir the bar batter until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. Set aside the batter.

To make the filling, first hull all of your strawberries. In a food processor, process 3/4 of the strawberries with the dates. Dice the rest of the strawberries and add them to the strawberry filling.

To assemble the bars, first spray an 9×9 pan with cooking spray. Spread half of the batter evenly on the bottom of the pan and top with the strawberry filling and almonds. 

Gently drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter on top of the filling. Sprinkle the bars with coconut, dates, and cinnamon.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

This snack or dessert isn’t too sugary, most of the sweetness comes from the strawberries and dates. My father would love this. He loves healthy, nutritious desserts, especially if dates or raisins are involved. I will have to make these again for Father’s Day.

Are you feeling summer in the air? What are the distinct signs of summer for you?

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