There have been times when I’ve said about a recipe, “You could totally eat this for breakfast!” when actually it’s probably not the most highly recommended. That is, while I might eat it for breakfast, I wouldn’t let my kids do the same. Today though? You can totally eat these for breakfast, and so can the kids.
Those same kids-who-want-breakfast have had some good lines around here lately. My personal favourite:
Our daughter had a nightmare and came to inform me of such around 2 am. Given that her little brother is up 5 times a night on the regular, I do not take kindly to her wandering out of their room and potentially waking him up an extra time. Still, I try to be sympathetic the first time, since she seems genuinely scared, and then send her back to bed.
Ten minutes later she was back, still scared, wanting to tell me the dream in hopes that would help. The dream, of all things, was about her dad doing something really mean, throwing something treasured in the garbage and laughing about it. I recommended she go wake up dad, tell him, and he would give her a reassuring hug and promise never to do such a thing, and she wouldn’t be scared anymore.
Her shocked response? “I can’t wake him up, it’s the middle of the NIGHT!”
YES I KNOW. IT IS THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FOR ME ALSO.
The irony was completely lost on her.
My new go-to is now, “Ask Dad or you’ll have to figure out how to do it yourself.” They are figuring out all SORTS of things, while I am still trying to figure out his magical aura of don’t-ask-me-ness. I’m thinking the trick is strategic avoidance of eye-contact – my timing is terrible, I just keep opening my eyes when I hear footsteps beside the bed.
So, energy bars. When running on nowhere-near-eight-hours of sleep, energy bars are my siren song, luring me in at every turn, only to, too often, bitterly disappoint.
That’s why these were such a pleasant surprise! On fridge-cleaning-out day, I found leftover applesauce that I hadn’t puréed quite enough to make up for my laziness in leaving the skins on the apples. The kids didn’t love the texture, and I can’t say I blamed them, but I wasn’t about to let it go to waste. I wanted a granola bar-type snack that was genuinely healthy. While I was initially doubtful of these bars’ ability to actually hold their shape after baking, I persevered, pressing the dry-ish mixture down as firmly as possible in the pan. The egg helps with the binding, as does letting them cool completely before cutting, and much to my pleased surprise, they lifted out of the pan in well-adhered bars!
Now would the taste live up to the successful shape-holding? You bet, or we wouldn’t be here chatting right now, as we are. (This is nice :) ). The apple cinnamon flavour is perfect for fall, but in no way complemented by chocolate – stick to nuts, seeds and dried fruit and you’re good to go. Yes, I may have added chocolate chips to my first batch because they just seemed so…healthy! But this is one case (and only one) where chocolate made things worse instead of better. Happy to help by trying it out for you.
If you like bars and you like energy, and you like apple and cinnamon, WELL. Here ya go :)
- 3 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup wheat bran or ground flax
- ⅔ cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup dried fruit and/or nuts/seeds of your choice, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ cup melted butter or margarine
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup applesauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9x13" baking dish, or line with parchment paper, and set aside.
- In small bowl, melt butter and set aside to cool.
- In large bowl, stir together oats, flour, coconut, wheat bran, brown sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit and baking soda.
- Whisk egg and applesauce into melted butter. Stir wet ingredients into oats mixture until well combined. Press very firmly into prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and edges are just golden. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or individually wrap and freeze for easy grab-and-go snacks.
*Adapted from Mott’s Applesauce.