I’m really in the back to school spirit this year, and not just figuratively! I am actually a student, once again. I even bought a new backpack, an insulated lunch bag, a new notebook and pens (nerd alert). I was texting my mom throughout my shopping process to which she replied, “You always loved back to school stuff.” And then reminded me about the sweet Sailor Moon lunch bag I used to have. Some things never change!
Even the years I’ve been out of school, I still got an excited feeling every fall. In a way I still think of my year as going September-September. I think I feel about September how most people feel about January 1st: I’m amped to get back into weekly routines after the chaos of summer, I go through my closet and donate/recycle things, I get into a rhythm of baking bread every week and batch cooking. I think especially because there is so much change at this time of year (temps are dropping, different produce at the markets, leaves are slowly changing) September always feels like new to me.
I’ve definitely been feeling nervous after being out of school for a few years. I had a dream the other night that I’d skipped the first week of classes (very unlike me) and was therefore behind, and felt super panicky. I keep waking up before my alarm (which is set for 6:40 by the way!) because I’m afraid of sleeping through it. Hopefully I’ll get into a better sleeping routine soon. My lunch and snack prep routine is smooth however, since I often packed a lunch when I went to work.
I’m guessing these banana oat bars would last about 4-5 days in an airtight container on the counter, but honestly I cut them up as soon as they are cool and freeze them. I take one every day to school with me and thought they’d last me two weeks; however, I’ve been eating them on weekends too because they are a perfect snack to satisfy my hanger, so I’m pretty much making them every week hehe. I don’t even mind because a) I’ve always got ripe bananas kicking around or frozen ones (which also works!), and b) they come together super quickly! By the time the oven is preheated I’m usually pouring it into the pan. I’ve also been relaxed about the banana measurements when I’m in a rush and they always turn out fine, just a bit firmer or softer depending on how much or little you have. Also if you are packing these for your kiddos and you want extra hippie mom points, you could probably leave out the maple syrup and add a few more tablespoons of non dairy milk. 😉
ps I updated my ‘about’ page, which you can read here
one bowl banana oat bars (vegan)
makes 8-10 bars
225 g / 2 ripe large bananas, mashed
28 g / 2 tablespoons coconut oil
32 g / 2 tablespoons nut butter
39 g / 3 tablespoons non dairy milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 g / 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
34 g / 2 tablespoons maple syrup
178 g / 1 1/2 cups oats
37 g / 1/4 cup whole wheat flour or oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
40 g / 1/4 cup hemp hearts
20 g / 1/4 cup shredded coconut
40 g / 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
34 g / 1/4 cup raisins
optional: 1-2 tablespoons (10 – 15 g) carob or cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 325F convection (350 regular). Line an 8″ square pan with parchment, leaving a bit of overhang. Mash the bananas really well in a large bowl, then add the remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil -> maple syrup). If the coconut oil solidifies due to the milk/maple syrup, you can microwave the bowl for 15-20 seconds until it liquefies. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir well until everything is evenly distributed. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top, then bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until evenly golden brown and the top has firmed up. Let it cool for about 20 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Cut into 8 bars.