strawberry chia seed jam breakfast bars and the paradox of choice

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling Back

Having too many choices can be a bad thing.  I’m in the starting phases of remodeling my kitchen and am feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions that need to be made.  I want a functional beautiful kitchen that will make me happy for many years to come.  And that’s where the trouble begins.  The thought of being stuck with the choices I’m making for the next 10 to 15 years terrifies me.  What if I make the wrong choice?  What if I choose a product and something better comes along next week?  I know it’s silly to stress myself out about this but I have this vision of a perfect kitchen in my head and I want to make it a reality.  But when I am faced with all these options I second guess myself.  I’ll come out and say it, commitment scares me.  We live in a world where almost everything is disposable.  Our tv’s, our cars, our computers, our relationships.  We’ve been taught that if it doesn’t work out, we can just start over.  Well I don’t want to start over.  I want to get it just right, love it, and be happy with the choices I make.

I don’t do well with too many choices.  When I go into a Cheesecake Factory I literally feel sick to my stomach once I start looking at the menu.  The paradox of choice has always been a problem for me.  I like to keep things simple and having too many options makes my brain hurt.  The more choices I have the more certain I am that I will be unsatisfied with what I settle on and always regret that I didn’t get something else regardless of how good the item I settle on is.

I know that it will be an improvement over what I have now and I am trying to take it one step at a time but I can’t believe how many decisions have to be made.  I went to a stone yard today and spent the better part of an hour wandering through the vast selections of granite, marble and manufactured stone.  The good news is that I easily eliminated 95% of the inventory and I’ve narrowed it down to two.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, it’s a great problem to have I just wish it felt easier to make these decisions.  The last time I did a kitchen was 11 years ago and I always regretted that I let other people make a lot of decisions for me and I was unsatisfied with the results.  This time I’m trying to take every detail into account so I don’t have anyone to blame but myself.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling BackStrawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling Back

Since I’ve been spending so much time trying to coordinate all the house projects, I’ve been looking for some quick snacks that aren’t full of sugar.  I made a super easy chia seed jam with some frozen strawberries and adapted this recipe from the book Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons to omit the dairy.  If you haven’t checked out this book from Megan Gordon you should really search a copy out.  It’s full of wonderful and unique breakfast recipes featuring whole grains.  The result is reminiscent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The crumb mixture is comprised of almonds and oats that are finely ground into a flour and paired with the not too sweet jelly they make a great breakfast on the go or afternoon snack.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling Back

strawberry chia seed jam breakfast bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 bars
Reminiscent of your favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich these delightful bars are made with a homemade strawberry chia seed jam.
  • Strawberry Chia Seed Jam
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) frozen organic strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Breakfast Bars
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced raw almonds
  • ½ cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
  • Topping
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sliced raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  1. For the strawberry chia seed jam:
    In a medium saucepan, combine the berries, with the honey and lemon juice. Cut the vanilla bean down the center, scrape the seeds out and add them both to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the berries are soft and the mixture has thickened slightly Lightly crush the berries with a potato masher or fork. Add the chia seeds, remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool refrigerate the jam for at least one hour. I usually make the jam the night before and let it set up in the refrigerator, it will thicken considerably as it cools.
  2. For the Breakfast squares:
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a 8x11-inch pan.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the oats, almonds, coconut, and sesame seeds until they start to form a course meal, about 30-45 seconds. Add the flour, brown sugar, cardamom, salt and baking powder and pulse to combine. Add the egg and coconut oil. Add the ice water a tablespoon at a time just until the mixture begins to come together.
  4. Press half of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the chia jam onto the crust and spread evenly. In a small bowl combine the coconut, raw almonds, black sesame seeds and turbinado sugar for the topping. Take about half of the mixture and lightly mix it into the remaining crust mixture and scatter it across the top of the jam, trying to cover most of the pan but don't worry if it isn't perfect, that's not what we are looking for. Sprinkle the rest of the topping over the top.
  5. Bake until the crumble is golden brown and the jam is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan. Slice into bars. If wrapped and kept at room temperature, the bars will keep for 3 days.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling Back

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling BackStrawberry Chia Seed Jam Breakfast Bars - Scaling Backm

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  • Meet Tina | Scaling Back Blog

    Self-taught cook, photographer.  You can usually find me at a farmers market dreaming up alternative recipes for my allergy prone family.

    3 thoughts on “strawberry chia seed jam breakfast bars and the paradox of choice

    1. Dee

      SO glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with decisions! I too have trouble with commitment. My husband and I bought our first house last year with the intent to remodel it, and he keeps trying to sit me down to get design ideas on paper and I can’t even get that far. It took us so so long to be able to buy our first house, I’m terrified that I’m going to make a wrong decision. I think I blame pinterest.

      1. Tina Post author

        Hi Dee,

        I completely agree with you about the Pinterest problem. I love to find inspiration there but sometimes it makes me feel inadequate. I wish my house always looked like it was ready to be pinned but I have to remind myself that those photos are the best representation of those spaces. Good luck with the new house, I’m thinking about sharing my remodeling experiences here on the site if I can remember to take photos along the way!

    2. Lori Keim

      Hi Tina, I would love to make this but I have a gluten intolerance. Do you think gf flour would work? Thank you so much!


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