One of my resolutions for the New Year is to read more. I usually have a book or two (or four) on the go but I am definitely guilty of taking my iPad to bed more often than not. I want to make more of an effort to wind down my day with words on a page instead of on a screen. So, as a part of my resolution I got myself a pretty new nightstand (to replace the old chair with a lamp on it that I had been using for the past six months) and took myself on a date to the local second hand bookstore. Of course I ended up in the cookbook section where I came across a copy of "The Chopra Center Cookbook" by Deepak Chopra. I have a bunch of his books but this one is a collection of recipes that they use at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing which is "a healing place where people come from all over the world to transform their bodies, minds and souls through nutrition, meditation and mind-body practice". It includes over 200 recipes as well as a great introduction on nutrition and eating with awareness (another one of my resolutions that I'll share more on later). Most of the recipes are vegetarian/vegan and are all whole food based. Although I'm not usually inclined to buy a cookbook without photos, after flipping through I really wanted to try a bunch of the recipes so it came home with me.
After reading the intro chapters, the first thing I did was turn to the breakfast section. I'm not someone who craves eggs in the morning so I'm always looking for something other than oatmeal or toast (or really amazing banana bread) to start my day. I love that all of these recipes use little to no sugar and often substitute apple sauce or fruit purées for oil. Since I've been going to prenatal yoga classes in the mornings I decided to start by making the 'Breakfast Bars' because they also make a great portable snack that you can throw in your bag for when you're starving after class (aka "second breakfast"). They were super easy and if you are missing any of the ingredients (ie: fruits/nuts/seeds) you can just swap them out for something else. I actually left the sugar out of mine because I didn't want them to be very sweet and they were great. They're kind of like a cross between a muffin and a granola bar and they taste like mini-oatmeals. I'll definitely be making these again and trying out some different variations.
I also ordered a few new cookbooks from Amazon that should be arriving soon so you can look forward to hearing about those as well. Meanwhile, I'll be the pregnant gal laying in bed at night reading cookbooks while munching on Breakfast Bars. Happy baking!
Healthy Breakfast Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (or your flour of choice)
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds (or flax meal)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (I didn't have any so I used chia seeds)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries (I used half raisins & half cranberries)
- 1 cup sunflower seeds (or pecan or cashew pieces)
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or sugar of your choice)
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 canola oil (or ghee)
- 3/4 cup applesauce (or mango purée)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with oil (I used coconut oil).
2. Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl & stir to combine.
3. Place all wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Pour into dry ingredients and stir everything together.
4. Transfer mixture into your pan and pat down & distribute evenly. (Optional: Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar over the batter).
5. Bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown & an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool, cut into bars & serve. Or wrap individually and take them to-go!