Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Have We Always Said is the Most Important Thing?


If you haven't ever watched Arrested Development, this is the rhetorical question the main character, Michael Bluth, asks his son, George Michael. He is seeking the answer, "family." Breakfast is pretty important too.

I think of this scene a lot because I love breakfast. It's my favorite. If you follow along with this blog throughout the summer, you may begin to notice the breakfast-heavy repetoire. I have so many ideas... waffles, egg mcmuffins, quiche, steel-cut oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, cinnamon bread. If I'm not careful I might accidently end up with a freezer full of breakfast.

That's okay, though. Breakfast is my favorite. I have inadvertantly created high expectations around breakfast in this household. In fact, as I began working on this very blog post, my six-year-old came down and asked for apple slices and cereal and cheesy eggs for her breakfast. I'm always short-order-cooking it for breakfast, but I don't mind. After all, breakfast just might be the most important thing.

Much to my dismay, recently my kids discovered cereal bars (Nutri-grain). I mean, for someone who loves breakfast, this couldn't get much worse. My intent here is not to get all preachy, high-fructose corn syrup is evil, I'm a whole foods only person blah blah blah. I think most of us know that we shouldn't eat lots of processed foods (I think, I hope). I'm also pretty sure we all pick our own hills to die on about this. For instance, I may not be that into the cereal bars, but there is often a box of Cheez-Itz that finds its way into our home. And other things, but you don't have to know about them. Anyway, when the kids were all sick and wouldn't eat anything throughout the entire months of February and March, my genius husband brought home a bunch of cereal bars. They ate them! Hooray! Then they wanted them all the time. Boo.

At least now I know one thing that all three kids will always eat. I can add it to a list that includes cupcakes, cookies, frozen yogurt from a frozen yogurt shop, cheese-fries, and oddly, peas.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here is a recipe for homemade cereal bars. It's actually nothing like a real Nutri-Grain bar, and they didn't even end up much healthier. You can find other recipes online that involve rolling out two layers of sticky oat-flour dough and basically making your own jam to go in between the layers. You can even make individual pockets of said dough-layers and seal them up into perfect little homemade bars. Around here? Ain't nobody got time for that.

This recipe is inspired by a cross between this and this (Oh dear. I'm new to blogging. Is it okay to link to established, way awesomer blogs? Are the blog police coming to get me?).

(Cute Little Helper)

Super Fruit Cereal Bars:

Bottom Layer:
1 Egg
1/3 cup Honey
1/2 cup Applesauce
2 1/4  cups Rolled Oats
3/4 cup Oat Bran

1 Jar Jam (Trader Joe's Super Fruit Spread)

Top Layer:
1/3 cup Rolled Oats
1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
3 Tbs. Butter
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Beat egg with a hand mixer on high speed until frothy. Add honey and applesauce and beat until combined. Stir in Oats and Oat Bran. Press the mixture into  the lined pan. Carefully spread the jam over top.

Place "top layer" ingredients into food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over jam layer.

Bake for 25 minutes. Take out of oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300. Cut into 16 bars and return to oven for 15 minutes more. Allow to cool slightly before freezing them (if any last to freeze). I put the individual bars on a cookie sheet and froze them first. Then I placed them between pieces of parchment paper and threw them into a plastic freezer bag, then into the freezer. To defrost, you can either stick them on the counter overnight, or pop them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

(Cute Little Helper's hand getting a little close)

Nutrition information per bar: Calories - 161, Fat - 3.6 g, Fiber - 2.5 g, Sugars - 18.4 g, Protein - 3.5 g, Vitamin C - 61.3%, Iron - 5.3%

*** I think adding 1/3-1/2 cup melted butter to the bottom layer will make them a bit softer. I was trying to cut some calories so I didn't add any. 

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