Archive for Back to School Healthy

Back to School PB&J Bars

Well, here we are. Michael and I both started school last week.

It looks pretty different for both of us. It looks pretty different than it ever has.

I’m teaching four courses via online platforms, some with a live video component, some without. Michael is doing his last year of high school, and he’s going to classes half time, and doing classes at home half time.

I have concerns. In many other places around the country where they started school earlier than us, COVID cases are popping up. Let’s just say I’m not wild about the idea of him having to go to school… but at this moment it’s the best option.


All this week, my brain has been occupied with back to school food thoughts. What? That’s totally a thing!

This time of the year, I always start thinking about meal prep and making stuff for the freezer we can use later. I know the world is different this year, that we’ll all be spending more time at home, so meal prep isn’t as big a deal.

But it still doesn’t account for how exhausting zoom classes are, so I stand by my need to have healthy options in the freezer when I am too tired to cook.

These PB&J Bars are one of those options. They’re equal parts grab-and-go breakfast and healthy after school snack, portable, freezable, yummy.

You can also customize them and spice them up a little by adding in your favourite ingredients, like nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit or coconut.

The original recipe calls for peanut butter, and that’s what I used because it’s what I have on hand (and I love it), but feel free to swap out the peanut butter for any other nut butters you may have on hand; almond or cashew would work just fine.


PB&J Bars

(recipe courtesy of Leann Brown’s Good and Cheap)


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut or nut butter
  • 1/2 cup jam (divided)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • pinch of salt


  1. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, place the oats and the crispy rice cereal, and any other additions you desire; dried fruit, coconut, mini chocolate chips?
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, place the peanut butter, half of the jam, the water and the salt. Stir and let heat until everything is melted all together.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour over the oat/crispy rice mixture in the bowl and mix well together.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Now dollop additional blobs of peanut butter and the reserved jam over the top of the bars, and use a knife to swirl it.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container on the countertop or freeze them if you are making a bigger batch.

Overnight Goji Oats

It kills me to write the following sentence, but:

The kids go back to school today.

I know that I, for one, have at least one member of the household that is deeply unhappy that this day has arrived.

We have spent the last two months footloose and fancy-free, flip-flop clad, jumping (literally) in lakes, exploring other cities and countries and making a game of how few nights we spent sleeping in our own beds at home.

The answer is about 3, and we are wildly proud of that fact.

But reality is now coming crashing down. Michael is starting Grade 9, and I am back teaching as of next Monday. A busy fall schedule awaits us both. *sob*

One more moment of silence as we mourn carefree, sunny summer days that were our own.

Okay. Now that that’s done, let’s turn our focus to the matter at hand: school. I’ve already loaded the freezer up with lots of healthy, quick grab-and-go lunches: homemade vegetarian pizza pockets made with yams, Trader Joe’s vegan chorizo, and beans, and individually-sized containers of Cuban rice and beans that I can quickly heat up in the microwave.

But breakfast. That’s the kicker. I usually resort to smoothies, or I’ll make breakfast cookies or homemade granola bars.

But I also love me some Overnight Oats. You see, the thing is, you can really pack a lot of good stuff into your Overnight Oats.Gojoy Goji Berries

Like Gojis, for example. I was tickled pink to discover that there is a local farm here in Vancouver that’s growing gojis. Up until now, our only way of getting this superfood was by purchasing them dry (imported from China). I really like the fresh ones, they have a pop of tartness, and did I mention how good they are for you??

This overnight oat recipe can be customized to how you like it. Be sure to make up 3-5 to last you a whole week of healthy, grab-and-go breakfasts.


Overnight Goji Oats

Ingredients (for each individual serving)

  • 250-ml mason jars with lids
  • 2-3 tbsp oats (not instant)
  • 1 tbsp ground, roasted flax
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp vegan protein powder(I like vanilla)
  • 8-12 fresh goji berries
  • 1-2 tbsp dried fruit like cranberries, dates or raisins
  • 2 tbsp yogurt (or non-dairy yogourt if you want to keep it vegan)
  • 2 tbsp non dairy milk
  • a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • a tiny pinch of salt
  • a drizzle of maple syrup


  1. Place all the dry ingredients in the bottom of the mason jar, and give it a shake to combine.
  2. Now add the wet ingredients and shake/stir well to mix everything together.
  3. Place the lid on and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, grab and go.
  4. If you like, you can add extras, like nuts/seeds, or blob of peanut butter and jelly.



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