Friday, December 5, 2014

Protein Baked Oatmeal Bars

So a lot has been going on in my life lately. So why haven't I been blogging? I've certainly had a lot to write about, but at least one factor is the fact that my depression returned with a vengance. I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until it hit me like a ton of bricks one day and I did something about it. I'm pleased to report that I'm doing much better thanks to the help of some wonderful friends, family, and medical care providers. And with that change in attitude and outlook I also felt a switch flip and decided that I needed to get myself healthy. I mean REALLY healthy. Not just mentally and emotionally, but physically too! I'll write more about this later, but the short version is that I got myself hooked up with an awesome personal trainer. In addition to kicking my butt in the gym several times a week he also introduced me to meal planning. I wasn't thrilled with the idea but the "rules" he gave me were pretty do-able even for my picky habits, but there were a few hurdles.

One was how to eat a good breakfast within an hour of getting up, particularly when I am working overnight. I can eat when I get home but that's sometimes SEVERAL hours after I wake up. I tried taking stuff to work to heat up but that didn't work. And I tried the overnight oats recipes floating around pinterest. We can add oatmeal to the list of things that I am not a fan of! Anywho, I remembered my old baked oatmeal muffins recipe that was supposed to be healthy in the first place and decided to attempt the healthy version with a few twists to fit within my new guidelines. So here is the recipe I came up with.

Dry Ingredients
2 1/2 c. quick oats
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I use Ultimate ProFit)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. splenda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Wet Ingredients
1 1/4 c. 1% milk
1 egg + 2 Tbsp. egg whites
8 oz plain greek yogurt
4 oz unsweetened applesauce

1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. dark chocolate chips

I'm not much of a baker, especially when it comes to exact techniques, so I used a big mixing bowl to combine all the wet ingredients. I used my oatmeal container (since I was using the last of my oatmeal) to shake together all my dry ingredients. Dump the dry into the wet and mix it up, then add the chocolate chips and almonds.

I used a mini loaf pan so I ended up with about 8 bars (probably about 1/3 c. batter each) that I sprayed with a little cooking spray (and then promptly wiped out half of it!)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes

If I had it to do over again I'd probably use a little less cinnamon, but maybe it'll grow on me. Obviously you can use more or less of the nuts and chocolate and add or substitute fruit if that is your thing. Maybe I'll try apple walnut next time, or add some peanut butter.

Let me know if you try it out or make any variations! I'd love to hear what you thing.

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