Bars, Breakfast, Recipes

Fantastical Food Fight: Banana Breakfast Bars

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They’re a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love.¬†

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

Apparently these days all my recipes revolve around breakfast or snack time. Ha! I first made these yummy banana breakfast bars in the winter and have since made them several times because they are a) easy, b) addictive, c) pretty healthy, and d) made with ingredients I always, always, ALWAYS have on hand. All three of us love these hybrid granola bar/banana bread recipe that can be enjoyed for an on-the-go breakfast or for a healthy snack option. And my husband likes them doubly-so because they’re made in just one bowl for extra-easy clean up! Haha.

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

I’m always on the look out for easy, real-food recipes that I can make for my toddler’s afternoon snack at school… with the dreaded “nut free” caveat. I’m fortunate enough to not have a child with food allergies, so I don’t quite understand that world, though I do try to be sympathetic. But it’s hard because I love me some peanut butter and lots of my favorite recipes include it! So I have to think outside the box a bit for school snacks. We try to rotate between yogurt, applesauce, cheese, fruit, and some sort of muffin/bar recipe so he doesn’t have the same thing for snack everyday. The muffin/bar option is one of my favorites because so many recipes–including this one–can be made ahead and frozen so he doesn’t have a week’s worth of the same thing. I know he’s only two, but even so I don’t want him to get bored with the same snacks. And maybe BECAUSE he’s two, I don’t want him to get into a food rut. ūüôā¬†So many store-bought breakfast/granola bars are made with nuts or nut butter, which is a no-go for school… so these are absolutely perfect!

These simple freezer-friendly banana breakfast bars come together in a snap and taste SO good! They're a great breakfast or snack that everyone will love. #FantasticalFoodFight via thepajamachef.com

I hope you give these easy bars a try. Read through the recipe below to see how to make them… and be sure to click over to the original recipe. If you don’t have to make nut-free snacks like I do, you’ll want to try the yummy peanut butter-white chocolate drizzle. I need to give that try sometime! ūüôā

P.S. I’m linking these up with the BANANA Fantastical Food Fight this month. Check out more banana recipes here:¬†

two years ago: Creamy Sweet Potato and Kale Orzo
three years ago: Cantucci (Almond Biscotti)
four years ago: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
five years ago: Autumnal Muffins
six years ago: Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
seven years ago: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
eight years ago: Spaghetti + Meatballs

Banana Breakfast Bars

  • Servings: 12 bars
  • Print

slightly adapted from Crazy for Crust

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas, very ripe
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mash bananas. Add oil, egg, and vanilla, then whisk until egg is beaten in and everything is combined. Add in oats and flour, then stir to combine. Sprinkle in brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan, then bake for 18-22 minutes until edges are golden brown and center is cooked through.

Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze (in bags for easy lunch packing, if desired) for up to a month.

The original recipe has a yummy peanut butter-white chocolate drizzle on top if you want to try that! I needed to keep these nut-free for my son’s school, but that would be a fun addition. Enjoy!

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Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com
Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Peanut Butter Protein Poppers

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert! 

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

It’s Fridayyyy! And I’m sitting in my office, eating lunch and hoping no one comes by and thinks I’m not working when really, it’s my lunch break. Does anyone else ever get like that? Paranoid, I mean… it’s my natural tendency. Ugh. But anyway, I shouldn’t be all “ugh” because it’s almost the weekend!! What does your weekend look like? These days, mine are filled with running, playing Duplo trains with my toddler, reading, going to church, and then MAKING ALL THE THINGS to eat on Sunday afternoons because marathon training makes me hungry.

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

I’m not a hardcore meal prepper by any means, but I do like to be strategic in my weekend cooking: preparing breakfasts, snacks, and a dinner for Monday night make the whole week go so much smoother. Monday night dinner already made? Sign me up! Making a breakfast dish (baked oatmeal, egg casserole/muffins, or a batch of overnight oats) saves me in the mad rush out the door in the morning. Running at 5 am and trying to be out the door by 6:45 am is a little crazy some days, so having a prepared meal that I can easily heat up or take to go is fantastic. Likewise, I need snacks to enjoy at work. My coworkers and the students in the library probably think I eat all day long, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Haha! I do lots of the usual options: veggies and dip, apples and nut butter, cheese, nuts… but my new favorite thing is homemade granola bars and little bites, like these amazing¬†Peanut Butter Protein Poppers! I know you can buy things like this but there’s just something so fun about homemade treats that are on the healthy side.

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

These little peanut butter bites are made with protein powder, which isn’t something I consume regularly, but I had some samples to use so that was fun to throw in here. Aside from the protein powder, these bites have pantry staples that I use all the time in the kitchen. Oats! Cinnamon! Peanut butter! Honey! Coconut Oil! They are SO easy to make–just stir everything together, shape into balls, and chill for awhile. Then, melt some dark chocolate and drizzle on top. Presto! Tasty little protein poppers that are almost like dessert. I like to eat a couple of these in the afternoon as a snack, but I think they could also be great before/after a workout or even as a healthy dessert. Hope you guys enjoy!

Easy and delicious, these peanut butter chocolate protein poppers are a fun healthier snack option that taste like dessert!  thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Honey Sweetened Banana Berry Oat Muffins
two years ago: Creamy Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken
three years ago: Red Cabbage, Raisin, and Apple Slaw
four years ago: Healthy Crumb Topped Zucchini Bread
five years ago: Pumpkin Coconut Soup
six years ago: Chocolate Mousse 
seven years ago: Pumpkin Granola
eight years ago: Pizza Sauce

Peanut Butter Protein Poppers

  • Servings: 20 poppers
  • Print

slightly adapted from Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup protein powder – I used half vanilla, half plain
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter – I used a no-stir natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips – for drizzling (optional, but not really!)

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together oats, protein powder, and cinnamon. In a measuring cup, whisk together peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil. If it is too thick to mix well, microwave it for 15 second bursts until easily stirrable. Pour over oat mixture, then quickly stir to combine. The texture will be similar to cookie dough, and if stirring is difficult, use your (clean!) hands to mix together.

Use a medium cookie scoop (or your hands) to roll into balls. Place on a silicone mat or wax paper lined baking sheet, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to set.

When set, drizzle with melted dark chocolate. I like to melt chocolate in the microwave, using 50% power for 15 second bursts. Stir between bursts until chocolate is completely melted. Drizzle chocolate over Peanut Butter Protein Poppers, then return to refrigerator for at least another 10 minutes until chocolate is set.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes: my protein powder had chia seeds in it, but if yours doesn’t, you could add a little in place of a little protein powder or oats… maybe like a tablespoon or so.

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Recipes

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Easy and always enjoyed, this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal is almost constantly in our fridge! My toddler can’t get enough, and the adults in our house think it’s pretty tasty too.

Easy and always enjoyed, this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal is almost constantly in our fridge! My toddler can't get enough, and the adults in our house think it's pretty tasty too. 

Baked oatmeal is standard in my house. My toddler takes his breakfast to school everyday, and it’s a great choice because it’s a) made in bulk, b) pretty healthy, c) pretty filling, d) a pretty much guaranteed hit. I almost wanted to make that a quiz by adding “e) all of the above” but it’s too early for quizzes, is it not? *insert laughing/crying emjoi here* Ha! Anyways¬†this Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal is a recipe I’ve made time and time again. Last time, I finally got it together enough to take a few pics for the blog!

Easy and always enjoyed, this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal is almost constantly in our fridge! My toddler can't get enough, and the adults in our house think it's pretty tasty too. 

I’ve tweaked the original to suit our tastes, and let me tell you… this baked oatmeal is absolutely delicious! Just a few things I want to mention:

  1. The binder in this recipe is made out of flax. Yes, flax. You can use regular eggs if you like, but flax eggs work equally well in recipes like this, so why not? It’s a step towards a vegan and/or allergy friendly recipe, which I always appreciate.
  2. You can choose your milk and fat. Sounds weird, but use whatever you like! Regular milk, almond milk, soy milk… anything goes! Same with the fat (by this I mean butter or oil). I like to use a little butter plus a little applesauce. I wouldn’t recommend¬†all applesauce due to the texture and taste.
  3. As it is written, this recipe is for apple oatmeal. However, you can use many other fruits. Pears! Berries! Bananas! Dried fruit! The sky is the limit.

Easy and always enjoyed, this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal is almost constantly in our fridge! My toddler can't get enough, and the adults in our house think it's pretty tasty too. 

As you can tell, I use lots of apples in this oatmeal but add them to your preference. Sometimes I will grate the apples so my son eats more, but I do like him to eat various textures and try things on his own without having¬† them hidden so I don’t always do that. He eats this oatmeal with his cute little chubby fingers at school, but I like to eat it in a bowl, with a spoon. ūüôā I enjoy spreading some natural peanut butter on top, warming it up for a minute in the microwave, and then pouring some vanilla almond milk on top. Soooo good! Enjoy, friends!

one year ago: Mocha Oatmeal Cookies 
two years ago: Grapefruit-Walnut Sheet Cake 
three years ago: Caesar Salad with Fried Chickpeas
four years ago: Chili Relleno Casserole
five years ago: Baked Jalapeno Popper-Ranch Dip
six years ago: Fried Eggs on Pesto Parmesan Toast
seven years ago: Mini Meatloaf

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

  • Servings: 10
  • Print

adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds + 5 tablespoons water (or 2 eggs)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, any type
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola, coconut) or butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural applesauce (or additional 2 tablespoons oil or butter)
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large apples, such as Gala or Fuji, diced or grated

Directions:

Grease a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together ground flaxseeds and water to make an “egg.” Set aside for 5 minutes to combine and thicken.

In the meantime, whisk together milk, oil, and applesauce in a large measuring cup. In a large bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. After flax is thick, fold in flax “eggs.” Pour wet ingredients into the dry ones, then stir to combine. Fold in apples, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve warm or room temperature, with milk or maple syrup on top. A dab of peanut butter is also delicious!

Notes:

I usually make this with 2% or skim dairy milk, or plain or vanilla unsweetened almond milk.

Instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg, sometimes I use an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice.

For the apples, you can peel them if desired, but I don’t. #lazy¬†But, sometimes I do grate the apples so my toddler eats more of them. Haha! Other fruit works in this recipe too, like berries (keep ’em frozen til you stir them in!) or sliced bananas.

Breakfast, Oatmeal, Recipes

Fantastical Food Fight: Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

Everyday stovetop oatmeal… don’t settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it’s practically hands free, so you can make it while you’re getting the rest of your day in order.¬†

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

When I saw that the¬†Fantastical Food Fight theme for January was oatmeal, I may have squealed. You see, I love oatmeal SO much. I agonized over what I was going to make for this fun event. A new baked oatmeal recipe? A new overnight oat recipe? Finally try my hand at savory oats (that my husband thinks sound disgusting)? But then I talked some sense into myself.¬†Don’t make it complicated! Many days I just make a bowl of oatmeal on the stovetop. And I’ve never shared my method on the blog! Perfecttt!

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

I know you can make oatmeal in the microwave, or you can use those instant oat packets, or even use those fancy single serving tubs. There’s a time and a place for all of those (I keep instant oats at work for emergencies, for instance). But most days? I make a quick batch of my everyday stovetop oats for breakfast. My son LOVES oatmeal mornings and so do I. What I love about these oats is how easy they are–literally dump, stir, cook, forget it (set a timer)! I let these oats cook on my stove when I’m running around the house getting ready in the morning… and they are so simple and pretty much foolproof. I also love how creamy they are! Half milk, half water is my preferred liquid ratio for taste and creaminess. I also add some chia seeds and the consistency is so great! I know it’s weird to say oatmeal is luxurious, but these oats are! Lastly, I love how these oats are the perfect vehicle for your favorite toppings. You can find an ultimate list of oatmeal toppings in the recipe notes below, but for starters… here are some of my favorite combos. Fresh blueberries, sliced almonds, and a touch of brown sugar. S’mores. Peanut butter and strawberry jam. Sliced bananas, sliced almonds, toasted coconut, and maple syrup. Fresh strawberries, almond butter, and honey. The possibilities are endless! The toppings in the pictures are diced Bosc pear, sliced almonds, and dark brown sugar. SO good. Enjoy, friends! Hope you hop on my oatmeal bandwagon. ūüôā

Everyday stovetop oatmeal... don't settle for a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast. If you have 10 minutes, you can have a delicious, hot bowl of oatmeal. And it's practically hands free, so you can make it while you're getting the rest of your day in order.  #FantasticalFoodFight

one year ago: Annette’s Layered Chicken Enchiladas
two years ago: Amish Cheeseburger Soup
three years ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
four years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
five years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
six years ago: Lasagna Soup
seven years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Find more oatmeal recipes at the link below!

Everyday Stovetop Oatmeal

  • Servings: 1
  • Print
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds**
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • any desired toppings***

Directions:

Combine milk, water, oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. Do NOT stir… resist the urge! Stir only when the oatmeal starts bubbling, usually about 6-7 minutes on my stove. Allow to cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency.

Remove from heat and immediately transfer oatmeal to a bowl. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

Notes:

Recipe as written serves one adult. You can scale it up to serve more, or scale it down if the serving size is too big for you. When I’m making some for my toddler as well, I add an extra 2 tablespoons oats, 2 tablespoons milk, and 2 tablespoons water. It doesn’t sound like much but makes enough for him (and he probably gets a little of my portion as well).

*MILK… I usually have both dairy milk and almond milk in my fridge, so this oatmeal works with either. I usually use skim or 2% milk OR unsweetened regular or vanilla almond milk. Any kind of milk should be fine.

**CHIA…The chia seeds help thicken the oatmeal and give it a great consistency. A similar consistency can be achieved with flax or hemp seeds, but I wouldn’t substitute nuts in this step. But you can add them as a topping.

***TOPPINGS…

  • Fruit: I prefer fresh fruit instead of frozen in my oatmeal. Frozen blueberries or cranberries are the exception–just add them at the beginning of the cooking time. My favorite fruits for oatmeal include: any berries, sliced bananas, diced peaches, diced pears, and grated apples. Sauteed apples are good too, but usually too time consuming for busy mornings.
  • Dried fruit: Any kind! Soak them in the cooked oatmeal before eating. It’ll change your life!!
  • Jam: Any kind! Usually when I add jam I find I don’t need other sweetener.
  • Nuts: Any kind! Sliced almonds are my go-to.
  • Nut butter: Lots of people love nut butter in oatmeal… I personally am a little iffy on it because it feels too heavy. I can occasionally do a little peanut or almond butter with sliced bananas, or with jam for a pb&j twist.
  • Coconut: Bonus points if it’s toasted… sometimes I toast extra for a recipe so I can have some on hand for oatmeal.
  • Chocolate chips: A fun indulgence… usually means I don’t need any other sweetener, or just a tiny bit.
  • Sweetener: I like about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup in my oatmeal. My husband uses more like a tablespoon, and I don’t give our toddler any most days. You do you!

Desserts, Other, Recipes

Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping

My recipe for Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping has been submitted for the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge. Product samples received in exchange for posting this recipe as part of the recipe challenge. #steviva #sweetandeasy

My recipe for Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping has been submitted for the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge. Product samples received in exchange for posting this recipe as part of the recipe challenge. #steviva #sweetandeasy

Happy Halloween! I love candy as much as the next girl, but if I was being really honest I would tell you that I prefer fruit-based dessert¬†more than chocolate-based desserts. Hence sharing a fruity dessert on the day ‘o candy, right? ūüôā But this isn’t just ANY fruity recipe. It’s a versatile sweet treat that’s healthy enough for breakfast and indulgent enough for dessert. Say whattt? Yup! Breakfast or dessert, it don’t matter. Originally I set out to make an apple crisp–using apples from a recent trip to the apple orchard, natch. But then I spied some pears in the fridge (from my brother-in-law’s parents’ house!) and added those bad boys in. Extra yum!

My recipe for Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping has been submitted for the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge. Product samples received in exchange for posting this recipe as part of the recipe challenge. #steviva #sweetandeasy

Since I was making this recipe as part of a recipe contest for¬†Steviva, I wanted to make the crisp topping a little healthier than usual. (If you want, you can find Steviva on¬†Facebook,¬†Twitter,¬†Google +,¬†¬†Pinterest, and¬†Instagram.) Instead of loads of butter and sugar in the crisp topping, I decided to toss in additional crunchy elements… chia seeds and sliced almonds, to be exact. And let me say… what a great idea! The crisp topping turned into this fanastic crunchy, granola-y layer. It actually stayed crisp in the fridge for a few days until we polished off the leftovers. Amazing! I used just enough¬†Steviva Blend¬†(erythritol and pure stevia) to sweeten up the topping a little bit. Plenty of warm fall spices and apple and pear flavor come through. This might be one of my new favorite recipes! It’s delicious served with vanilla yogurt or ice cream, and I think it would be perfect with a bit of whipped cream too! Enjoy!

My recipe for Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping has been submitted for the Steviva Blogger Recipe Challenge. Product samples received in exchange for posting this recipe as part of the recipe challenge. #steviva #sweetandeasy

one year ago: Apple Cider Pancakes
three years ago: Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin
four years ago: Sweet Potato Pie with Cranberry Compote
five years ago: Pumpkin, Kale, & Black Bean Stew
six years ago: Individual Pumpkin Pie Parfaits
seven years ago: Aunt Charlotte’s Tex Mex Corn

Baked Pears and Apples with Crispy Granola Topping

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

Ingredients:

for fruit

  • 8-10 cups chopped pears and apples, unpeeled in 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

for topping

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup¬†Steviva Blend
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2-4 tablespoons sliced almonds, optional
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • vanilla yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream, etc. for serving, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch round baking dish with cooking spray. (A square baking dish or pie pan would also work.)

In a large bowl, toss together pears, apples, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Spread in prepared pan.

In the same bowl, stir together oats, Steviva Blend, chia, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If desired, stir in almonds. Cut butter into small chunks, then use a pastry blender or two knives to cut butter into the oat mixture until it is evenly distributed in tiny pieces. Sprinkle over fruit.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and crispy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then serve with some vanilla yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream, if desired.