Wednesday, August 29

Homemade Healthy Breakfast Bars

As some of you know, I live in the panhandle of Florida. Since Hurricane Isaac decided to swing this direction, originally pointing right for the panhandle, I was busy this weekend preparing. Preparations included completely emptying the yard of any potential projectiles, making an evacuation plan (just in case), bathing the dogs (stinky dogs on a road trip... NOT fun), mowing the weeds in my yard (Yes, they're weeds because my landlord neglected to get the sprinklers fixed for 3 months... in Florida heat) and braving Walmart for water.

I was praying Isaac would just kick up a little more wind yesterday or today so I could have a hurricane party and work from home, but I couldn't be so lucky. I am, however, very thankful that Isaac did not impact our area more. Of course, my heart is heavy for all of those in areas badly affected by Isaac's wrath.

On to a happier subject... FOOD!

Do you ever look in your pantry or fridge and get the urge to see what delicious meal or snack you can come up with? I had one of those moments last night. It started like this...

I had just had a conversation with a friend of mine and she was talking about making her own breakfast bars. I have always wanted to make my own healthy breakfast bars because I hate all the unnecessary crap they put in most of them. The ones that are good for you are pricy, and I only keep them around for last minute breakfasts or snacks. Well I researched a bit and didn't find a recipe that I really liked. Plus, I really wanted to use up some of my almost empty bags from the pantry. I got really brave and made my own recipe. :)

They look more like cookies, but much healthier. :)

Healthy Breakfast Bars ---{a.k.a. Pantry Breakfast Bars :)}
makes 24

3 cups oats
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter or almond butter (no sugar added)
3/4 dark brown agave
3/4 unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried plums
4 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons unflavored fiber powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, stir together peanut or almond butter with the agave over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl to combine with dry ingredients. Stir or knead until all the oats are moistened and nice and sticky. :)

Shape a heaping tablespoon of mixture into a cookie shape (they won't rise or flatten in the over) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Another option is to spread the mixture evenly in a 9x13 cake pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely before storing or cutting. Enjoy!

**Bars will keep for roughly one week in the fridge or at room temperature and up to one month in the freezer. Tip: Wrap the extras individually in plastic wrap. Take one out before bed and place at room temperature. Your breakfast will be ready to go by morning.

Nutrition info:
Calories: 311    Fat: 18g    Carbs: 31g   Sugars: 13g    Protein: 8g    Fiber: 5.5g

Keep in mind that although the fat content and calorie content is high, the fat is all coming from good sources. That's not to say you still shouldn't be mindful of how much fat you're putting in your body. This is my first time calculating nutrition information so I'm super excited to be able to offer this important info with my recipe. Of course, it's an estimate depending on how big your bars or cookies are. These bars are great for breakfast (and snacks) and they definitely kept me full today. Pair one bar or cookie with a glass of milk or almond milk. Yum!

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that you could literally add anything and subtract anything from the recipe. They're called Pantry Breakfast Bars for a reason. ;) The important thing is the ratio between your wet ingredients and your dry. Too much dry and they won't stick together. Test yourself! Use up some of those almost empty bags in your pantry and make your own version by substituting your ingredients. I'd love to hear how it goes, so please make a comment on this blog or on my Facebook page! Pictures always welcome. :)

I hope everyone has a great Friday-eve. I can't wait for the weekend... ALREADY!

Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be Balanced.

- Lauren

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