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Last night, the kids asked to stay up and watch the Super Bowl. We’re not big football people. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you who was playing in the Super Bowl until just a few days ago.
The kids’ school had asked the children to guess the winner of the game, along with the final score. Because of this, Piper was not going to miss the big game. He even talked to me ahead of time about the snacks he wanted to enjoy during the game: carrots, popcorn with butter and salt, cheese, apples. Before the game, we assembled the snacks on a tray (per his request). During the game, we tried our best to explain the rules of football to the kids in between handfuls of popcorn.
After staying up late on Sunday night, it was hard for me to wake up this morning. And it was even harder for the kids. Monday morning is always rough (which is why I’m such a firm believer in establishing morning routines and prepping food in advance), but the Monday after the Super Bowl is just brutal. I was feeling it. And the kids were feeling it.
I had planned to pack the kids’ lunches in the morning, and make breakfast, since I didn’t get any food prep in before or during the Super Bowl. At precisely 7:05am, I had a coffee-ordained revelation: self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and face masks. Sometimes, many times, self-care is about simplifying life, taking things off my busy plate, and just saying no to being overwhelmed in the first place.
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This morning, self-care came via a cereal box (One Degree brand is my favorite and has a super clean ingredient list), a half-gallon container of milk, and a couple of white bowls. Yep, the kids had cereal for breakfast. They poured it themselves, I didn’t have to cook or clean anything, and I even had time to blow dry my hair. It didn’t stop there, either. I also put the lunchboxes back in the cabinet and ordered the kids lunch from school.
I want to do it all and be it all, and asking for help–whether it’s from a person or a box of cereal–isn’t natural for me. This morning, I knew that asking for help was essential; it was a form of self-care and simplifying life in the present. I also knew that cereal and school macaroni and cheese aren’t a true representation of what my kids eat all week.
When I’m not serving cereal for breakfast in the name of motherly/post-Super Bowl self-care, I like to to prep something in advance on the weekend to get us through breakfast, lunch, or snacks for a few days.
Breakfast is definitely the craziest time in our house, even without a late-night Super Bowl party, so being prepared for this meal is always a good choice. I usually prepare one item (such as: pancakes, breakfast cookies, muffins, granola, or hardboiled eggs) to serve for a couple of days, and then stick with basic scrambled eggs and sourdough toast, or yogurt and granola with fruit, or oatmeal for the rest of the week. Smoothies are another easy, nourishing option, which are usually served alongside buttered sourdough toast.
Today’s breakfast/snack cookies are kid-approved, easy to make, make-ahead friendly, and the perfect way to use the pair of ripe bananas sitting on the counter. The cookies are made with nut butter (for protein), bananas (for natural sweetness and a banana flavor), rolled oats (inexpensive, basic, but so good), a hint of maple syrup, flax (the binder, so you can save the eggs for another morning or serve the cookies alongside eggs) and a handful of chocolate chips.
The cookies aren’t overly sweet, so the addition of chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life, or another clean-ingredient brand) makes these cookies feel like a special treat (similar to a chocolate chip pancake breakfast). If you don’t want to add extra sugar (chocolate chips will contain some cane sugar), go with cacao nibs (they are bitter, so expect a not-so-sweet end result). While I haven’t tried this suggestion, I can’t help but think that shredded coconut may be a delicious replacement for the chocolate chips, too. Or maybe dried fruit (like raisins or dried cherries). Hmmmm, next time!
Banana-Oat Breakfast and Snack Cookies
Oat-based breakfast and snack cookies that taste like homemade banana bread with chocolate and nuts. Use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free cookies.
- 2 TB ground flax *
- 5 TB warm water
- 2 medium ripe bananas 230g; scant 1 cup
- 1/2 cup nut butter ** 140g
- 2 TB pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 195g
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips such as: Enjoy Life brand***
- 2 TB chopped nuts such as: walnuts, almonds, or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Optional: I like to spread the rolled oats on the parchment-lined sheet pan, and then toast the oats while the flax egg (next step) sets. This step helps to enhance the flavor of the oats. Toast the oats for 8-10 minutes, until fragrant. Then remove the oats from the oven and proceed on with the following steps.
Combine the ground flax and warm water in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to gel.
Mash the banana in the bowl with the flax. Stir in the remaining wet ingredients: nut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients and mix.
Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
Scoop out the batter using a ¼ cup measure cup (I used an ice cream scooper). The cookies do not spread, so they can be close together on the sheet. Press the cookies down with your fingers or the back of the measuring cup, once on the pan, so they resemble a thick cookie.
Bake the cookies for 17-20 minutes. The cookies should feel “set” in the middle when gently pressed, and lightly brown around the edges.
Cool the cookies on the sheet pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies to a rack to cool the rest of the way.
The cookies are best eaten within 3 days, or store them in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week. They also freeze well, and should keep for a couple of months.
*If you have whole flax seeds and want to grind them into a powder, you'll need to add 1 heaping tablespoon of flax seeds to a spice grinder, and then pulse the seeds into a powder. I prefer golden flax. Use what you have. The flax and water together create a "flax egg" which serves as the binder in this recipe.
**I've been using the almond butter from Costco, which only contains almonds. Helen used the same when testing this recipe. I think peanut butter would be so good in this recipe, too. If you're nut-free, a seed butter would probably also work.
***The cookies aren't overly sweet, so the addition of chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life, or another clean-ingredient brand) makes these cookies feel like a special treat. If you don't want to add extra sugar (chocolate chips will contain some cane sugar), go with cacao nibs (they are bitter, so expect a not-so-sweet end result). While I haven't tried this suggestion, I can't help but think that shredded coconut may be a delicious replacement for the chocolate chips, too. Or maybe dried fruit (like raisins or dried cherries).