It is truly astounding how much I hate babysitting.
I love my own children with an intense, unending, smothering love and literally never get tired of the blessing of getting to stay home with them. But, schedule me to be in a room with 10+ children, such as in our church nursery, and I literally break a nervous sweat days in advance. I am a person of routine, structure, mutual understanding, and order. I want to take every one of those children and put them in one space and make them stay. I don’t want anyone to cry for more than a second – 2 minutes of crying and any inkling of sympathy I had mustered is long gone and I am wondering how quickly I can get that sadness away from me. I watch the clock like a hawk, which undoubtedly makes things worse, and I get home and feel like I need 32 showers.
I cannot think of a single required task in my life that I dislike more than mass babysitting.
This intense hatred leaves me feeling guilty more often than not. What kind of a person hates taking care of other people’s children? What kind of mom detests nurseries, which are supposed to be a break, simply because I have to take a turn? This is the kind of personality detail I feel is best kept to oneself, but what are blogs for if not to open oneself up to mass judgement?
You may find it amusing to know that I agreed to be on the Nursery Committee at church, where the mandate is certainly not “abolish nurseries”. Irony and acquiescence, you twisty beasts.
It doesn’t help that our nursery doesn’t allow snacks, to minimize issues with things like food allergies, ant infestations, and choking, to name a few. If we could serve food, like these peanut butter, Nutella and jam oat bars, I would feel a lot calmer and I’m sure there would be a lot fewer sad faces and moody toy snatchers.
At least I can have them at home to feed my own kids, and to distract myself with chewing while I try to forget the horror.
THE HORROR. It’s too fresh.
So yes. Breakfast bars, because they are chock full of breakfast ingredients, they taste delicious at breakfast, and they are healthier than many a cereal masquerading as a healthy breakfast option. Oats continue to be one of my life’s true loves, so much more predictably lovable than children. Don’t hate me.
- 2 cups large flake rolled oats (quick-cooking also work ok, or a combination of the two)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
- ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup Nutella or other chocolate spread
- ⅓ cup raspberry or strawberry jam
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, extending the parchment paper up the sides to make it easy to lift the whole works out to cut later, or grease lightly.
- In large bowl, melt butter and peanut butter together in the microwave. Add Nutella and stir until smooth. Add oats, flour, flax, brown sugar and salt and stir thoroughly until everything is evenly coated.
- Reserve ½ cup of oat mixture for topping, then press remaining mixture into prepared baking dish. Having slightly damp hands makes this easier, or spray the back of a spatula with cooking spray to press it down. Spoon jam in 4 evenly-spaced-ish lines over the oat mixture, then crumble reserved mixture over the top, pressing it down lightly before baking.
- Bake for 30-33 minutes, until set and edges are slightly golden. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Adapted from The Yummy Mummy Kitchen (2013) via Culinary Covers.