Kyle and I have early and rushed weekday mornings, and we need to take advantage of every extra minute possible to sleep. But we also need enough energy to get through our early morning pursuits (mine - running, his - getting reemed out) without breaking the bank. We used to turn to Clif and Luna bars, but after spending $10+/week on those I switched to generic nutri grain-ish bars. Those were way too sugary and unnatural though, and at only about 100 calories a pop, didn't provide quite enough fuel for early 6-10 milers. So, in the interests of saving money and eating more healthfully, I offer you my two favorite grab & go breakfast recipes.
Banana Flaxseed Muffins
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
1/3 cup vegetable oil (canola also works and is a tad healthier)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt (vanilla's good too)
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into flour (I don't grind them)
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I use half soy flour for extra protein)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and brown sugar. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the yogurt and bananas. In a separate bowl or a blender, combine the three flours, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (grind whole oats in a blender or food processor to make your own) 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, chopped pecans or walunts, sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, pepitas, dried apples, ground flaxseed, or even mini chocolate or white chocolate chips.
YUM!!! Enjoy and have a great weekend!