Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal Bars {+ remembering Halley}

Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal Bars - simple, healthy & delicious! #glutenfree #healthy

I wanted this post to be all about these apricot oatmeal bars, but my world was rocked on Sunday in a way I was totally not ready for.

My dog Halley, the puppy I’d grown up with since I was little, passed away on Sunday afternoon after 13 amazing years of life. If you’ve ever lost a pet, then I’m sure you can relate with how I’m feeling. Emotional. Heartbroken. Lost. Unsure. Empty. There aren’t even words to explain the gaping hole in my heart.

It’s like this huge part of my life that was just ripped away from me without a moment’s notice and I’m left here trying to navigate this new world without her by my side. Losing a best friend is never easy.

Halley Rimmer | Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Dogs are just different. They love so effortlessly. So completely. A love that is totally unwavering. They will stand by your side with no question. Comfort you when you’re at your lowest. And help pick you back up with just a wag of their tail and a kiss on your face. There’s nothing like the love you share with an animal. It’s pure and true and real.

Halley Rimmer | Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Halley was incredible, in every sense of the word. She was smart, funny, playful and full of life. She was a best friend, a loyal companion and a precious member of our family. She will forever hold a special place in my heart, one that can never be filled. Part of her will always be with me.

Halley Rimmer | Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

As I look back on the wonderful 13 years we had together, there’s only one word that sticks out that describes her: joy. Pure joy. She was happy. She made us happy. We smiled more because of her. Laughed more because of her.  She brought us closer together as a family, and comforted us through the hard times. She was special. She is special. And I miss her more than words can describe.

May you rest in peace my little love. I know you’re in a happy place, watching over and still protecting us. I will love you forever.

And this recipe is dedicate to her. Not for any reason in particular, just that it was the recipe I made on Sunday and I felt needed to be shared with Halley’s story.

Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal Bars - simple, healthy & delicious. #glutenfree #healthy

Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 29 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

adapted from Six Sisters Stuff


  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup apricot preserves


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Mix in the honey and coconut oil and crumble with your hands until it resembles a coarse, sandy texture.
  3. Reserve 3/4 cup of the dough for the topping. Transfer the remaining dough into the greased baking pan and press it evenly into the pan.
  4. Spread the apricot reserves evenly over the layer of dough, leaving a little at the edges so it's easier to remove from the pan. Sprinkle with the reserve oat topping.
  5. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 - 35 minutes until the oats are golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

  • Erin B

    I have a new pup, but I still miss the one I lost almost 2 years ago… hugs…
    As for the recipe, could you use apricots instead of apricot jam? Maybe you’d have to cook them down?

  • Alisha @ Gluten Free Perspective

    So so sorry to hear about your pup! It’s never easy to lose one our dear four-legged-friends. The dog I grew up with passed away a couple years ago and I made one of those Shutterfly books with a ton of pictures. It’s a perfect little “memorial.”

  • Ricki

    Alyssa, I’m sitting here crying because I can only imagine how you feel and can so relate. I’m so sorry for your loss. Halley looks like such a beautiful, sweet girl. I don’t even want to think about when Elsie goes. You’re right: dogs are very, very special beings in our lives and they bring so much joy, asking for so little. From these photos, it’s clear she had a happy and fulfilled life with you. I hope that brings some comfort while you’re missing her. xoxo

  • jordan

    i’ve only recently found your blog and am not normally a commenter, but i wanted to say how sorry i am for the loss of your halley. she looks like such a sweet and fun dog, and having a pup of my own i can only imagine how you are feeling. thank you for sharing her pictures and story with us, i know she will live on through your memories of her :)

  • becky

    I love your expression of love, grief and relationship with the life and loss of Halley. It made me cry. I share all these feelings with you. Thank you for sharing the pictures and feelings!

  • Kim

    Like Ricki I’m sitting here crying because your loss brings up the still fresh wound of the loss of my beloved boy, Jake. He was the best cat. Just seeing a picture of him the last couple days is throwing me into tears and I don’t know why, and your story just opens the wound afresh. The love we feel for our fur kids is no different or less than the love we feel for our partner, our parents, and I imagine our human children. I’m so sorry for your loss, and am sending a virtual hug bigger than you can imagine your way.

  • Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts

    Sonny, our collie, and I just had a big lovie session and he is all joy, too, and has comforted us more than we ever thought possible. As the saying goes, “our rescue dog rescued us.” He is better than any human. So I’m greatly sympathizing with you right now, Alyssa. Your Halley looks like such a love. Big, big hugs to you!

    And the bars look delicious! It looks like another recipe I’ll have to share on :-)


  • michael

    The loss of pet is really nothing anyone can understand unless they’ve experienced it. Its been nearly four years since my little guy passed, and just reading your post got me all emotional again. Time heals, but it doesn’t erase all the great moments we get to reflect back on. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Jessica T

    So sorry for your loss. :( Pets really are our kids and best friends. It’s hard to learn to live without them.

    Thank you for the recipe. I pinned it for after our move. :)

  • M J

    So sorry for your loss Alyssa. I can relate as I have lost many dogs and cats. They will live in your heart forever. A new puppy or shelter dog is always a good remedy. Read the poem Rainbow Bridge…hopefully it will give you some comfort. Much continued success with your site…I enjoy it very much. God bless!

  • Sharyn Engel

    I’m SO sorry for your loss :( We have a Golden the same color (Ginger) who’s 6 now. Can’t even imagine….your new baby is ADORABLE too! So happy for you :) Just found your site, and in the process of making the Sweet Potato Salmon Patties. Thanks for sharing!

  • Donna

    So sorry for the loss of your family pet. I can see the love in her eyes. We lost ours at age 16 and it was devastating. We did, however, get another dog shortly thereafter and it does soothe the heart to hold a puppy (who is now 4). We also rescued a dog just recently from a kill shelter. He is 6, extremely affectionate and just wants to be loved. It feels so good to save an animal. Perhaps you could think about going this route when the time is right. Take care!

  • Susan

    Oh my, I am crying too as we lost our 2 “girls” close to gether. It is so hard but God gives us these “friends” to show us His Love and how pure it is. I think the memorial book is a great idea. I bought apricot colored Roses and dried them as a way to keep their memory alive.
    Thanks for all your wonderful recipes…

  • Heather

    Sending virtual hugs. It’s just so painful, I know, but those years of unequivocal love and doggie kisses make it all worthwhile. Just know that Halley is running and jumping and playing with all our departed furry family members in the big dog park in the sky. We should all be so lucky someday.
    And, for what it’s worth, I used to make my dog cinnamon cake with vanilla ice cream for his birthday each year, so I think it’s ENTIRELY appropriate to devote a dessert post to such a sweet girl!

  • Twila Hensel

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. At Christmas time I lost two of mine to elder age, I still have a wonderful lab named Daisey who is only 6 and just underwent a breast removal and spay. She had cancer and am waiting to hear if they got it all. I still miss my precious other babies so very much. It does get a little better with time.

    I just wanted you to know how sorry I was to hear you lost Halley.

  • http://n/a Kathy

    I am so very sorry to hear of your deep loss, I am sending prayers of comfort your way, thank you for sharing some of the most beautiful pictures of your dear sweet girl Halley I am glad I got to see her. I know it’s cliché but your life and Halley’s was so much richer because you shared so many beautiful years together. Take care of yourself Halley would want that for you, thank you for the very lovely recipe as well. Wishing you better days girl! Hugs.

  • Stephanie Vincent

    I am so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful dog and you can tell just by looking how sweet she was :-) I just lost one of my babies (my sweet little dog Suki) on Saturday morning, so I’m right there with you. It’s so hard!! Plan to try these bars, and like your website, actually plan to try a few recipes. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  • Cat

    I am grieving with you, especially because I just lost my Izzy cat who was feral, who I lured into my kitchen with food about 14 years ago, and who turned out to be my BFFF. He called me “Meow Ma” and I miss him terribly. It looks like a lot of people truly understand what we go through when we lose our animal family members. Just add me to the list of those who wish you peace and comfort in this time of loss. Halley looks like a very beautiful girl. I’m so happy for you that you had such a sweet, loving companion for so many years.

  • Allison

    So sorry for your loss – i know how hard it is when you loose you’re best friend. Halley looks like she was a special dog – great pictures of a fabulous breed! Goldens are The best, hair and all! We lost our Marley when she was five, much too young. My husbands answer was to get two more, sisters from the same litter. RIP Halley. Hold onto all the great memories mama!

  • Silvina Petersen

    I’m in bed next to my 10 year-old Labrador Chester crying my eyes out because I don’t want that day to come ever and there is no way to prepare for it. There is no love like the one you share with your dog just as you describe yours for Halley. My Chester makes me a better person so I can understand how you feel lost without Halley. I wish you can overcome the emptiness and continue to feel the joy she brought into your life. Love, Silvina

  • Scott @ The Healthy Eating Guide

    My heart goes out to you for the loss of your beautiful pup. I think your words summed up how we all feel about our “pets”. They show us how to love unconditionally, which is such an amazing and selfless gift.

  • cindy

    I am so sad for you. We had to put our 11 year old dog down last fall and said no dog for a year. Well we lasted 3 months. Reason I say this is was wondering if your baby is part or full Nova Scotia Duck toller? She looks similar to one if not. Our puppy is boxer mum and retriever dad but is from a rescue and doesn’t look boxer at all. She has retriever for sure but many say toller too.
    HUGs and so glad you got to enjoy your best buddy for so many years and able to make many memories.

    • Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks for the sweet note Cindy. Halley was a fantastic dog and yes, she was a Toller!! We got her from a breeder in Quebec when she was only 12 weeks old :) Sorry for your loss as well. It is hardest thing I have ever had to face.

  • Bea De Neef

    Alyssa I am so sorry for your loss. I just got a new puppy but it took a long time because I lost me little boy after fourteen years and it tore me apart. Here is something a friend sent me, I hope it brings you a little comfort.
    There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called Rainbow
    Bridge because of its many colours. Just this side of the Rainbow
    Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green
    When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is
    always food and water, and warm spring weather. Those old and frail
    animals are young again. Those who have been maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other. But there is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on earth.
    So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly
    stops playing and looks up. The nose twitches, the ears are up, and the eyes are staring, and this one suddenly runs from the group. You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you take him or her into your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
    Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…

  • Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens

    Oh, Alyssa! I am just now reading this post from last week, crying for your loss and because I so understand the devastating feeling. I am so incredibly sorry. The most beautiful part of your story is your perfect description of the joy that magically lives in dogs’ hearts and multiplies the joy in our own, human lives. If you remember Halley in that spirit of joy, then the joy she brings to the world will live on.

  • Jan Logan

    Am so sorry for your loss of your best friend. I recently lost Lucas a 14 yr old
    yellow lab that had gone thru all the grand-kids, even now I tear up. He was a faithful friend. Thank you for your recipes, they are a pure joy

  • Grace K

    I came here just for apricot oatmeal bars and found this. I, too, lost my dog of 14 years about 1.5 years ago. Had her since I was 13. The best friend that I ever had.

    Just know that you’re not alone in your grief. Take care!