mornings

Banana Oatmeal Bars: Breakfast, made simpler.

I'm a morning person. To me, that means I get up and have energy, even on nights when I get less than 6 hours of sleep. Stressful mornings drive me up a wall. But realistically, there are so many moving parts in a house with three kids in two different schools and while I understand how hard it is to get everyone up and at 'em, I keep wondering what we can do to make the mornings a little easier on everyone. Breakfast is the one meal that my family has where we are all reliably together. As a gal who grew up on family dinners but can't yet get it together to make that happen with my family of five, I rely on breakfast as our time to connect. The food needs to be ready quickly so that we maximize our time at the table. 

Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It needs to be healthy and balanced so that kids make it to lunch. I've said it before: to make life easier on busy parents, breakfast likely needs to be assembled at least in part, the night before (and of course, chosen in advance). Voila! These Banana Oatmeal bars fit the bill. In a nutshell, it’s like making oatmeal with bananas. Only you do it in advance. And there’s no messy pot to clean. And it’s super easy, with just four ingredients, absolutely yummy, and a very healthy meal.

I have seen various iterations for bars like these. Many have seeds or nuts or raisins or dried fruit and those are certainly great options or additions. I’ve tinkered with several recipes to create this one that my family devours - and it's a straightforward recipe to make with kids. I love that it doesn’t require elaborate steps or ingredients or even things like flour, eggs or milk. There are four ingredients! This is nut free, dairy free and vegan and has great fiber, potassium and protein. There is zero added sugar. And for those mornings when we’re literally running out the door with part of breakfast tucked into a paper towel, these really come in handy. They also double as a fantastic mid-day snack for parents and kids alike. 

Will these eliminate your morning stress? No. But they may lighten the load, and that can make all the difference.  

Banana Oatmeal Bars

3 super ripe (aka brown) bananas

2 cups of rolled oats (not instant)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

 

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas until they are smooth.

3. Add the oats and mix to combine.

4. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

5. Pour into baking dish. Bake for 25-28 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Here are some other recipes you might like: 
Guide to Safe, Nut-Free Lunches
Banana Sweet Potato Muffins
Banjo Muffins
Banana Pancake Kebabs
Carrot Soup with Ginger and Sweet Potato

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Egg Nibbles - Quick Breakfast for On-The-Go Families

Breakfast has been so hectic here these days. Seriously – we're talking tears because there was too much cream cheese on a piece of toast, tantrums because there are no more strawberry yogurts, outrage at the mere mention of cereal with milk. And when my pancake-loving kids both told me that they didn't want pancakes, I knew we had a big problem. For many months, I've been making pancake batter at night and having it on the ready in a tupperware in my fridge to make quickly for breakfast. We are all pancake lovers here; how awesome is it to have pancakes on a weekday and not have to wait until the weekend? My kids don't even know how good they've had it.
We're all tired and this long winter is making us all cranky. Lately the back and forth about breakfast has added stress to all of our mornings and whatever my kids end up eating is usually packed inside of a paper towel and becomes part of the morning commute.  

So yesterday I took matters into my own hands and made these Egg Nibbles.

Egg Nibbles

Egg Nibbles

They're eggs with avocado, spinach, garlic and chick peas, baked into mini muffin cups. That's what I had quickly on hand. They're a perfect travel breakfast and what's more, they're loaded with nutrition and all of the right stuff to get the day off to a great start. But the honest truth is, my kids didn't like them. My daughter gave the sideways thumb (which means she didn't hate them but she wouldn't ask for them either) and my son said he doesn't like to eat things with avocado. True story. 
So why bother writing about it? Well, these things were yummy. And maybe your kids will like them even though mine didn't? My husband and I have been happily popping them for breakfast for the last 2 days. I am planning to play around with the ingredients here... I'd bet there's some winning formula for Egg Nibbles that my kids will both enjoy. And in the meantime, I'll happily take suggestions. 

Egg Nibbles:
6 eggs
1 cup raw, chopped spinach
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chick peas, chopped
1 avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, scramble eggs. Add pieces of avocado and put aside. Saute spinach, garlic and chick peas together in a pan on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes and then add to eggs and avocado. Mix well. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners. Pour egg mixture into each cup. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Makes about 24 Egg Nibbles.