There are some big changes happening in my life at the moment – and when I say “big” there is a pun intended, since my belly (and ass) are going to be headed in that direction over the next 6 months. Yes – that’s right: The Natural Blonde is all knocked up! Which is why I’ve been radio silent for the last little while. Not only have I avoided any situation when I might shout out the news prematurely, but due to morning sickness that was more like all friggin’ day sickness I haven’t done much cooking. And I don’t care how many times other food bloggers do it – avocado toast or fruit with yogurt is NOT a recipe – even if you put fancy names like “parfait” on it. But as my second trimester starts I am now ready to get back in the kitchen and continue to bring you all the healthy treats you’ve come here to enjoy. Starting with my new PB and Banana Oat Squares.
I promise that this will not become a blog about organic pampers and biodegradable onesies or whatever new product Jessica Alba is peddling today. But since I was planning to focus my nutritionist practice around fertility and pre- and post-natal nutrition, this will be an amazing time to use my own experience to test theories and explore a world of holistic knowledge. And believe me – it’s a big world! So stay tuned for lots of fun, new content that mamas, soon to be mamas and ladies in general will definitely enjoy.
Which brings me to today’s delicious recipe. Of course pregnancy does crazy things to your body, and more specifically your appetite. Your taste buds and cravings go a little nuts, and to be honest there has been a loaf of bread dancing in my head for the last 3 months as my regular veggies and salads lost all appeal in favour of anything made from grains. Or sugar. But as much as we love the stereotypical image of the pregnant lady scarfing pickles and ice cream all day long, the fact is there is no more important time to maintain a healthy and complete whole food diet than when you’re growing a human inside you. And so I’ve tried very hard to address these cravings with my usual healthy alternatives – focusing on the important pregnancy vitamins, minerals and macronutrients like vitamin A, Bs and C, selenium, iron, calcium, EFAs and protein. Enter my PB and Banana Oat Squares.
These are not only super easy to make (which is key when you’re in school part-time, working full-time, and battling the fatigue of the first trimester), but they scratch so many craving itches with a flavour that is both sweet and salty at once. Plus, they are packed with protein, healthy fat and a spectrum of vitamins and minerals while remaining gluten, dairy and sugar free! And – oh lord, yes I’m going to say it – they would be great for toddlers.
So far killing this pregnancy diet/mom-friendly recipe thing, wouldn’t you say? 😉
The Natural Blonde
P.s. Although meant as a joke, someone should totally invent biodegradable onesies. Think about all the time (and energy) you’d save on laundry to instead binge watch Downton Abbey on your maternity leave. Hmmmm – it may be time for TNB to diversify her business…
PB and Banana Oat Squares
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
- ¼ unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut)
- ¼ cup coconut nectar (can sub honey or maple syrup as well)
- ¼ cup all natural peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1¼ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup stevia sweetened chocolate chips (or 70% cocoa chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the banana, applesauce, milk, coconut nectar, peanut butter and egg; whisk until smooth (I used an electric mixer). Next, in another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just incorporated. Then, stir in the chocolate. Pour into the baking pan and pop it into the oven. Bake for 35-40 mins. or until squares lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cutting board to slice.
I enjoyed these warm from the oven and suggest you do, too! They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week of easy breakfasts and snacking.
*You could also sub in blueberries for the chocolate. I would extend the cooking time by 5-10 mins in that case.