Monday, April 9, 2012
BAKED OATMEAL BARS
It's true, some days it's hard enough to simply get your pants on right [or remember to put them on at all!], not to mention food in the bellies of those you love. We all have them and on those days a breakfast like this is priceless. It beats the drive-thrus, boxed or frozen pastries, and sugar-laiden cereals [let's really be honest here, these offerings are not real food]. A recipe like this stashed away in your skinny jean back pocket [okay, okay, sweat pants] allows you the peace of mind that at least you got one thing right this morning - good, healthy, nourishing food into mouths you care about the most. Breakfast - check!
My toddler loves these. You can make a batch or two ahead of time, freeze some, refrigerate some, and eat some! Adjust them with ingredients you love and please make them your own!
Oh, and if you are having a crazy head-spinning day, take a minute to bring yourself into the present. Notice tangible things around you. Most of all, take a few deep [and I mean deep - from your gut] breaths, grab a cup of chamomile tea, and relax. Remind yourself that it will all get done one way or another, it always does.
2 c. old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/2 c. millet flour [or garbanzo, brown rice, etc.]
1/2 c. tapioca flour
2/3 c. dried fruit [I like a mix of cherries + currants + and cranberries - fruit sweetened not sugar sweetened if possible]
1/2 c. crushed nuts [walnuts + hazlenuts is wonderful]*
1/3 c. freshly ground chia seeds
3/4 c. flaxseed mix**
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. grapeseed oil [you could probably use coconut oil, melted, as well]
3/4 c. dates, soaked + soaking water*** or 1/2 c. honey [if you plan to give this to your toddler, make sure he / she is over a year of age prior to using honey]
1/4 - 1/2 c. of applesauce
1 c. shredded carrots or zucchini [if you use frozen zucchini make sure the water has been squeezed out once it has thawed]
1 c. chopped apples or pears
Grease a 8 x 11 glass baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: oats, flours, dried fruit, nuts, chia meal, flaxseed mix, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a blender or food processor blend oil, dates and soaking water, and 1/4 c. of applesauce.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. It may take a little time to get this completely mixed and you may end up just using your hands. Add more applesauce if the mixture is too dry. It should be thick and moist.
Fold or knead in carrots and apples.
Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish, pressing down to level the top using your hands or a spoon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned and knife or toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes.
*You can easily crush whole nuts by placing them in a ziploc bag on a cutting board and "hammering" them with a sturdy pan.
**Flaxseed mix: 1/2 c. freshly ground flaxseeds + 1/4 c. freshly ground sunflower seeds + 1/4 c. freshly ground pumpkin seeds. Place all in glass jar, cap, and shake well to blend. This is a wonderful way to get omega-3 essential fatty acids using whole foods. You can double the recipe and store the remaining mix in the freezer for a week or so. Add it to other things as well like oatmeal, muesli, veggies, and smoothies.
***Place dates in a glass jar and cover with water to an 1" above the dates. Soak overnight. To shorten soaking time you can use boiling water and let soak for 10 - 20 minutes or until very soft.