Blueberry Breakfast Cookies

I have discussed before that I have a hard time getting ready in the morning. I’m not exactly a morning person, and it is a constant struggle for me to get dressed, fed, caffeinated, and out the door on time. A few mornings a week, Kyle sleeps later than me and I have to get ready in the dark, which compounds the problem. I brainstormed solutions about a month ago, and oatmeal breakfast cookies were born. If you have trouble fitting a healthy breakfast into your morning routine, and if you’re like me and you typically put yourself together while stumbling around in the dark, this handheld serving of oatmeal might be for you too.

Candlelight is superior to lamplight when you are stealthily eating cookies in the wee hours of the morning while your partner sleeps, peaceful and cookieless.

I’ve created another version of these cookies, and they are even more delicious than Breakfast Cookie 1.0, originally posted here. They are the perfect on-the-go breakfast for those mornings that you find yourself feeling around the furniture to make your way to the shower in total darkness, banging your knees on dressers and ironing boards, stepping on your pet’s tail, tumbling over as the cat spitefully trips you by running in between your unsteady feet, and struggling to match the colors of your work outfit through squinty eyes.

When you finally make it out the door alive, this cookie is a blissful reward for your morning commute that helps you get energy and prepare for your day. It centers and calms you so much that you might not have a nervous breakdown when you notice that your knees aren’t the only combo of black and blue that you’re sporting today, as you realize that you have matched navy blue tights to your jet black pencil skirt. Full of all the things that make you happy and healthy, and determined to help you start your day out right, here it is:

The Black and Blueberry Breakfast Cookie


Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and pureed in a food processor (add some of the milk early if you need some liquid to get it going)
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut + 1/8 cup sliced almonds (or 1/4 cup of any combination of nuts)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let this mixture stand for ten minutes to let the oats soften. One time I let it stand for about 30 mins in the refrigerator and it was even better.
  3. Divide mixture into six large mounds and place the dough mounds onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart from one another.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week.

This cookie goes well with a homemade iced coffee and a positive attitude. Now go forth and kick some ass!

My OOIAJ is better than your OOIAJ

In case you haven’t heard of them, OOIAJ = overnight oats in a jar and they are delicious. Today, I did them right. These might be the best overnight oats I’ve ever had.

You say, “but Lauren, it’s twenty degrees outside. Why would you eat cold oats in the morning?”

To you, I say: I love overnight oats. I love nutella. And when you have an empty jar of nutella, you make overnight oats in a nutella jar. Don’t even talk to me about hot oats in a jar. Nutella OIAJ is a dish best served cold. Bundle up and enjoy it.

In an almost-empty nutella jar, combine: 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon light & fit), dash of cinnamon. Stir, cover with the jar lid, and place in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, the oats will have soaked up the moisture and become mushy. Top them with sliced or mashed banana and chopped hazelnuts. Delish!

“Banana and nutella. It’s like tomato and basil.” –Richard Blais

 

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

I have this little habit that is draining my bank account, cramping my morning routine and expanding my waistline. But it feels so good!  It’s my Starbucks habit and it is out of control. I know I’m not alone on this one but that doesn’t make it any better.

ADDICT!

 

Honestly, it’s not the coffee that bothers me; it’s the pastry case. The coffee is a necessity that I simply cannot start my day without. The pumpkin bread or breakfast sandwich is just an add-on that I find hard to resist. Why do I continue to buy Starbucks food? Time.

Mornings are usually somewhat of a fire drill for me. I am not really a morning person (although I really really wish I was!) so getting out of the house on time for work in the morning in the appropriate attire, with makeup and hair done, and equipped with everything I need for the day, is a little miracle every morning Monday through Friday. To also have coffee prepared and breakfast eaten by that time is nearly impossible. So I grab coffee and food on the run and eat while I am driving to work. Enter Starbucks, enemy of my wallet and waistband.

On the weekend and on my days off, I enjoy oatmeal or cereal for breakfast and I make coffee at home. My favorite breakfast is a big bowl of oatmeal loaded with toppings like nuts and dried fruit, and drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I love the taste and the texture and I love how it fills me up until lunch time rolls around. I have tried to enjoy a bowl of oatmeal before work in the morning but it is hard for me to find the time.

What I really need is to be able to eat oatmeal while I am driving to work. Due to the safety concerns that I have about using a spoon while steering to scoop hot liquids out of a bowl and into my mouth, I haven’t tried it yet. Richmond drivers, thank me later. Fortunately, I will never have to try it because I have found a solution.

Behold, the oatmeal breakfast cookie.

This photo was totally taken on the weekend. As if I have the luxury of waiting for the sun to come up before I have to go to work.

I modified a recipe that I found here and came up with a pretty awesome breakfast that tastes just like my beloved morning oatmeal, except it’s in my hand. Which leaves one hand free for driving to work. Maybe now I can get my act together enough to make coffee so I won’t have to stop at Starbucks at all! (Don’t hold your breath.)

Even if I do need to make an espresso run in the AM, at least I won’t be tempted by the pastry case. I plan to make these on Sunday nights and have them ready to go throughout the week so I can grab and go in the mornings. They aren’t super sweet like dessert cookies because they are breakfast, although I might up the amount of honey or substitute maple syrup in the next batch. They are just sweet enough to not be bland. Either way, this is a great basic recipe that I (and you!) can modify at whim.

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 3 mashed bananas (ripe)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you want to add)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or any other chopped nut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Let this mixture stand for ten minutes to let the oats soften.
  3. Divide mixture into six large mounds and place the dough mounds onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart from one another.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool.
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to a week.

I have even included the nutritional information (estimated) from Spark Recipes here, in case you are interested:

Nutrition Facts – Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Enjoy!

Whey Protein Smoothie

For my birthday last month, Kyle’s mom gave me individual packets of fun smoothie ingredients like protein and wheatgrass. This weekend, I tried out the vanilla whey protein in one of my smoothies. The type that I had was a vanilla-flavored whey protein isolate powder from Jay Robb.*

I had heard before that the body can only absorb a limited amount of protein at a time and I know that most diets are not insufficient in protein. Also, a body builder I am NOT. However, being a vegetarian, I keep a close eye on how much protein I ingest and realize that I am at risk for protein deficiency. I aim for 60-65 grams of protein per day and I thought that a whole packet may be excessive.

I used a little less than one half of a packet in this smoothie, which made two 12-oz smoothies. It was a little gritty, which I don’t mind too much, but I might try it with 1/3 of a packet next time for a tasty boost of 8g of protein in one batch. The vanilla tasted great and I am looking forward to trying the strawberry packet that she sent along with it. See my recipe below!

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen fruit (blueberries and banana)

1 cup pineapple juice

1/3-1/2 packet vanilla protein powder (15g)

Preparation

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Yields approximately two 12-ounce smoothies. Grab a straw and a large glass and enjoy, or grab two glasses and share with a friend!

*I did some internet research on this and similar dietary supplements before I was comfortable incorporating them into my smoothies. Please remember that it is always best to consult your physician before adding a supplement to your diet.

Green Smoothie

I like to keep things interesting by writing about the ingredients and preparations that I try for the first time. While I enjoy reading other people’s daily food blogs, writing about oatmeal every day just isn’t my cup of tea. This is not the first time I have used kale, and it is not the first time I have made a smoothie.

But it is the first time I’ve put kale in my smoothie, so let’s talk about it!

Kale is a super ingredient that is great for your health. It is a descendant of the wild cabbage, which originated in Asia and is thought to have been brought to Europe around 600 B.C., where it was a popular food among peasants. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C. One cup of kale contains over 85% of your recommended daily value of each of these vitamins. It is also a great source of calcium, fiber, and iron. I found some great information about the health benefits of kale at this site: World’s Healthiest Foods.

I have used kale in stir-fry alongside ginger marinated tofu atop brown rice, and in potato and kale soup. I hear it is the cabbage of choice for use in Colcannon, an Irish dish that incorporates cabbage, potatoes, and sausage. I’ve been meaning to make a vegetarian version but right now it’s just too hot for that. There are three popular varieties of kale: curly, ornamental, and dinosaur. They are all slightly different, and most of my experience is with curly kale.

I used just one large leaf of curly kale for two smoothies. One leaf yielded about a cup of kale, and each cup packed plenty of vitamins and other nutrients for my healthy little smoothie for two. Here’s how it went down.

I added to my blender: one cup of frozen sliced bananas, one cup of frozen pineapple chunks, one leaf of kale (torn, stem removed), and one cup of vanilla soy milk (to sneak in a little more calcium, and because I was out of juice).

Yes, that is a wine glass in the background. It was Saturday morning, post-farmers’ market and pre-dishwashing. There is an empty wine glass (or two) on my kitchen counter after almost every Friday night. This is a fact of life which I am okay with and you should be too.

I blended this for a few minutes, and added a little more banana for consistency and a little more pineapple for flavor, then poured myself a large glass and Kyle a small taste. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about the grassy green concoction. Turned out he loved it, so he enjoyed a large glass too.

I think I’ll try this one again with pineapple or orange juice. It was delicious the first time around, but I would have liked a little more fruit flavor to mask the kale. The pineapple chunks did a great job infusing the smoothie with fruitiness so I’ll punch up the citrus next time for an even more enjoyable jolly green smoothie.

I wonder what will go in my smoothie next?