Breakfast has, by far, been the easiest meal for following the challenge rules. I’m one of those people that MUST have breakfast. My day doesn’t feel like it’s started without it, and I’m pathetically inclined to get cranky a few hours into the day if I skip it. That said, time is at a premium before I head out the door to work, so anything I can prep in advance and grab on the way out the door is wonderful.
I found two great recipes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, that with very slight tweaks (subbing in a whole grain in place of wheat germ or whole grain flour in place of all-purpose), are perfectly challenge-friendly, very tasty and ready to grab on the way out the door.
First up – Almond Date Breakfast Bars
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup pitted chopped dates
3 tbl whole wheat flour
1/3 cup milled flax seed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
freshly grated orange zest
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper, taking care the the paper extends up all the sides.
2. Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl (I just used my liquid measuring cup so I didn’t have to scrape it out repeatedly).
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until coated.
4. Press the mixture into the pan evenly. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until lightly golden.
5. Let the bars cool until they feel more solid than crumbly (putting them in the fridge once they’ve cooled to room temperature might help). Remove from pan and cut into nine squares.
Next – Maple Oat Granola
I like to throw this on top of Greek yogurt (sweetened with a little honey on the bottom of the bowl)
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup flax seed mill
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 cup or more maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (cherries or berries seem to work best)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all the ingredients but the egg white and fruit until well combined.
3. Whisk the egg white until it’s slightly foamy, them add to the mixture, stirring until evenly coated.
4. Spread in an even layer in the pan.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Check 20 minutes in and turn sections of the granola if they appear to be brownings (I’ve never remembered to do this, and they’ve turned out fine.
6. Once light golden brown on top, remove from oven and let cool.
7. Sprinkle with fruit, then remove from pan (breaking it up as much as you want) and transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Even after the challenge is over, I think I’ll be making both of these on a regular basis.