There are areas of parenting where I consider my status to be "stellar." I make sure homework is complete, I'm generally on time to the pick-line, my kids eat healthy meals and snacks (mostly), I play, I laugh, I kiss, I hug, I comfort, I LOVE ... but you guys, there are so many other areas that my status can only be described as "weak."
Creating magical morning scenes where the family gathers around the breakfast table while the impeccably dressed apron clad mother whips up a casual breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and pancakes (you know, Brady bunch stuff) ... not at my house.
Our mornings go a little something like this:
- Push snooze (dry shampoo will be fine this morning).
- Push snooze again (Cooper doesn't really need his uniform ironed, I'll throw it in the dryer).
- Push snooze (I'll let Cam ride to drop off in his PJ's).
You get the idea.. I HATE mornings, and because I spend so much time delaying the inevitable start of the day, mornings are frantic, rushed and far from enjoyable. Area of weakness.
Somewhere along the way, I got real.. home cooked hot breakfast, not happening at my house. EVER.
I think this fact goes a long way in explaining why my love of "grab-n' go" breakfasts runs so deep. They make me less of a failure. No matter how many times I push that snooze button.. the kids still get to eat.
These Strawberry Dark Chocolate Granola Bars are so delicious that I honestly can't stop eating them. They are my favorite, Joe's Favorite, my friends favorite, my nieces favorite... you get the idea. They are just REALLY REALLY good.
Strawberries + Dark Chocolate = Match (it's Science)
These bars are simple to make, requiring just 8 ingredients and 1 bowl. The base for these bars is rolled oats and a maple syrup/honey combo. Then.. we throw in some flax, dried strawberries , vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, almond milk and dark chocolate and mix it all together!
That's it. Just 8 ingredients. If you just can't jive with the dark chocolate (it does have a bit of refined sugar) you can always melt 100% dark chocolate in a double broiler and add some honey to taste for sweetness. Just pour the warm honey/chocolate mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and pop it into the freeze for 20 minutes. Once the chocolate hardens you can break it up and use just like chocolate chips?.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Prep: I currently have 3 canisters of mixed dry ingredients for these bars ready to go! I did this when I was making the first batch. Just mix the oats, protein powder, flax, cinnamon, and dried strawberries. When you are ready for more bars you just have to add the milk and honey/maple syrup.
Make Ahead: These bars are made for make ahead! I usually double the recipe. They go FAST in our house! To store them.. place in sandwich bags or wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge. If you want to be really fancy you can wrap them in parchment paper and secure with Washi tape… it’s adorable, but honestly, probably not worth the time unless you are giving as a gift!
Freezer: Yes! Wrap bars in clear plastic wrap and place in an airtight labeled Ziplock bag. Perfect to pull out on those stressful mornings when you hit the snooze button just 1 too many times!
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
- ½ cup dried strawberries
- 2 TBS ground flax
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 6 oz. dark chocolate (broken into chunks)
- ¼ cup of maple syrup
- ¼ cup of honey
- ½ cup of almond milk (or your personal milk preference)
- Heat oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8x8" baking dish and line with parchment paper.
- In the base of a stand mixer, combine oats, protein powder, dried strawberries, flax, cinnamon, dark chocolate, maple syrup, honey, and almond milk. Mix to combine (batter should be VERY sticky).
- Press the mixture firmly into the prepared baking dish (this will ensure that the bars stick together). You may want to wet your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Place pan in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the granola bars are golden brown, Allow the bars to cool for 10 minutes. Place a cookie sheet on the top of the baking pan. Flip. The granola bars should easily fall from pan. Allow to cool for 10 more minutes. Slice into bars.
- Make sure that you purchase ground flax not flax seeds. I prefer golden flax, but you can definitely use what you have.
- It isn't often that I feel qualified to offer parenting advice.. but this is good stuff. Try buying dried strawberries instead of gummy fruit packages. The taste is almost identical but there are no funky additives or dyes.
- If you want your bars to look ascetically pleasing.. pop them in the freezer for about 15 minutes before slicing. It just makes it easier!
- Dark chocolate chips can be hard to find (you should always use 72% cacao or higher). If you can’t find them, just buy a dark chocolate bar and crush it up with a meat mallet or hammer (make sure to put it in a plastic bag first so that you don’t make a mess).
- Use raw local honey when possible.
Looking for more healthy grab-n-go breakfast options? Check out Simply Sissom’s Breakfast Board on Pinterest. New pins are added daily from my favorite bloggers from around the web!
Other Grab N' Go Breakfast Recipes: