A breakfast institution

Simply Breakfast is a deliciously simple blog concept. Check it out and then come right back.

Here's what I love about it:
  1. She is eating breakfast and not just slugging back coffee.

  2. There is someone out there who takes the time to photograph her food, while the rest of the world is struggling to get out of bed and stressing over what to wear.

  3. She doesn't feel obliged to explain the photo with more than a date.

  4. The bird's eye view of the photos is irresistibly voyeuristic, as if you're looking over a shoulder.

  5. You can watch the progression of breakfasts from day to day and imagine the context for the minor deviations and the complete aberrations.

There is considerably less variation in my breakfast diet. For the last few years, rain or shine, summer or winter, come hell or high water, my day starts with a bowl of hot oatmeal. As the rolled oats bubble away, I sip my OJ and watch intently for the perfect consistency. Well after soup and just before glue, I pour the finished product into a bowl, sprinkle it with raisins, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, and fold once with a large spoon. Hold the milk, please.

But out of the blue, I recently found myself craving a summer-appropriate alternative. Not wanting to abandon my oatmeal ritual completely, I baked, cooled and cut my hot oatmeal breakfast into bars. A strip of this chewy molasses cereal bar with a pot of your best natural yogurt is a killer combo that will keep you ticking all the way to lunch.

Raisin Nut Granola Bars

1 1/2 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned
1 1/4 cups puffed wheat
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup raisins
6 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coarsely chop the mixed nuts and toss onto an ungreased baking sheet. Add the rolled oats and shake to combine. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, combine the honey, molasses, brown sugar, butter and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Once the oats and nuts are toasted, remove them from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

In a large bowl, measure out the puffed wheat and raisins. Add the toasted oats and nuts and stir to combine. Pour the still warm sauce over top and quickly stir until the cereal, nuts and raisins are well coated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use a flat pie lifter or flipper dipped in water to press the mixture firmly into place. Bake for about 20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. I found that the raisins on top puffed up and burned slightly, but they later deflated and the bar still tasted good.

Cool completely before cutting. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

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