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Let’s get caught up + Budgeted Eats Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Bake

There is no way to get caught up in one post so I won’t sit here and word vomit. Two things to point out – 1. diving into poetry as an outlet instead of this blog was something I never saw coming 2. coronavirus and COVID19 – this needs no explanation.

We’ve all be impacted differently and all I can offer is to try to not pass judgement on how others are coping no matter how much it pisses you off. We can only do what we can to control out actions.

Now – since that’s out of the way. This post. Getting back to a similar place of where we were. Public health. Health coaching. Exercise. Baking and eating and loving every flavor – or most flavors. Mental health. Shopping.

This past summer, I started the Budgeted Eat Series where I break down some recipes and tips to shop more effectively for your budget. This series is a great way to look at how inexpensive and flexible produce (either fresh or frozen) can actually be as well as getting a better understanding on unit pricing, meal planning and creating diversity.

Before I created that series, I had created Wellness Refocused Education series. Periodically, I write about different topics as they relate to health and wellness, often using and breaking down peer-reviewed research. Sometimes I use anecdotes to present other ideas like journaling strategies for the person who has a hard time journaling or challenging you to consider what healthy actually means.

I love writing both series because it’s practice for to talk about these topics in a way for the general public understand. Which is something that is important to me. People need to be met where they are – talking above their heads doesn’t help them learn so that they can make healthy choices for themselves. I also think it’s important to educate yourself, be curious and ask questions, take ownership of things in your control – this is your life.

So baking. Let’s start there because I’m a few cakes deep since starting quarantine in the middle of March.

My first instinct when I have browning bananas is to make banana bread. I go between a protein bread that I created and a standard recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. The protein recipe gets slight adjustments as protein on hand changes or the banana size changes – I just wing it sometimes and hope for the best. The BHG recipe is the first one I learned to make when I was a kid. I remember making a well in the flour for the banana mixture. So there are times that I need that recipe.

Maybe it’s quarantine, or maybe it’s how I’ve been feeling about baking lately, but I’ve been more reminiscent than normal. It’s not a problem at all, just something I’ve found interesting.

After some exploring and deciding banana bread wasn’t being made today, I decided on oat bars. There are a ton of recipes out there and the basics – oats, a sweetener, a riser and something to bind.

What You’ll Need

  • 2 small to normal sizes bananas (overly ripe)
  • 1 cup of Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg white or 1 whole egg (I used a white, but either would be fine)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • cooking spray
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Fork (to easier to mash and mix)
  • 8 x 8 baking pan (brownie pan)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas. It’s ok if they’re a little chunky.

3. Mix in baking soda thoroughly.

4. Add in all other ingredients until mixed well.

5. Spray baking pan and spread batter evenly.

6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

I let the baking pan cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing oat sheet of bars to finish cooling directly on the rack. I cut mine into 9 pieces so they were a couple of inches big.

I’m interested to see how these toast up. I love toasting banana bread slices and putting peanut butter on it, so I may need to do the same with these!

I sometimes purposely buy bananas just bake with them when they’re ripe. They can be anywhere from $0.29 to $0.69 a pound – which makes them an awesome daily snack. There’s fiber (helpful for digestion) and potassium (helpful for muscle recovery and preventing cramps). These are a fruit I would recommend buying non-organic. While there can be concerns about pesticide use on produce, there are over 200 chemicals that can be used for an item to still be considered organic. Since we don’t eat the skin, I don’t see anything wrong with having a regular banana.

To learn more about organic (which has a lot more to do with the communities that farms are located in, than consumers), check out a few of these link: labeling, regulations, programming.

Oats are also another food that can be flexible. I used Old Fashioned Rolled oats here because of how they will bake rather than steel cut or instant. You can learn more about oats in this post.

It was weird sitting down to write and talk with you like this. I’m hoping to do it more, and not leave so much time in between posts. But we’ll see what happens. 2020 has been weird. But I’m here for it – bring on the weird.

I hope you’ll join me.

<3 Cristina

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