Sunday, July 21, 2013

Almost-Paleo Oatmeal Bars {Breakfast Madness}

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I need to eat breakfast.  Nothing too substantial, but I need something in my tummy and a plain "granola bar" won't cut it.  If not, I'm eating something an hour later.  I made some breakfast oatmeal bars last year.  They were good, and big enough to fill me up in the morning.  But, they had sugar and other naughties.

We have been eating pretty healthy, and I needed an updated/upGRADED recipe.  Enter:  Paleo recipes.  Almost fully Paleo.  That's how we eat.  Mostly Paleo, but nothing super restricting.  This, and a little more activity at my new job has lightened me by 20 pounds in the last few months.

I'll take it.

But, I love oatmeal.  Especially for breakfast.  So, lets mesh this all together.
Oatmeal-mostly paleo-breakfast bars.
You. Are. Welcome.

My base recipe is found here.


*2.5 cups regular rolled oats (not instant oats).  Please, don't buy instant oats.
*3 tbsp chia seed  (I didn't have any, so I skipped this.  But they are VERY good for you.)
*1/2 cup + 1 tbsp ground flax
*1 tsp cinnamon  (I love cinnamon, I always add extra)
*1 tsp baking powder
*1/4 tsp salt
*1.5 cups almond milk
*1/2 cup pure maple syrup
*2 tbsp nut or seed butter (I used natural peanut butter.  If you don't eat natural peanut butter, you should switch.  It is much better for you and tastes SO much better!  You don't need to consume sugar and preservatives in something easy like PB!)
*1 banana, chopped small (I used a fairly large banana, very ripe)  I suggest cutting into SMALL pieces.
*1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  Use a food processor to blend 1 cup of your oats into an oat flour.

2.  Use large bowl to combine dry ingredients.  Your oat flour, the rest of your rolled oats, chia seeds, flax, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.  Wisk together.

3.  In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Milk, syrup, peanut butter, banana, vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  This is where how small you chopped your banana comes into play :)  (This little mixture smells just amazing, FYI.)

I had to use a masher to get these banana chunks smaller.

4.  Slowly incorporate your wet mixture into your dry mixture.

5.  You can now add any additional healthy bits that you wish.  I added dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, also some almonds that I chopped up in my food processor.  (You could add other nuts, fruit, or even chocolate.)

**This is a very WET mixture, more "sloppy" than I expected, but don't fret, it will come out great!

6.  Add combined mixture to 8x8 pan.  I do not have one (weird, I know) so I used a muffin pan.

BEST IDEA EVER!  This way, everything is perfectly divided into individual servings.

7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  I did 15 minutes, rotated my pan, 15 more minutes.  Then I poked them with a knife (we don't have toothpicks) to check consistency...and cooked for probably about 5-7 more minutes.

They came out PERFECTLY!  

The muffin pan was a genius idea, but of course, you can use a regular pan and have more reign of your serving size.  **Note:  the mixture divided perfectly into 12 muffin sized portions**  They have a nice shape, and are easy to handle/consume.  They taste like a delicious banana bread with an oat texture added, and of course the fruit gives it a little zing.

There are a lot of substitutions available here as well.  You can use any type of milk.   You can use a nut/seed butter instead of regular peanut butter.  You can add any other type of seed/nut, like hemp seeds or walnuts.  Instead of maple syrup, you can use something like liquid Stevia.  Instead of a banana, you can use one egg (which will obviously not give you the great banana flavor).  You can also add sugar or brown sugar if you are feeling rebellious.  But that is one FANTASTIC thing about these:  NO SUGAR and NO FLOUR!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I am going to {all week}!  Remember to store tightly so they stay moist and delicious!  Let me know if you come up with any great variations.

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