Gluten-Free Autumn Amaranth Bars

I had a moment yesterday where I questioned what I was doing.

What if, what I do doesn’t matter?

I know it matters.

But sometimes.  Sometimes.  I wonder.  That’s what being isolated does to you.  At home all day with the kids with no loving husband present.   And right now it’s just Hyrum & Salem.  Asher & Mali are still away with my mom, visiting family.  So it’s me, the seven year old, the eighteen month old, and, the dog.

Did I mention we’ve had a dog for the past month?  Kind of on loan from my brother.

This dog ought to be renamed Trouble.  Cute, I’d say adorable, perhaps a bit sweet, but trouble, nonetheless.

Here’s the rundown of our month together:  he caught & killed a baby squirrel, molested a rooster, did his business on our carpet (several times).  Since he’s been under my sole care for the past week while my mom’s been out of town, he’s run away a few times.  He chewed up Hyrum’s baseball glove & jump rope.  I’ve caught him chewing up Salem’s dirty diapers (don’t ask how he got those).

Hyrum, who has wanted a dog since he could talk, now has had his wish come true, but he says he’ll take a cat now, thanks.

Things I’ve learned from this dog:

1)  Dogs are like toddlers.  Cute.  They have personality.  They need & want love.  Therefore, they require a certain amount of attention.  A bit more than say, a houseplant.

2)  As long as I have a babe in diapers, or a toddler, or anyone under the age of 5, I don’t want a dog.

3)  Unfortunate, because Salem really loves this dog.  She toddles around after him, batting his tail, saying “come, come!”  She feeds him, wrestles with him, gives him kisses & snuggles into his fur.  It’s rather adorable, but I have to be honest with myself, several children + a toddler + a dog is not something I think would be good for my mental state.

Oh yes, another naughty thing he did:  he ate the leftover dessert from the other night.

Amaranth autumn bars.

I made them for a family get-together on Sunday.

There were a few leftover, so when I came home I brought them into the kitchen, along with a beautiful white salad bowl & set them on the counter.

I left the kitchen to take care of the bed time routine–PJ’s on, teeth brushed.  I was working on Salem’s teeth, & mid brush, I hear–crash!  I ran upstairs to find the guilty culprit (the infamous doggy) staring at the broken salad bowl & upturned pyrex pan.  All of my autumn bars, gone.

I don’t want to flatter myself (because who does that, anyway?), but they must have been pretty darn good.  For a dog to figure out how to snatch some off the cupboard & gobble them up in less than 10 seconds.

They are good, & taste like autumn.

I was inspired by this recipe, but then when I realized I didn’t have any more canned pumpkin (blame it on my current pumpkin pie smoothie addiction), add the fact I wanted to use some amaranth flour I had on hand, I decided to go the experimental route.  That can be a dangerous route to go, especially since I was strapped for time, & this was going to be for a family gathering.

I decided to go for an apple theme, because, how can you go wrong with apples?

Plus, I’m living in apple country right now & we’re in the thick of apple season.  Lots of apples to be had.

I made two versions of the bars.

On Sunday night I made version 1:  amaranth & oat autumn bars with “cream cheese” frosting.  Version 2, I made last night for another family get together with Joseph’s side of the family: amaranth & oat gingerbread bars with coconut milk glaze.

Both night’s these bars had to compete with store bought cake.  Hyrum & Salem had seconds of my bars, then thirds (I know, what kind of parent am I?!).

I had approximately 5-7+ servings last night alone.

Point is, these are good stuff.

Trust me, okay?


(And be a good reader & follow the directions.
Otherwise don’t come crying to me, that your bars didn’t turn out.)

Gluten-Free Autumn Amaranth Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 24 squares

Serving Size: 1 square

Calories per serving: 106 (with cream cheese), 118 (with glaze)

Fat grams per serving: 3.6 (with cream cheese), 3 (with glaze)

Gluten-free, vegan dessert bars perfect for autumn. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, oats, & amaranth. Amaranth is a nutty, earthy grain (actually a seed, similar to quinoa in that way) that lends itself quite well to fall foods & flavors.


  • 1 c. oat flour (about 1 1/2 c. old fashioned oats)
  • 1 c. amaranth flour (or additional oat flour)
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 TBS. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 c. sucanat
  • 1/3 c. stevia in the raw (or additional sucanat)
  • 3/4 c. applesauce
  • 1 medium apple, grated (about 1 c. grated apple)
  • 3/4 c. full-fat canned coconut milk
  • extra cinnamon for dusting
  • For cream cheese frosting
  • 1/2 block firm tofu
  • 2 TBS. canned coconut milk
  • 3 TBS. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional topping)
  • For coconut milk glaze:
  • 1 1/2 c. unsifted organic powder sugar
  • 2 tsp. canned coconut milk


  1. Your house is going to smell awesome when this is in the oven. You're going to want to make these just so you can smell the warm scents of cinnamon & nutmeg mixing together. To prepare for this awesomeness, preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Make your oat flour in a food processor by dumping oats in & turning on high (also works in a Blendtec). Process until fine flour.
  3. Sift oat & amaranth flours with nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, stevia, & evaporated cane juice.
  4. Add applesauce, grated apple, & coconut milk.
  5. Stir to combine. Mixture will be very thick.
  6. Pour mixture into non-stick or "greased" (sprayed with non-stick spray) 9 X 13 pan.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a baking rack.
  9. For frostings:
  10. Combine ingredients in a food processer & process until smooth. Store cream cheese frosting in fridge until ready to use. This will help it firm up. The coconut milk glaze will be very thick. You can add additional milk if you'd like it to be less firm. I like it thick & firm because it dries more like icing which is fitting for the gingerbread theme.
  11. Once autumn bars have cooled, frost with frosting. Top with chopped walnuts & cut into 24 squares. Using a small strain sieve, dust tops lightly with cinnamon.
  12. For gingerbread option:
  13. Add 1/4 tsp. ground ginger to the dry mix. Frost with coconut milk glaze when the cake is still warm. No need to cool, a warm cake will help the glaze spread. The glaze will firm up as it cools. Top with walnuts.

Additional Nutrition Info: Per Square: With cream cheese: 3.6 g protein, 76 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 2 g fiber With glaze: 118 calories, 3 g fat, 21 g carbs, 2.5 g protein

Coming up:  Second installment in series on homeschooling.

Also, looking for more healthy, allergy-friendly, vegan & gluten-free recipes?  Check out this week’s Wellness Weekend, where this & many other recipes are shared.


Do you have a dog?  Dog & kids?


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  2. Shirleen
    on October 17, 2013 at 9:58 am said:

    Is it really 1/3c Stevia? That seems like a lot & I want them to turn out right. Thanks.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm said:

      Yes, not powdered green stevia, but stevia in the raw. It’s a brand of stevia that you can use in baking.

  3. Heather @TheSoulfulSpoon
    on October 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm said:

    These are incredible! So beautiful!! I bet they smell divine out of the oven. I need to try to branch out of my normal go-to baking recipes. This looks like a great place to start, thanks!:)

    Good luck with the dog:) Animals have a way of helping you work everything out, even when it seems much less than a perfect scenario:)


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  6. Anne
    on October 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm said:

    They’ve been in the oven for 10 minutes and smell amazing! I’m doing the gingerbread version as I’m soy-free (thanks for an alternative!) I made a decision that I’m hoping was correct… did you mean evaporated cane juice liquid or granules? I opted for granules since the directions had you mix them with other dry stuff… consistency seemed okay when I mixed it all together. Thanks!

    Oh yeah, you definitely do matter… especially because you’re teaching your children! I come from a family of public school teachers, and teachers are the extremely important people, whether home or outside.

  7. Ileana
    on October 7, 2012 at 7:20 am said:

    Adorable post. I am a hardcore dog person, but there was a stretch when I did not have a dog in the house and that was when my children were small. They do require a lot of attention. The dogs were back when my youngest was a pre-schooler.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 9, 2012 at 8:57 am said:

      Yes, I could see us having a dog once the youngest is a bit older. Right now I have my hands full, especially with the littlest one who is still toddling around in diapers!

  8. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on October 5, 2012 at 6:43 am said:

    Wow I neeeed these bars! They sound so festive (yes I consider fall a holiday season- it’s my favourite!)

    • Janae Wise
      on October 5, 2012 at 10:05 am said:

      Yes, I agree with you Gabby–fall IS a holiday season 🙂 !

  9. Ashlee @ Plant Infusions
    on October 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm said:

    I have never worked with evaporated cane juice, and I would LOVE to make these delicious looking bars. Does it have a similar consistency to maple syrup or agave nectar?

    I am always attracted to earthy grains in desserts. And these are oil free! Awesome! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Ashley F.
    on October 3, 2012 at 9:14 am said:

    Those bars look fantastic! I am always looking for new ways to use amaranth.

    I think dogs are adorbs, but my cat is where it’s at 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on October 3, 2012 at 9:21 am said:

      I can see now why people one would get a cat over a dog.

  11. Brittney Walker
    on October 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm said:

    I’ve always loved dogs. My husband and I always thought we’d have one and with four boys a dog would fit right in. Not gonna happen. Years ago I realized: I could get a dog or I could have another baby. Why would I get a dog (perpetual toddler) when I could fit a whole other person in my family? Yeah, not for us. My husband and son being bitten in separate incidents in the last year sealed that deal. My kids are surprisingly cool with it too. They don’t love the idea of the responsibility. My kids are some of those that actually have responsibilities so they know how not-fun they can be. 🙂

    Those bars look amazing! I can’t ever find amaranth so I’ll do them with all oat flour but these are definitely in the plans for this week! And can you believe I still haven’t tried the pumpkin smoothie thing? Me either! So gonna happen.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 3, 2012 at 9:54 am said:

      “Years ago I realized: I could get a dog or I could have another baby. Why would I get a dog (perpetual toddler) when I could fit a whole other person in my family.”

      I’ve come to a very similar conclusion, Brittney :).

  12. Cadry
    on October 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm said:

    First of all, you so matter! I know the feeling sometimes, but you totally matter. 🙂

    Second, that’s too bad about Trouble and his hearty appetite for treats and other antics. It sounds like he’s a handful, but at least you know that having a dog as a companion is something to put off for a while! We have two lovely cats, and as much as I’d love to have a dog, I think my cats would disown me. They like things calm and comfortable. Plus, their care is pretty easy. As long as they get a clean litter box, treats, enough food to hide the stainless steel of their bowl, and plenty of cuddles, they’re happy.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 3, 2012 at 9:53 am said:

      I’m with you on the cat issue. Cats tend to be way more low-key. Aside from the shedding & litter box cleaning, they seem like they can pretty much take care of themselves. That sounds pretty awesome to me!

  13. Beth @ Tasty Yummies
    on October 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm said:

    Gosh these look amazing. I know everyone else is saying this, but you do matter! For sure, your blog super inspires me and I appreciate you so much for that.
    I do know that feeling though, I feel it quite often, especially with my own blog and heck even our business. I often wonder if anyone cares, if it matters, if I am wasting my time, etc. Ultimately the joy I feel from those things and most everything I do, always beats out that wonder and doubt.
    BTW I hear ya on the dog thing, with us not having kids, our 2-year old dog is our baby! We spoil her and I really view her as our child in a lot of ways, she definitely keeps us busy though and I cannot imagine keeping up with her and having kids on top of that, it would be quite the handful. Dogs are no small or insignificant responsibility and I think until you are in it yourself, there is no real way to know that or see it. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on October 3, 2012 at 10:11 am said:

      “I know everyone else is saying this, but you do matter!”

      No such thing as *too much* positive affirmation. Thank you, Beth! It really does brighten my day, you’ve no idea.

      “Ultimately the joy I feel from those things and most everything I do, always beats out that wonder and doubt.”

      I agree, focusing on the joy (& there must be joy, otherwise, why do it?) is what makes the challenge of it all worth it.

  14. Daisy
    on October 2, 2012 at 11:36 am said:

    Those bars look absolutely amazing, Janae!

    As for the dog, depending on the age and natural learning abilities and stubbornness, these tips may or may not work:

    *Put vanilla on toys he’s allowed to have. Any time you catch him with something’s that not his, give him a firm, pack-leader NO, then give him something that has the vanilla on it. They are scent-driven and usually learn that things that have been given the vanilla scent are okay for them to have.

    *You can train him to *not* eat food. This might take time and might take longer than you will be fostering, but it can be worth a shot. You throw a piece of food on the floor but immediately tell him NO when he wants to get it and just have him sit and wait. Do the same thing with even filling his bowl–make him wait until you tell him okay. You keep doing little training and eventually, they get the idea that you are pack leader, you say when they can eat (it’s actually a natural pack behaviour) and they will stop getting into food that’s not theirs. They should not be taking food that has dropped accidentally or anything like that. (Yes, you are right, having a dog is much like having a toddler! Training, training, training! But it’s worth it.)

    *For the pee issue… Kind of depends if the peeing is because he doesn’t know how to tell you or if it’s some other issue. If it’s just that he’s not knowing how to tell you, if you can get your hands on some little bells you can hang from the door he is to use to go out, you might be able to train him to ring them when he needs to go out. We trained our dog that way when she was a puppy and it’s fantastic!

    I know Cesar Millan has stuff on his website but don’t know how much would be applicable: There are also a lot of videos from the show available in YouTube, including one from an episode where the dog was obsessed with chasing chickens. 🙂 Could be of some help!

    Good luck!!!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm said:

      Daisy, you sweetie! Look at you, taking so much time to help a girl out. Bless you. So many great tips you’ve given me, I’ll make sure to check into Cesar Millan. Thanks for the help & support!

  15. Wendy
    on October 2, 2012 at 9:08 am said:

    Don’t ever doubt that what you do matters. Everything you do matters! To your kids and to those of us who have grown to depend on you for a daily smile.

    I think the feeling is something we all go through from time to time. Working at home and caring for children (and homeschooling!) is HARD.

    Isolation is something that I’ve also been feeling so profoundly lately and honestly sometimes I feel like the sheer loneliness is driving me crazy. (And my husband is here…) I find myself overthinking everything to the point of doing almost nothing. And that is so not me.

    Now for the dog. Do you think you can have Hyrum talk to my boys? 🙂 They are set on a Jack Russell Terrier that they have had named for over a year. And, as a dear friend who had one explained, that’s like having 2 two year olds. Not exactly what I need right now!

    These bars look amazing!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm said:

      Wendy, it would be so great if we could go out to lunch sometime. I wish we could. We’d really have lots to talk about, it sounds like! Definitely experiencing a lot of the same things right now. Glad to know I’m not alone. Thank you for your kind words, & so happy to see you back to posting. Love your quinoalicious recipes :).

  16. Julie G
    on October 2, 2012 at 9:02 am said:

    Funny about the dog. My brother’s dog got the remainders of my nephew’s birthday cake from the center of a good-sized table while we visited this summer. And this dog is a well-trained certified rescue dog! They are just ornery…I never had a dog, until 5 years ago when I prayed for a stray cat for the kids, we ended up within 2 weeks with a stray dog! He was perfect for the ages of my kids at that time, but would have not worked when they were smaller. You will know when the time is right, if you decide on one later 😉

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm said:

      I agree with you on the timing. I’m open to the idea of having one someday, the time is not now, however.

      Funny about the birthday cake–dogs just can’t help themselves (kinda like humans, that way, huh?).

  17. Constance
    on October 2, 2012 at 9:01 am said:

    Oh, your adorable puppy reminds me of both our dogs – but he looks so much like the one we have left – who was an utter hand full when we first got her (at six months).

    The running away; chewing on things; being highly mischievousness; doing her business anywhere she pleased (thankfully all outside, though).

    We’ve endured all her changes and maturing – and love her. Now that she’s ten; we’ll have to plan for her imminent departure.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm said:

      So sweet. What a blessing that you’ve had her with you all these years!

  18. Candice
    on October 2, 2012 at 8:23 am said:

    That made me laugh and pity you at the same time! We have a dog. We got her so that I would feel safer when my husband is out of town, which I do, but oh is she TROUBLE!! She has done all of the above, including stealing from the kitchen (she is now exiled to the outdoors except to sleep at night) as well as maintaining a strong determination to shake the life out of my kitten. Ahhhh. Dogs are so much work!!!…But the autumn bars do look good, so I guess I can’t blame him. 😉

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm said:

      Oh, poor kitty! I hope she’s okay. Dog’s are a boat load of work. Sheesh. I think I can do a fish, but maybe I’m not even ready for that kind of commitment in my life right now.

  19. lfwfv
    on October 2, 2012 at 8:13 am said:

    These look awesome! I have never tried amaranth flour…i’ve cooked the grain a few times, but didn’t think it was anything too special…kinda like a cream of wheat texture to me, and i tend to prefer quinoa and brown rice most days. I’ll be bookmarking this recipe for future reference….

    What you do totally matters by the way. Funny how working at home, in a self-directed way, somehow feels less important than going to work at an office etc.. I don’t know why that is….maybe because we ask ourselves “if i didn’t actually do any work today, would anybody even care? would anybody be upset?” There’s a certain lack of accountability or something, and I think we need to trust that we’re self-motivated and driven enough to be doing work that’s worthwhile, even if nobody else is really “depending” on it.

    That said, I can say i would miss it if you did not do the work you do, and the world would miss out on the wonderful kids you are raising if you stopped working to be such a great momma to them!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm said:

      “These look awesome! I have never tried amaranth flour…i’ve cooked the grain a few times, but didn’t think it was anything too special…kinda like a cream of wheat texture to me, and i tend to prefer quinoa and brown rice most days.”

      I actually LOVE amaranth grain for breakfast cereal. It sort of reminds me of tapioca pudding, but much, much better.

      “Funny how working at home, in a self-directed way, somehow feels less important than going to work at an office etc.. I don’t know why that is….maybe because we ask ourselves “if i didn’t actually do any work today, would anybody even care? would anybody be upset?” There’s a certain lack of accountability or something, and I think we need to trust that we’re self-motivated and driven enough to be doing work that’s worthwhile, even if nobody else is really “depending” on it.”

      The self-directed part is one of the most challenging aspects. It’s hard to have the self-discipline & courage to go above & beyond (especially with my kids), when I don’t *have* to. My motivation definitely comes from a more intrinsic place, which helps. But there are days when I have to really kick myself in the pants, so to speak, to get out of bed & strive for excellence in what I’m doing at home, even though it often seems like no one cares or notices. Excelling at motherhood & homemaking does require a large amount of self-motivation–especially when there’s no husband around to offer affirmation & support.

      Thanks for your friendship & support, Tanya! ox

  20. Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit
    on October 2, 2012 at 8:04 am said:

    Is it isolation that does it? Man, I’ve gotten that feeling so much lately. Just means I need to get out more I suppose. And you’re right, it DOES matter, but I totally get what you’re saying.

    Nothing a little amaranth can’t fix though, right? Gosh, these look great!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm said:

      “Just means I need to get out more I suppose.”

      YES! Especially since you’re in a new place & you work from home. So easy to become super isolated & forget there are REAL life people to connect with out there. Thankfully I have a built in network of lots of extended family that I see on a nearly daily basis. They, & my kids, help me stay grounded & not so lonely.

  21. Ricki
    on October 2, 2012 at 7:13 am said:

    These look fantastic! I must try them. (AND follow directions). 😉

    Okay, now on to dogs. Well, you probably know my feeling about dogs. . . I adore them and there’s nothing like them. Then again, I don’t have kids. If I had children (of any age below, say, 21), I would not have dogs. Our dogs are pretty much ideal. Neither one of them has ever (ever) chewed any of our possessions, furniture, socks, anything. We have dinner parties with foods set out at nose-height on coffee tables, and I have absolutely no fear that the dogs will even go to smell the stuff, let alone eat it. They had one or two accidents as puppies and nothing since (now ages 10 and 6).

    Having said that, they are just regular canines who would naturally do all of those things. .. IF I hadn’t been training them 24/7 for the first 4-6 months. It was a HUGE amount of work. And without good initial training, there can be problems evermore after that. A friend of mine has a 13 year old dog who is still locked in a crate every time the friend leaves the house, because the dog eats socks, garbage, etc. Not the dog’s fault, in my opinion–just poor (or lack of) training.

    So I think you are wise to realize how much (or little) time time you have to devote to a dog and take it from there. Personally, I can’t imagine how parents manage to take care of children and still do anything else in life. . . it seems amazingly daunting to those of us looking at it from this angle! 😀

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm said:

      “So I think you are wise to realize how much (or little) time time you have to devote to a dog and take it from there.”

      I see it all too often. People like the “idea” of a dog, but they have no idea just how much work, time & energy (& money) it goes into being a good dog owner. I know my limits, it’s true!

      I think it’s so fab you have two lovely dogs in your family. No doubt, their company adds to you & your husband’s quality of life. Someday I’m sure we’ll have a dog. Just not now :).

  22. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on October 2, 2012 at 7:08 am said:

    We have a dog, he is small (only 8 pounds), however I’ve always had a dog and really have a hard time going without. We had a dog about 9 years ago steal the turkey from the counter after Thanksgiving dinner (felt a bit like the movie A Christmas Story)…but that is about as bad as it has ever gotten. We stick to small dogs now to avoid that.
    I am very intrigued by the amaranth, as I had never tried it, and your bars do look delicious (I promise I will be a good reader and follow the directions). If nothing else I think I will make the coconut milk glaze because it sounds so very tasty.
    I hope today goes better and that the dog doesn’t steal, or break, anything else 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm said:

      Yes, I think a small dog would be more doable. However, I like the rough-and-tumble aspect of the bigger dogs (& so do my boys). Guess you can’t have everything.

      So funny that your dog stole the Thanksgiving turkey! Dogs can create a lot of memories, don’t they?

  23. Joy
    on October 2, 2012 at 6:09 am said:

    When I saw your tweet about the dog yesterday I was tempted to write back but my response would’ve been more than 140 characters. Dogs are such hard work! We’ve been considering getting one because James loves dogs but I fear the attention they need isn’t what I could give them. (I loved your house plant comment, by the way.) I hate that I’m confessing this, but I think that I may be more of a cat person. NICE cats. I love Maine Coons, which are the most dog-like cats, so does that make it less wrong?

    Also, those amaranth bars look amazing. No wonder the naughty dog devoured them!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm said:

      “I hate that I’m confessing this, but I think that I may be more of a cat person. NICE cats. I love Maine Coons, which are the most dog-like cats, so does that make it less wrong?”

      Nothing wrong with being the weird cat lady :). J/K. I like cats. I didn’t used to, but I have a new-found appreciation for their docile (albeit somewhat neurotic) behavior. I’ve never heard of Maine-Coons…