Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bedtime Baking

A lot of people ask me how I find the time to cook and bake from scratch. The true fact is that my house is a mess. :) No, really, it's not that bad but I do put my time and effort into the cooking before any of the chores can be done. If you looked around my house right now, you may find a little dust and a lot of folded laundry on the dining room table. Oh well. At least we eat good food. :)

When the kids go to bed, I generally use that time to make something for the next day. I may throw the ingredients in the breadmaker for toast the next morning, I may make muffins or coffee cake. I may soak the dried beans for the next night's meal. I find that if I steal away even 20 minutes of time before I lounge on the couch and watch my favorite shows, I can get a lot accomplished for the next day's meals.

Last night I made my favorite coconut-chai coffee cake. It is low-fat and vegan. I doubled the recipe so we could eat some for breakfast, take some for a playdate and still have some left for more snacking. Turned out delicious! Love the fact that the kids don't fight me over breakfast foods!   The recipe for this easy coffee cake can be found right here.

My preschooler is in charge of snack tomorrow and when I asked him what he wanted to bring, his answer was simple:  Cereal Bars.  I make these every week and they are SO easy.  My friend Heather and I have been playing with the recipe (from another friend!) to decrease the sugar and fat and I think we have it pretty well figured out.  Here is the recipe:

Banana Oat Cereal Bars
(makes 8-10 bars or 16-20 squares)

2 c. oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. wheat germ
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 c. flour (white, wheat, combination, whatever)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 c. agave nectar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4. c. apple sauce
2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix and spread into greased 9 x 11 dish.  Cook for 25-30 minutes.  Cut immediately but let cool in pan.  Transfer to a covered container so they stay nice and moist.  Try not to eat all of them in one sitting.  :)

This isn't a great pic, but here you go anyway.

I hope you all go and have a wonderful night.  I'm off to watch my shows.  :)


Heather said...

The coffee cake looks so yummy! I have to make it soon.

Maureen said...

You inspire me OFTEN.
I look forward to learning from you!

The oat/banana bars look good - but where would I find agave nectar... what is it? what does it look like? what section of the store? only specialty store?

Amanda said...

Heather, it is so good! I use the Tazo Decaf Chai and it works great!

Moe, you are too sweet. :) I buy my agave at Whole Foods and it is in with the honey. I buy the raw 365 Whole Foods brand, but any will do...Trader Joe's even sells it next to the maple syrup. I use it in my coffee, baking, cooking and the kids even put in on their pancakes. It is less $$ than real maple syrup and it is natural. :) Hope that helps.

Ayelet said...

I make granola bars almost identical to those...will have to try adding banana to them!

Amanda said...

These very well could be from your original recipe since I got it from Heather from MAH (hence the friend shout-out above). We have changed them around to make them vegan, lower in fat and sugar. Don't you love how all this works? Good food and recipes changing it!

Vee said...

Amanda, these bars were delicious! All the kids loved them! I definitely want to try the recipe - thanks!

Amanda said...

Thanks Veronica! Little Man was very offended by the children who didn't eat them...he was name-dropping and everything...haha!

Anonymous said...

YUM!! Have you heard obout using extra virgin coconut oil in place of oil (I saw apple sauce in the cereal bar recipe which made me think of this). You can use it as a 1 to 1 replacement for oil in any recipe. And it converts to monolaurin in your body, which is great for your digestive tract and immune system (acts as an antiviral, antifungal and some other wonderful things I can't remember!).

Just a little bit of info to share in return for your wonderful posts here--I LOVE your blog Amanda!!!


Amanda said...

Hi Kim! Thanks for stopping by! I have heard about coconut oil but I have to admit, I don't really use it. I have heard so much conflicting information on whether the fat in coconut oil is actually good for you that I haven't used it. However, I do use light coconut milk and such in some cooking. I need to add it in more but regretfully speaking, I try to eliminate as much fat as waistline needs a bit of work. Thanks for the tip though! PS. I DO use coconut oil in my body scrub--DIVINE!!

Anonymous said...

From what I've read, yes it's saturated fat but it's one of very few that is actually good for you. I can't remember the details of why though. It is actually supposed to be helpful in burning fat. But you probably know more of the details than I. I read a few things and then only retain like 16% of it :)

Amanda said...

I use lots of grapeseed, canola and olive oil in my cooking but if I can eliminate it, I try. Any calorie-cutting is helpful since I INHALE these bars!! :)

Amber said...

We are headed into the kitchen to make these....
I'll admit, not only did I not know what wheat germ is.. I couldn't find it in the store :S

Amanda said...

Amber, hahahahahaha! At Whole Foods, wheat germ is next to the oatmeal in the cereal aisle. I think you will be ok without it. :)