Breakfast this morning was indeed porridge.
Oats in a jar!
I was introduced to this fun little concept by Kath, a dietitian blogger in the US. We share a love of oats and nut butters, amongst other things. One day I saw that she put her morning oatmeal in a near empty jar of nut butter. What a cute little breakfast idea, I thought.
This morning I noticed that my natural peanut butter jar was nearly ready to exit the nut butter line-up and take a dive off the shelf into the recycling bin, and I jumped at the chance to try out Kath’s idea of oats in a jar!
I had a lot of fun eating this. Scooping up the plump porridge and scraping the side of the jar for peanut butter remnants made for an enjoyable and scrumptious breakfast.
The porridge consisted of 1/3 cup oats and a finely sliced banana cooked in skinny milk, and poured straight into the jar. Not having a bowl to clean was an added bonus! I will definitely be doing this again.
I am a huge fan of making my own muesli bars. It allows you to control exactly what goes into them, avoiding any additives or excess sugar and fats. They are incredibly fun to make, and easy to boot!
Making your own bars also allows you to exercise portion control, and choose how large or small you want your bars. I often make two different sizes. I make larger bars, that weigh ~60 grams, which Ben often takes to work. I also make smaller, bite-size pieces (~30 grams). I might have this size bar for afternoon tea alongside a yoghurt or some fruit. I also like to crumble the smaller bars and have them over yoghurt or porridge.
Even though it is just the two of us, I make a full batch of the muesli bars and freeze them individually (I wrap them in glad wrap once they’re cooled). At night I will take a bar out of the freezer and pop it on the bench, so they are defrosted by morning and ready to eat. You can also take it out in the morning and it will be ready for afternoon tea. They tend to take around 4 hours to defrost, depending on the thickness of the bar.
I created the recipe below by adapting a few different recipes. I am still tweaking the recipe, as I don’t think it is currently sweet enough to eat alone. We eat these muesli bars with a spread of natural nut butter or jam on the bottom. You can eat them without the addition of a spread, but it really does give it a nice kick. Next time I think I will add more mashed banana, and then perhaps omit the milk and maybe egg. We’ll see.
I make many different muesli bars, and the ones that taste the best are those that have a decent amount of sugar or syrup in them. Yes, they are delicious, but I am hoping to perfect this recipe, which is less sugary and has a lower GI. You’ll definitely feel healthy eating these!
Walnut, Banana and Cinnamon Muesli Bars
1 ½ cup rolled oats
½ cup bran flakes (I use Vogel’s Soy & Linseed Bran)
½ cup pepitas (you can add less, I just love these!)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried fruit (sultanas, craisins, diced apricot)
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
300g mashed banana
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon(I sometimes add more, as I love cinnamon)
pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine the wet ingredients, then add them to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. The mixture will be quite wet.
Line a baking tray with baking paper (I use a rectangle one that is 28cm x 15cm, and 5cm deep). Pour mixture onto the baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly, so it fills the tray. Press down on the mixture with the back of a spoon, to ensure it is packed in firmly and smoothly.
Bake for ~30 minutes, until warm throughout and the top is slightly brown. Let it cool, then slice into bars. Serve as is, or with a thin spread of natural nut butter or jam.