Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Made it for breakfast - Smoothies & No Bake Oatmeal Bites

I don’t eat a big breakfast every morning and am a snacker.  To try to combat the negative effects of those two habits, I try to find quick, easy, healthy options for both – breakfast and snacks. 

My weekday breakfast is generally a cup of coffee and some mixture of these standards: a handful of nuts, slice of cheese, boiled eggs.  Actually, my mid-day snack is usually one of those things, too.  I’ve recently added two more (easy) options to the menu.

Whether from the mall food court, McDonald’s, or the café at the gym – I like smoothies and will happily have one in exchange for a meal, especially when it’s hot like it has been lately.  Lately, I’ve started drinking more made-at-home smoothies – it’s of course, more convenient, but also cheaper, and I can control what’s in it. It’s become easier now that I’ve left the blender on the counter, rather than having to get it out every day.  (Funny how such a simple change can alter your habits.)
I mix ice, almond coconut milk, fresh fruit (so far, I’ve tried - bananas, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango), and agave nectar (to sweeten) in a blender and there’s my daily serving of fruit. 

Nutty bars
A visit to Trader Joe’s isn’t complete without a couple of bags of nuts in the cart, so I naturally grabbed onto this recipe full of nutty-goodness.  They’re great as a running out the door bite in the morning, as well as an afternoon hunger-pang filler.  And since I’ve never made a recipe I didn’t somehow tweak, my Notes & Variations are below, too.
No Bake Oatmeal Bites
2/3 C walnuts
2/3 C almonds
2/3 C oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C agave nectar
2-3 Tbps (vegan) chocolate mini chips

Add dry ingredients (except chocolate) to food processer and blend until everything is finely chopped.
Add vanilla, aqave nectar and blend until combined. 
Add the mini chocolate chips just pulse in. 
Form into balls and freeze for about 1/2 hr to firm.
Ready to go into the freezer.

Notes & Variations:
  • Instead of regular oatmeal, I used an instant oatmeal packet – 1 is a little more than you need
  • We mixed in freeze-dried strawberries (my daughter’s idea) – they are the reddish ones in the photo
  • I left out the chocolate chips – gasp!  Yes, this is a first for me, I’ve never left out the chocolate chips – but I don’t like vegan chips (what’s the point?) and I wanted to make them less sweet, plus, its summer and chocolate-y things melt in the summer.
  • Agave nectar is available at natural food stores, and possibly at your regular grocery store.
  • I put the mixture into a brownie bites pan to freeze.  They came out in perfectly shaped square bites.
  • I store them in the refrigerator.
  • They are a little delicate, so if you are transporting, put them in a plastic container rather than a baggie. 

Thanx to Kenneth at Fitness Together gym for this recipe!

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