Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve recently started cutting back on wheat/gluten as much as I can to help my mood.
It’s been hard though! What else am I supposed to do when they have fresh salt bagels in the kitchen at work? This is what it sounded like in my head yesterday afternoon, between the two halves of my brain, “You can totally do it! You’ve been eating bread your whole life and you’ve dealt with it so far! You’ll be fine!” versus “But you’ve been without wheat/gluten for a few days now, don’t you feel pretty awesome and balanced?”.
Needless to say, the devil on my shoulder won and I grabbed a bagel – but only half, to appease the gluten guardian on my other shoulder.
An hour and a half later, I was on my way home from work and stopped by the store to grab a few things. After dodging the over-excited door greeter at Meijer, weaving in and out of the lanes between the slow walkers and those obnoxious people who stop directly in the middle of the lane to catch up with that friend that they haven’t spoken to in “so long” (“I haven’t seen you since Sunday! How *are* you?”), and discovering that Meijer was out of most of what I needed for dinner, I found myself ridiculously riled up and pissed off. For no real reason! I could literally feel my head spinning and I couldn’t calm it down for another hour, though at least I was able to hold my tongue when I got home so that I wasn’t a raging bitch to Bronson.
Since I’m pretty much on the gluten-free train now, I have no idea what to eat for breakfast. I’ve been eating bread for breakfast for as long as I can remember! Bagels, English Muffins, toast, etc. I turned to Pinterest for gluten-free breakfast ideas. Most of what I found were oatmeal recipes, but I’ve never been a fan of oatmeal. I love oats, but I don’t dig on the texture of oatmeal much, too mushy for me. I looked at a few different recipes for baked oats, and came up with my own recipe for oatmeal breakfast bars!
I started with eggs, vanilla, salt and honey in a large mixing bowl, whisking it all together with a fury to make sure that the honey was fully incorporated. Then, I added almond milk and cinnamon to the mixture. A lot of cinnamon, of course. The mix was dark brown from the amount of cinnamon that I added. I poured in the oats and let them soak for a few minutes so that they’d be a little soft, but not so much so that I was getting into oatmeal territory. I used mostly whole rolled oats, but I threw in a handful of quick oats into the mixture. Because quick oats are broken down whole oats, they make these oatmeal bars sturdy. I’ve made these bars a few times over, experimenting with whole rolled vs. quick oats, and these can be made with a mixture of the two or one or the other. Depends on your chomping preference.
Once the oats had soaked up some of the wet mixture, I mixed in brown rice flour, baking powder and some brown sugar. I’ve also tried this recipe using a mashed up banana instead of flour, and it works very well. I prefer using the flour alternative for this recipe because the mashed banana made the bars a bit too spongy for me. A lot of people are digging on the banana for flour substitution right now, so I thought I’d give it a shot. When all of the batter was mixed together, I added in chocolate chips! You can throw in all kinds of different things like nuts and dried fruit!
I Pam’d a square baking tray and spread the oatmeal mixture evenly in the pan. I baked the oatmeal at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. I pulled the tray from the oven when the top was slightly golden and the center of the pan was sturdy (as opposed to still being a bit wet from the milk mix). I let them fully cool in the pan before cutting them into squares.
These oatmeal bars are sweet, cinnamon-y and satisfying. I eat one of these oat-loaded bars for breakfast and feel pumped and ready for the day. Another aspect of eating better and helping my mood is to stay on top of my metabolism, so I bring another one of these with me to work to take a few bites of before and after lunch if I feel my blood sugar dipping. These oatmeal bars have definitely helped smooth the transition into the less-gluten lifestyle for me. I hope that you enjoy them, whether you’re trying to give up gluten or not!
Recipe for Oatmeal Breakfast Bars:
1 tsp Vanilla
2 T Cinnamon
3 T Honey
½ tsp Salt
1 cup Almond Milk – Original or Vanilla
½ cup Brown Rice Flour – *or one mashed banana
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 ½ cups Rolled Oats
½ cup Quick Oats
3/4 cup add-ins – Chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, seeds, etc.
Combine eggs, vanilla, honey and salt. Whisk together well to ensure that honey is fully incorporated. Add almond milk and cinnamon and whisk well. Pour in oats and soak for 5-10 minutes. Add flour, baking powder and brown sugar. Mix in additions. Pour oat mixture into greased baking tray. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Let cool in pan.
*Edit* – The longer that you let the oats soak in the Almond Milk, the less flour that you have to use! I would suggest that if you soak the oats for 10 minutes or more, use only 1/4 cup flour!