I love cooking with herbs and spices, so I have a lot. Having so many different spices means they came from different stores, in different bags, containers, etc. It can become an unorganized mess, so this weekend, I decided to tackle the spice cabinet! With the New Year freshly among us, one can be inspired to de-cluttler their every day life, and I personally find it makes a huge difference in my motivation, productivity, and overall happiness. Sounds a little crazy when we’re merely talking about the spice cabinet, but I think most of us keep it quite messy and it becomes such a nuisance when you are cooking and looking for that one needed spice.
The nice thing is, this was a very inexpensive project, and is so satisfying when you are done. It did take me a little bit of time because I was very meticulous about writing as neatly as possible, and I have a ton of spices as you now know. All you need are small spice jars, a fine tip sharpie marker, and 1 inch transparent mailing seals. The spice jars I used are commonly found at Ikea but I found the exact same ones at the dollar store, 3 for $1.00. Total score.
The process is simple:
- Clean out the cabinet completely.
- Carefully fill each jar with your spices and herbs.
- Using a fine tip sharpie marker, write the name of the spice/herb on each mailing seal, then carefully peel off.
- The 1″ mailing seals fit perfectly on the groove of these dollar store (or Ikea) jars. Stick them onto the groove of the jar and press down lightly.
- Place the jars in the cabinet, and if you want to be even more organized, do so in an alphabetical manner.
- Enjoy the organization and overall neatness of your spice cabinet. Force the husband to maintain it.
Now, onto the healthiest blueberry oat bars I’ve ever made! These are really delicious, but not very sweet, aside from the natural sweetness of the blueberries and small amount of maple syrup. You can always use more natural sweetener but I would encourage you to try them as the recipe calls for. Let’s kick that sweet tooth this year, shall we?!
These blueberry oat bars are vegan, with no refined sugars, no refined flours, no added fat, and have a gluten free option by simply using gluten free oats.
The original recipe was adapted from Fat Free Vegan, which is a super vegan blog. Susan lost 100 pounds from adopting a vegan diet. How incredible is that? Plants for the win.
Blueberry Oat Bars Recipe
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water to form a smooth paste (a little less than 2 tablespoons)
- 3 cups oats (regular, not instant) + more from sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces unsweetened applesauce
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking dish. I used a smaller rounded dish, but if you have it, definitely use the 8×8, all the measurements of ingredients will fit perfectly.
- In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Put 1 1/2 cups of the oats into a blender and grind it to a fine powder. Pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining 1 1/2 cups oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the apple sauce, remaining 6 tbsps of maple syrup, 6 tbsps of water, and 1 tsp of vanilla, and mix well.
- Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the blueberry filling over the batter, and cover the blueberries with the remaining batter. Add a sprinkle of oats overtop.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.