Sunday, April 25, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Squares + Tips on Feeding without Frenzy!

Being a full-time working mama, I have a lot of guilt. You too, right? Most of my guilt involves time, or the lack there of, especially when it comes to cooking. I made a pact a long time ago. I decided that no matter how strapped for time I was, my family's nutrition would never suffer. It's a tall order but not impossible. In order to keep my pact, I had to approach things differently and organize myself (im a mess!).

Mornings are a flurry of frenzy; dogs to be walked, shoes to be found and messes to clean up! I don't have the time to make fresh batches of pancakes on a Monday morning. What I do have, is time to make a double batch on Sunday and freeze them for the week ahead. It takes little or no extra effort or time to double a batch, but it saves me so much time during the week. This strategy has helped my guilt a lot (ok, a little) but it definitely helped me get morning meals on the table without too much scrambling. I don't have to resort to feeding my son cold cereal every morning if I prepare a little on the weekend. Microwaving a frozen pancake or cutting a piece of oatmeal square from the pan takes less time and is easier and more nutritious than anything I can get out of a box.

These squares make for a delicious on-the-go breakfast or snack for preschool. They keep on the counter for a day or two or up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator. Make 'em your own by adding chopped nuts, dried fruits or even chocolate chips.

What are some of your tips for getting meals on the table faster? Please share! Together, we can make feeding without frenzy a reality!

Banana Oatmeal Squares
Makes 6-8 squares

1 1/2 cup oatmeal (instant or rolled oats)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tespoon, salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsps butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

1)- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch pan with butter or cooing spray, set aside.

2)-Dump all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Cover leftovers with foil and store in the refrigerator.

Tips on Feeding without Frenzy aka "How I get it done!"

1)- Make double batches of pancakes on the weekend and freeze. Want tips on freezing pancakes and a yummy Pumpkin Pancake recipe? Click here

2)- Cook large batches of brown rice, quinoa, couscous to use as quick sides or to mix with sauteed veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.

3)-Hard boil a few eggs to keep in the fridge for up to one week. Use in egg salad or as a quick breakfast, lunch or snack between meals.

4)- Make a weeks worth of salads on Sunday night (lunch for hubby and I). Wash, dry and chop lettuce and veggies and place into a weeks worth of tupperware containers. Grill a few chicken breasts on sunday and store in separate tupperware. Each morning, all I have to do is slice chicken, place over pre-prepared salads, drizzle with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Keeping chicken separate until the morning of use is key. This method saves me so much time each AM and ensures that we always have a healthy, inexpensive lunch ready to go!

5)- Pre-roast carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash for quick mashes to add to babies lunch box or as a side for dinner. Can be kept in a tupperware container for up to a week.


  1. Thanks for the tips. You know, cooking vegetarian can sometimes be challenging and I don't always have time to wait for brown rice to cook. Making it ahead would save me a lot of trouble.

  2. I cook ahead too. I make all my beans and rice and grains. The only thing that does not work well is Millet. Saves so much time. i made these for Wed dinner. Hopfully the kids like the they are really tasty and no too sweet.

  3. Michelle- happy I could help!

    Jessica-Good tip on the Millet. Havent explored with that grain yet but the make-ahead method definitely saves time!I love to make one-bowl grain dishes using the different pre-cooked grains. I simply saute some chicken or veggies and stir into my choice of grain. Stirring in lentils, chickpeas or beans makes for a hearty and quick lunchbox treat for my entire family and my toddler loves them!

    Glad you made the Squares. Let me knw how the kids like em. Fingers crossed. I love popping one in my gym bag for after a workout too! Like oatmeal on the go!

    Oh and sometimes I stir in some wheatgerm (about 1/3 cup) before baking. Adds extra nutrition!


  4. I am going to make these for a picnic we have on Friday. Does it work with regular flour? I have everything but wholewheat flour. I may just go to the store - wholewheat is better!

  5. Yes, of course! Regular flour will work but having a small sac of WW flour in the house is a good thing to keep around.

    Note: If you want a finer, softer texture to your squares, use the Instant Oatmeal (the one that cooks quickly), if you want a more hearty texture, use the rolled oats that take 5 mins or more to cook. Ive uses both and both are great! the pic above is of the instant oats and its more cake-like and soft.

  6. I've made these twice in the last week, my 3-year-old can't get enough of them. A perfect send-to-school snack. Easily modified and it's a great recipe for her to help with. Thanks!

  7. Such great tips. I've recently started doubling the amount of rice/grains/pasta when I'm cooking them to get a head start on a second dinner later in the week.

    And I'm definitely going to make a batch of these for my son!

  8. Anonymous-So happy they are a hit!

    Colleen- Thanks! Doesnt it make life so much easier? And reheating them doesnt change the taste, So great!

  9. No sugar! How fantastic. I'm making these today. I get the frenzy mornings of a working mama too, and your tips are great. I'm going to keep a batch of hard boiled eggs in the fridge this week for those harried moments.