Thanks for your suggestions on calorie and nutrient dense breakfasts, everyone! I appreciate it, and your enthusiasm for my superfoods breakfast bowl. Since we’re all on the topic of breakfast, I thought I’d share my latest baking endeavor with you: blueberry oat bars that are 100% vegan, relatively low in fat for baked goods, and terribly delicious.
These guys happened on the spur of the moment. I woke up on Sunday with my current breakfast dilemma in mind, and wondered if I couldn’t come up with something baked that would nevertheless be (along with some fruit and coffee) a filling morning treat. I rarely eat baked goods in the morning, not because I dislike them, but because they simply offer my little satiety. No matter what, even the heartiest of muffins or cakes need to be paired with fruit or something else (sometimes a smoothie) to fill me up, but there are degrees of success, and my goal with these bars was to make something a little chewier and more satisfying that a airy little muffin.
I think I got it right: these bars are chewy, sweet, and have a substantial feel. They’re also very healthy, full of banana, oats, and held together with coconut oil and some agave. The coup de grace, for me, is the blueberry topping, which is nothing but your favorite, all-natural blueberry jam or spread, and then some crumble on top. I like Dalfour, Crofter’s, and Cascadian Farms preserves, but anyone who is intrepid enough to make his or her own should certainly use that!
Vegan Blueberry Oat Bars (vegan, can be GF, soy free)
Makes 10 bars or so
For the bar itself:
2 cups oat flour (you can make this by throwing 2 cups of oats in a food processor and giving it a whirl; ditto for a VitaMix)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp agave nectar
1 large banana, ripe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
For the topping:
1/3 cup blueberry preserves (more if needed)
2 tbsp cold coconut oil (solid)
3 tbsp rolled oats
3 tbsp natural sugar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix the oat flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a food processor or VitaMix (or with a hand blender), mix the banana, oil, agave, almond milk, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix well.
3) Spread the mixture into a square baking pan (8 x 8 or 9 X 9 is good) and top with the preserves. In the food processor, pulse the shortening, oats, and sugar into a topping, and dot the blueberry mix with it.
4) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 or 35 minutes, or until the top is golden. Set out for a while to let the piping hot preserves cool and solidify.
I really wasn’t intending for these to be special, but M claimed they were the best bars I’ve ever made. I have to agree: the banana and coconut are irresistible, and the texture is great. I plan on making them often, possibly with other sorts of fruit preserves!
Give them a try, and let me know what you think! GF peeps, go ahead and use certified GF rolled oats here—the results will be just as good!
Before I go, I wanted to mention a beverage review. The folks at Tazo teas sent me some of their new, stevia-sweetened iced chai tea to sample last week, in a very cute little bag:
The tea is essentially a lower sugar spin on the original, but sweetened without aspartame (a huge plus!):
Alas, the perpetual problem with stevia is its bitter aftertaste (and the fact that it’s hard to actually control how sweet things get when you use it). And this tea, I think, is a victim of those issues: it was super sweet to me (granted, I rarely sweeten beverages, but my lips puckered) and I did taste the stevia bitterness after. I love the idea of a product that’s thinking in terms of a more natural sweetener, so I hope that the company refines the product a little for a more mild sweetness!
The nuts they sent along with it, though, were divine:
Thanks to the folks at Tazo, and sorry I wasn’t more blown away – I will definitely taste again if the stevia content is a little more modest!
And with that, it’s time for coffee with the lab partner, some school related stuff, and dinner with a former client. Night y’all!