Breakfast Nut and Fruit Bars

Breakfast Nut and Fruit Bars

*Photos Updated June 2012*

Inspiration: Our breakfasts usually involve something like a couple of eggs, maybe an omelet, maybe some bacon. We don’t eat carbohydrates on a day-to-day basis (in the refined sense – I sure love my black beans and cashews and butternut squash!), so variety with breakfast can be a challenge. Why is it that the standard breakfasts in this country are riddled with so many empty carbohydrates and sugars that are going to do nothing in the way of….well, anything? Anyway, we always love finding great protein-filled breakfast options, and these bars seemed the perfect choice.

What We Loved: OK, these are good. When I sat down to eat the first one for breakfast, I almost felt a little guilty, because it seemed like I was eating a rich and indulgent dessert. The main thing that strikes me with these bars is the wonderfully rich and creamy flavors and textures – predominantly the almond butter (which is great if you love almond butter as much as we do) and the coconut flavors from the coconut oil. They both combine so well for a really smooth, rich base for these bars. Layered on top of that, all of the chopped nuts add a great crispy texture, and the dried fruit gives nice little tart and chewy bursts of flavor. And holy cow, look at all of those great proteins and fats! We have both been obsessed with these and looking forward to them every morning (we’re on batch two right now), and they really do provide for a satisfying breakfast that keeps us full until lunch. They’re definitely our newest addiction.

Helpful Hints: It can be a little tough to cut these into bars and remove them from the pan, but it’s really not a big deal if they break or crumble a bit. You can just pat them back together. You can also switch up the nut and fruit varieties for any that you prefer. And as an aside, nut flour is nothing but nuts that have been very finely ground to the consistency of a powder.

Breakfast Nut and Fruit Bars
Source: Adapted from The Cavewoman Cafe, originally from Mark’s Daily Apple

1 cup almonds (I use roasted and salted)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup nut flour (hazelnut flour is good) or coconut flour
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
Scant 1/4 cup of honey (optional – I leave it out)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup dried fruit

1. Place the nuts in a food processor, and process until they are a coarse meal. Don’t pulse too much – you want pieces of nuts to remain. Place the nuts in a medium-sized bowl with the nut or coconut flour.

2. Place the coconut oil and almond butter in a bowl, and microwave for about a minute. Stir together well, then mix in the honey (if using), vanilla, and salt.

3. Add the almond butter mixture to the nuts, and then fold in the fruit. Smooth into a baking dish. Chill in the fridge for one hour, or until solid. Cut into squares, and keep chilled until ready to eat.

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Feta and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

Inspiration: One of my favorite times of the year is the week before Christmas. The last few years I’ve taken vacation days from work, and I’ve used the time to hang out at home and do all of the things that I enjoy the most while I look forward to Christmas. And that includes a lot of cooking! The first thing that I decided to cook this year was a nice breakfast casserole that B and I could enjoy on our lazy mornings.

What we Loved: This casserole was so flavorful! I loved the combination of the strong feta cheese and the sharp cheddar. The cheddar helped the casserole to get nice and crispy brown in the corners and on top, and the feta added a really nice bite. Combined with a spicy kick from the jalapenos, this casserole really had a lot of great flavors. And as an added bonus, it was so easy to prepare, which is always nice!

Helpful Hints: You could add pretty much anything that you’d like into this recipe. The original recipe called for ham, which would be great, or other meats like sausage or crumbled bacon would work wonderfully, too.

Feta and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole
Source: Adapted from Closet Cooking

I changed the original recipe a bit to suit what I had on hand. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

10 eggs
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3 finely diced jalapeno peppers
4 finely diced green onions
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Pour into an 8 inch square baking dish.

3. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, until the eggs are firmly set and golden brown on top.