Falling for fall…

I awoke to a distant, cool, familiar breeze on my exposed skin.  Tucked under my covers with a growing puppy at my feet and a husband to my side, I was snuggled in a warm cozy bed, and I could feel it…

Fall.

Lying there, slowing working my way out of a foggy slumber, I pulled the covers down and let the sun and breeze peak in on me.  I turned to my nightstand and turned on some music, the sweet tunes of Van Morrison filling the room.

Fall.  I could feel its presence, its hesitant, reluctant entrance in the air outside.  Autumn.  My favorite season and time of year.  I closed my eyes and contemplated the upcoming season, the wrap up of a great summer.  Later that day I would be spending the afternoon with friends, relishing the last warm days on a patio, soaking in the sun for as long as we could, the warmth on our skin.  And soon, things will begin to cool off.

The weather, the calendar.  Things will become less hectic, weekends with fewer obligations and plans.  A summer that has so effortlessly flown by, jam-packed, filled to the brim with sun and fun, heat and humidity, cocktails and patios, road races and adventures, long weekends and weddings- it will slowly fade away.  In will creep a new season.  My favorite season.

Soon we’ll be in long-sleeve shirts, an extra blanket at this time of morning.  Reflecting on new plans.  For Columbus Day and apple picking excursions.  Cider, and pies, apple crisp and hayrides.  Pumpkin flavored everything.  Red wine, pumpkin beer, butternut squash soup, and crock pot meals.  Leaves changing, and falling.  Sweaters.  Fall tones, crisp sounds and smells outside.  Wood stoves burning, football.  Thanksgiving.

Around the corner, new plans and new memories.

New possibilities.

 

 

In the morning…

One of my favorite breakfasts to make, especially over the weekend when I have a little more time, is oatmeal!  Usually during the week I will make a smoothie with water or almond milk, some frozen banana and berries, spinach, and protein powder.  Since it’s been so freaking freezing lately, these mornings it’s been a little tougher than normal to get down a cold smoothie!

Another go-to staple for me has always been oatmeal.  Since my husband and I moved (into our first home!- more on that soon!), my commute has increased significantly (hello recent addiction to Serial), and I have to leave a lot earlier for work in the morning.  So, I’ve been trying to think of ideas of breakfasts that I can take on the go.  Last week I made a mug of oatmeal to bring with me in the car.  That multitasking endeavor can be classified as a big fat fail, needless to say!

Tonight I made a batch of baked oatmeal muffins, a snack that will be easy to bring with me on the go, something I can heat up right before I go, or eat as-is.

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These are yummy and filling, and make your kitchen smell delicious!  They have no added sugar (or don’t have to- you’ll see I added a little maple syrup) and are low-fat and healthy little nuggets that you can make ahead of time, and even freeze to use throughout the week.

Here’s what I did…

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla almond milk (you could use regular milk, soy milk, you pick!)
  • 2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup (or honey, or light agave)- add more or less depending on how sweet you like it

Toppings (or fillings!):

For my muffins, I decided to mostly focus on fillings rather than toppings.  I was trying to make them as easy as possible to transport, so I went for things inside the muffins instead of on top.

There’s so many different toppings or fillings you could choose to add!  Raisins, dried fruit, chocolate chips, walnuts or almonds, more banana, coconut, Nutella, hazelnut spread, protein powder… the options are endless!

For mine, I made a few of each with:

  • 1 teaspoon of peanut butter and 1 teaspoon of homemade blueberry jam (this is one of my most favorite peanut butters)
  • A handful of strawberries
  • A handful of blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and fill muffin tins with cupcake liners- spray the liners with cooking spray or coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients- banana, egg, applesauce, vanilla, & almond milk.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix up the dry ingredients oats, cinnamon, baking powder, chia seeds, & salt
  4. Toss the dry ingredients into the wet, stir until well mixed.  Add in your maple syrup (or sweetener of choice).
  5. Pour about one tablespoon of the yummy batter into each muffin liner, add whatever fillings you’re feeling at the moment, and then fill the rest of the liner with batter.
  6. You could add a little extra toppings onto each muffin at this point.  I skipped this step but here is where you’d do it.
  7. If you’re feeling sassy, you could sprinkle each muffin with a little turbinado sugar for a little crunch and some more sweetness.  I also omitted this step as I was trying to keep the sugar on the lower side.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until your kitchen smells like heaven and a toothpick comes out clean (except on the peanut butter ones- those will come out gooey and you might end up tooth picking more than once, just to sample some more peanut butter…).

Dig in!  These are clean and healthy, low in sugar, fat, and calories.  I don’t know the exact nutritional info, but I would guess, depending on your fillings and toppings, that these would run about 150-200 calories each.

What’s one of your go-to’s for a healthy breakfast?  How about when you need to grab something on the go?