Wednesday, January 25, 2012


School day mornings are hectic.  I really don't make it easy on myself by staying in bed 'till the last possible minute, then trying to get myself ready in ten minutes while simultaneously trying to get both of my boys dressed.  But, I'm not a morning person.  
Neither is Oliver.  I often end up waking him up a little too late, and feeding him (and myself) breakfast when we return home after getting Owen to school.  But this doesn't cut it on mornings when he goes to school, too.
The other morning I ended up handing him a Kashi banana chocolate chip bar to nosh in the car.  I figured this made a fine in-a-pinch breakfast, but these bars are not cheap.  I made a vow to not make a habit of them. 
But that sure was handy...
Next I made another vow to come up with a recipe for a breakfast bar-- something with all kinds of healthy stuff in them that I could hand to the kids once they're strapped into their car seats, or as they're standing there trying to wake up, wondering why Mommy's always running around like a crazy woman first thing in the morning.  
These bars are my solution.  Bake them the day before, and they're just as handy as the Kashi ones.  I don't know for sure, but I'd suspect these have less sugar, too.  My bars are just barely sweet.  They're not one of those breakfast treats that could also pass as dessert (although maybe with a drizzle of maple frosting or topped with a scoop of ice cream...), but those things always leave a person feeling crappy an hour or two into the day, anyway.  My bars are a wholesome, hearty (yet still yummy) start to the day that will keep you feeling good 'till lunch (or maybe snack time when you go back for more).

So, this morning, I had these around to hand to the kiddos amidst the craziness.  They're easier for them to handle (and therefore a little less messy) than a muffin, but they gobble them up as if they were their favorite muffins.  So, breakfast was taken care of.  Next was to get Oliver's lunch packed, gather Owen's snow clothes, get everybody dressed, fix everyone's hair...  
I always manage to get my act together, but I usually get Owen to school somewhere between five and fifteen minutes behind schedule.  But really, is it reasonable to expect a preschooler to be at school at 7:30 in the morning (or to expect his morning-challenged mother to be able to get him there by that time)?
If I can manage to (at least sort of) meet this crazy expectation, my reward is some quiet time with a cappuccino and a breakfast bar when I return home.  

the veggies:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you have on hand, divided)
  • 1 really ripe banana
  • 1 cup shredded sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts, chopped)

the love:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° and oil a 10 by 15 inch baking pan.**
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a blender, blend together the flax meal and 1/4 cup milk for about a minute, until gooey. 
  4. Scrape down the sides of the blender pitcher, then add the banana, sweet potatoes, 1 cup milk, canola oil, maple syrup and vanilla and blend until smooth.
  5. Add the oats to the blender and pulse a couple times, until most of the oats are mixed in.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the bowl and stir until just incorporated (batter will be pretty thick).
  7. Fold in the dates and almonds.
  8. Spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan, and bake about 25 minutes, or until firm in the center.
  9. Cool slightly before cutting into bars,*** and cool completely before storing in an airtight container until breakfast.

*Double the baking powder if you're at low altitude.
**A slightly larger or smaller pan would also work fine with these, but would obviously affect the thickness and texture.  My theory: thicker bars would be more muffin-like, and thinner ones would be chewier and possibly less messy in the car.
***I like to cut them widthwise into four, then lengthwise into four to make 16 big rectangles.


  1. Your pictures are looking amazing! And I'm oggling your tall caffeinated glass of foam there...

    1. Thank you! My photos have improved thanks to those photography tips from you (natural light is definitely the key). And, we got a new espresso machine and frother for Christmas, which is why the coffee looks so good ('cause it is!).