A quick snack to survive midterms week: Oatmeal and Banana bars recipe

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Marina is a Bachelor of Music student at Humber College by day and foodie by night.


When I moved out of the nest six months ago to attend college, I decided to honour my Spanish heritage and its love of food. I made a vow to myself that I would home-cook my meals and regularly go grocery shopping. Back in Vancouver, we never lacked the freshest ingredients. My dad, a very Spanish man with a love for carbs, would tour the city on weekend mornings to get the best of the best. For fresh veggies and fruit he goes to Norman’s Fruit and Salad at Commercial Drive, for meat the Asian T&T Supermarket at Keefer Place, and for cheese the Benton Brothers at Granville. And just like that, he sets off on his weekly tour. Along with his superb cooking skills inherited from my grandmother, we had the best of meals on the dinner table. Always.

 My goal was to recreate as much of that food culture as possible in my own now independent home. I quickly realized Toronto was going to make that a challenge. Finding the best ingredients wasn’t hard. All it took was asking around, lots of research, and lots of walking around the city. What proved hard was the distance. Toronto is so much bigger than Vancouver. The ideal “ingredient tour” wouldn’t take one morning; it would take an entire day, lots of commuting, and lots of heavy bag carrying. It was also expensive. Let’s face it, we are college students with tuitions to pay, money doesn’t exactly fall from the sky. Quickly I realized I would have to settle for simple food. Meals made out of basic ingredients we all mostly have in our pantries. Inexpensive, durable, and filling.

The Internet became my friend. I would stay up looking up recipes that somewhat resembled the taste of home. I would call up my dad to ask for tips. I would customize recipes with my dad’s recommendations. Slowly but surely, food started to taste decent! My roommates started to talk about how “good it smells in here” more and more. I learned to make the most out of my food. Tasty, simple, and healthy meals.

With midterms coming up, I find I have no time to sit down for breakfast, or interrupt my studying to make myself a snack. With that in mind, I bring to you: oat and banana bars! I love this recipe because it is very customizable. Any type of milk will work, any type of sweetener (or none at all) will work, and any fruit will work. You can even put in nuts if you’d like or even toppings! How is that for personalized?

Having said that, how healthy these bars are is up to your choices, but they do have the potential to be wholesome. This recipe as written contains:

  • Bananas: great source of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B-6. They are also a natural sweetener, this means you can leave out added sugars.
  •  Oats: another source of fiber and protein. Protein helps you feel full longer so you don’t snack between meals.
  • Cinnamon: another source of fiber and iron.
  • Milk (of your choice): unless you are using non-dairy milk, each individual bar contains 1/8 of your daily dairy consumption.

This recipe I found on a health and food blog by registered dietitian named Kath. She has her own site, katheats.com, full of great and tasty meals. I also found that health and weight coach, Dani from cleananddelicious.com, made her own version of the recipe. What I did is take the best from both and open options up as well so you can personalize it based on what you have on hand. This only takes ten minutes to put together and gets you 4 to 6 servings. That is 4 to 6 extra times you don’t have to spend time making yourself breakfast! How is that for just 10 minutes?

Prep time: 10 min Cooking time: 25 min Total: 35 min Servings: 4

Let’s begin!

Ingredients:
Dry:
– 2 cups of rolled oats (I used Quaker’s quick oats)
– 1 tsp. of cinnamon (optional)
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– A pinch of salt
Wet:
– 1. 5 cups of milk (of your choice)
– 1 egg (or two egg whites if you prefer)
– 1 tsp. vanilla
– 1 mashed banana
Others:
– 2 bananas cut in rounds
– Something to grease baking pan with (butter, cooking spray, coconut oil, parchment paper).

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (that’s 190˚C).

2. In a large and a small bowl mix the wet and the dry ingredients respectively.

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3. When they are well incorporated separately, pour the dry into the wet. Mix well.

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4. Grease the baking dish. You can use any type of oven safe wear, as long as it holds the mixture into a thickness of about 1 inch. I used coconut oil.

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5. Cut a ripe banana into rounds and place them down evenly.

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6. Pour the mixture on top. Cut another banana into rounds and place it down evenly again, on top of the mixture.

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7. Put in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Personally, when the time had passed, I took it out of the oven, sprinkled brown sugar on top, and popped it back in for an extra 3 minutes, just for a nice caramelized touch!

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Here it is before the brown sugar.

Banana Oat Bar

And here is the final result! Perfect with a glass of milk, some nuts, peanut butter, chocolate, fresh fruit, whip cream, or just about anything. Enjoy!

 Nutritional Analysis:
Calories: 310; Total Fat: 5.1g; Saturated Fat: 1.2g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Carbohydrate: 55.7g; Dietary Fiber: 6.3g; Sugars: 19.8; Protein: 13.4g

Marina López Medialdea
Humber music student
Foodie

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