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Breakfast

My friend & coworker Amy introduced me to these amazing little things called Power Balls that have revolutionized my breakfast life. I am so picky in the morning that something has to be really enticing (read: containing chocolate) for me to not just skip breakfast, which is my inclination even though I know that isn’t a wise choice. Since I gave up commercial breakfast bars I have tried all sorts of healthy muffin recipes, homemade granola, bars, etc. but none were amazing enough for me to stick with for more than a few weeks. Enter Power Balls. They are delicious, quick to make, can be prepared in bulk and stored, and are convenient to eat on-the-go. While there are many Power Ball recipe versions floating around in cyberspace, Amy’s has the most flavors that I like. Here it is:

Power Balls Recipe
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey (I’ve mixed in agave nectar, too)
3 cups (non-instant) oats
½ cup flaxseed (I’ve had them with both ground and whole flax seed)
½ cup chocolate chips or white chocolate chips
½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, etc.)
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)

Mix peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add in oats and flaxseed, then fold in the other ingredients. The Kitchen Aid works great for this. Then roll into ping-pong ball sized balls. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer. You can switch up the add-ins, just keep the total amount to 1 ½ cups. If you add more, the balls won’t hold together. Also, beware of cutting down the honey. The honey really keeps it all stuck together.

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I make one or two batches at a time and then freeze all that I won’t eat in a week. They freeze really well—I use lidded Pyrex. They also travel well if you can keep them in a container with a structure (hard plastic or glass).

The ones Amy made for me had white chocolate chips, craisins, and walnuts and were so amazing! I’ve been making them with semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried cranberries, whole grain flax seed, and a mix of almonds and walnuts since both have such great, different nutritional benefits. Read about almonds here and omega-3-rich walnuts here.

Yes—these are sweet and contain chocolate chips—but they also have healthful ingredients. Hopefully my new nutritionist will agree! I meet with her next Monday to work on a well-balanced diet with a focus on local foods and to develop ways to up my fruit and veggie consumption. I am so excited!

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This entry is part of a series on changes I made in 2008 that I want to stick with in 2009…

  1. Commercial Breakfast Bars
    Replaced with homemade granola bars and whole grain muffins

    Commercial breakfast bars were one thing on our grocery tab that we had a hard time keeping cheap. Sure, we’d shop sales and coupons, but I am SUPER picky about breakfast (i.e. I don’t like to eat breakfast, so I need something easy and yummy to convince me so I don’t skip it an then become a hungry, moody lunatic by lunch) so if we were out of bars and no deals were to be had, we’d buy them at full price anyway. I’m super thrifty, so paying full price irritated me, being a slave to store visits when we ran out irritated me, and all of that packaging—individually wrapping and a box—irritated me. Plus, in terms of nutrition, I felt like the bars just didn’t have much bank for their buck. So, I needed to come up with something comparable in terms of convenience and portability.

    I decided to try my hand at making my own bars and muffins. I made a recipe in bulk every few weeks and put whatever I wouldn’t eat that week in the freezer for later weeks. So, I added two hours of work every three-ish weeks for cooking and clean up, but I ended up with a more delicious, nutritious alternative that yields much less packaging waste. I also started making yogurt & fruit smoothies in the blender to up the nutrition. Here is one muffin recipe that packs a big nutritional punch: Oat Bran Muffins. Here’s a picture of some hearty granola bars I made, but can’t find the recipe for again.
    (Update…basic recipe is here, yummy variations are here.)

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