Oatmeal Breakfast Bars and Muffins

I am not really a breakfast person.  And it is not because I don’t like breakfast (I actually really like breakfast food) but when I am rushing to get out the door  in the morning, the last thing I want to do or think about doing is making breakfast.  Now, I know that skipping breakfast is not a good idea.  After all, isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?  Therefore, lately, I have been trying to think of different and creative ways I can have  a healthy breakfast, particularly on weekdays.  Since oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast foods, in comes these Oatmeal Breakfast Bars/Muffins.

My recipe is inspired by a recipe for applesauce cookies, given to me by a friend, and by a recipe for On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares  from Oh She Glows. The oatmeal bars/muffins are a tasty and healthy base that are not too sweet and to which additions of things like dried fruit, different nuts, and fresh fruit could easily be made.  I have found these bars/muffins to be incredibly filling, keeping me full for several hours (so that I am not starving by the time lunch rolls around).

Last week, I made a batch on Sunday (in bar form) and put them in individual baggies.  Then, each morning, I would grab a bag from the fridge and once I got to work, breakfast was ready.  In preparation for this week, I made them again but in muffin form. Looks like breakfast is ready to go for this week too.  :)

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars/Muffins
(partially inspired by On the Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares)
(makes about 12 muffins or 9-12 bars)

3 cups of rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats)   *make sure it is not “quick-cooking oats”
3 TBSP chia seeds and/or 3 TBSP of ground flax seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 oz cashews (or other nut of your choice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp of ground cardamom
1 TBSP of almond butter
1 TBSP of coconut oil
1 cup of applesauce
3 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of rice milk (or other non-dairy or dairy beverage of your choice)
2 very ripe bananas
1 tsp of maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grind 1 cup of the oats into a fine powder.  Combine the ground oats with the rest of the oats in a bowl.  Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

2.  Combine wet ingredients.  Blend in a food processor or blender until the mixture is smooth.

3.  Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

4.  Smooth out the mixture in a greased baking dish or place into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

5.  Eat while warm or let them cool and then store individually in baggies.  They will keep in the refrigerator for one week.  They can also be frozen and then thawed out when ready to eat.

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.”  ~ Alfred A. Montapert

Crock Pot Applesauce

What do you do when you have a whole bunch of apples and you need to get “rid” of some of them?  Make applesauce, of course.   And if you want to make the whole process even easier than it already is, use a crock pot.  Crock pots are the coolest thing because you just put the ingredients in and leave it alone.  By the time you get home from work or once you return from running your errands, your food is ready.  And making applesauce in one is super simple and produces some darn delicious results.  Basically, the  most effort you will have to exert when making it is peeling and cutting the apples.  Of course, this recipe could be adapted for stove-top cooking too. (Instructions at the end of this post).

As far as my applesauce, I do not add any sweetener because I love the natural taste of the apples but it would be so easy to make the applesauce  sweeter by the addition of a sweetener of your choice or by using apple juice or apple cider in  place of the water.

Ah, there is just something so gratifying about making things from scratch, especially when it is something that is usually store-bought.  Just know, once you make your own applesauce, you are not going to want to go back to buying the stuff off the shelves.  :)

Crock Pot Applesauce
(makes 4 cups of applesauce)

8 medium apples
1 TBSP of lemon juice
1/2 – 3/4 cup of water
*pinch of cinnamon (optional)

1.  Cut up your apples and place into crock pot.  Add all other ingredients to the pot.  Turn crock pot to low and cover with lid.  Cook for 4 hours or more.

2.  When the applesauce is done cooking, you can mash it up using a fork, whisk or place in a food processor or blender depending on how chunky you would like it to be.  I used a whisk because I like my applesauce to be a bit chunky.

3.  Serve and enjoy or cover and store in the refrigerator.  (Will keep for approximately one week in the fridge).

If you want to make it on the stove top, place the cut-up apples in a big pot.  Add the other ingredients.  Cook on high until the liquid in pot begins to boil.  Cover and turn to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes (I would check it after about 15 minutes to make sure that too much liquid has not evaporated…if it has, add a bit more water).  Take off heat and mash apples with a fork or place in blender depending on preference of texture. I have never made it this way, so I can not vouch for how it turns out but I would assume that it would be just as good!