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Affordable & Fresh: April 2017

Affordable & Fresh: April 2017

Welcome to Affordable & Fresh! I will use this space to share ways that I incorporate affordable, shelf-stable foods with (typically) seasonal, fresh items. We’ll cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between!

Here’s the thing about CFI: We like to help people. We like to help them get access to resources (like food and seeds and plants). We like to help them learn what to do with the resources we connect them to. We also like to share our knowledge about those resources. One of our absolute favorite things to do is combine our knowledge and resources with the knowledge and resources that people in our community already have. We think that’s a great way to improve people’s experiences – be it with food, gardening, service, or just existing in a community.

That’s what we’ll aim to do here on Affordable & Fresh. By combining inexpensive, shelf-stable items with fresh, seasonal ingredients, we can create a delicious and inclusive food experience together!

We’ve all heard the old saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” So, why does it often seem that breakfast is the toughest meal to tackle? There are so many options to have a healthy and tasty breakfast to start your day off right. But somehow, for lots of us (myself included), this one falls to the wayside. Busy schedules, hectic mornings, and snooze buttons frequently leave us opting for a small piece of fruit, a packaged granola bar, or just a cup of coffee at our desks in the morning. Why not have something more filling, healthy, and just as quick? Enter oatmeal breakfast cookies.

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I know what you’re thinking. Cookies? For breakfast? How can that be healthy?! Or maybe you’re thinking, ‘oatmeal? Sounds time consuming … and a lot like what my grandma would eat.’ Fear not, skeptics! These tasty little bites are one of my quickest and most customizable creations yet. As long as you know what you like, these can work for you!

The base of these oatmeal bites is made of mashed bananas. Sometimes unsweetened applesauce gets mixed in if I don’t have enough bananas sitting around. We add some texture (and long-lasting energy) with dry rolled oats. Lastly, the add-ins, which are entirely up to your imagination. Some of my favorite combinations include dried cranberries and crushed walnuts, frozen blueberries, or chopped apples with cinnamon. Since we’re on the tail-end of our cool season, apples are still hanging around. Some hearty varieties like fuji (sweet) and gold rush (tart) are very available at the farmer’s market here in Athens. I’ll include my apple cinnamon recipe below.

I have to admit, I was guilty of skipping breakfast for many years in my youth. Throughout high school, my first meal of the day was often lunch … and it was usually huge. You’d think I would have gotten a clue as to why I was ravenous by noon. Finally, somewhere along the way in college, I realized I absolutely was not going to make it through a day full of classes, meetings, and two sports practices without a substantial meal in the morning. That was an era of fruit & yogurt bowls and dining hall breakfast sandwiches like no other.

However, since joining the professional world as a service member at CFI, I noticed that I fell back into my old habits. (How funny that a position so focused on food is being manned by such a skimpy eater!) Yet again, busy mornings, to-do lists, and a good dose of grown-up stress were pushing breakfast to the back burner. Luckily, while getting creative for one of my Discovery Kitchen sessions, I managed to find a breakfast and snack option that worked for my busy schedule, my morning laziness (come on, I can’t be the only one…), and my love for cookies.

These breakfast bites take no more than 35 minutes start to finish. Make a batch on Sunday night, keep them in a sealed container, and you have breakfast or snacks for the whole week… though I’m not sure they’ll last that long! Enjoy.

Blog Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent all the views of CFI.

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Hearty Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, recipe brought to you by CFI Discovery Kitchen

Ingredients:
2 Ripe Bananas
1 ½ Cup Old-Fashioned Oats
1-2 Small Apples, any variety
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Honey*

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Peel bananas and break into pieces. Place in bowl and mash with a fork until mostly smooth.
3. Wash apples and chop into bite-sized pieces.
4. Add oats, ½ cup at a time, stirring into mashed banana. Once combined, stir in cinnamon.
5. Fold in apple chunks until evenly distributed throughout oat mixture.
6. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
7. Place dollops of oat mixture onto cookie sheet, evenly spaced.
8. Press gently into flat cookie shapes. Bake for 15 minutes.
*Starred ingredients are optional.

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