I am a creature of habit. I find a food I love and I stick to it- until I can no longer even look at it without feeling nauseous. Then I will take a break from said food item only to rediscover it months later with a new and fiery passion. This continues time after time and leads me to variations of nut butters on toast with fruit or preserves, oatmeal with countless different toppings and various types of yogurt with just as many different types of cereal and fruit mixed in.
My latest love-lost only-to- be-rediscovered-and-lusted-after-again is oatmeal. I broke my fast through November and December with a nice steaming bowl of creamy oats with frozen berries mixed in on an almost daily basis. By the time January rolled around, I could barely glimpse that jolly Quaker Oats man that seemed to be grinning at me from under his brimmed hat in a “why don’t you just rotate your breakfasts daily like a normal human being so we can avoid all of this love/hate business” type of way. I also started a raw food cleanse around this time (which was a genius idea for someone who is cold in balmy weather- I really think other people feel temperatures a good 10 degrees warmer than I feel them) and actually cut out breakfast and replaced it with a piece of fruit mid morning before I had my green juice fix. I missed my breakfast!
I have now left the cleanse behind and while contemplating a delicious and portable new breakfast, I’m happy to report that I have rekindled the love with the Quaker man. I usually eat breakfast at work but I’m done with granola/protein bars (except my beloved Lara bars) and my new office doesn’t have a toaster, so nut butters on toast is not so much an option. Solution? Baked Oat Bars!! My first batch was made with a ½ cup of pumpkin but I substituted a mashed banana in the second batch instead. Second batch was moist and sweet because of the banana, which made it boyfriend friendly as well. I can’t wait to continue to try new variations- until I inevitably tire myself out on baked breakfast bars.
Baked Banana Oat Bars
1/2 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
2 cups of oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
8 pecan halves
A dash of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Mash the banana in a bowl, add the the rest of the ingredients except the pecans. Pour into a greased baking pan or a muffin tin. Place the pecan halves on top of the mixture. Bake for about 35 minutes. Once cool, cut into 8 squares. Each bar has about 145 calories. Try different variations by omitting banana and adding pumpkin, berries, baked apples mixed with cinnamon, chopped walnuts, grated zucchini, etc. etc.