For most of my life I've looked to food to heal me when I wasn't feeling well. Orange juice for a cold, chicken soup for achy flu-like symptoms, bananas for additional energy, etc. Pumping rainbows of ingredients into the kids since birth, I've attempted to build strong muscles with lean protein, strengthen growing bones with calcium and ward of disease with organic greens and veggies. Many of my dance mom friends (Liv dances on a local competitive team) are like minded and together we've done our best to protect our families. Much as I'd like to think of our food actions as some sort of safety net, making all the right decisions sometimes doesn't matter.
Two years ago my dance mom friend Shelby began feeling a few pains in her side. A specimen of the perfect eater, Shelby only fed her family organic foods and made sure that rainbow of fruits and vegetables existed to fuel their busy bodies. However that pain didn't go away.
After extensive testing Shelby was diagnosed with cancer. She underwent chemo and numerous surgeries, and last May she was pronounced in remission. She celebrated onstage at our annual studio recital, as any dance mom might, and her smile shone brighter than the lights upon her as she struck a final pose in the tap number dedicated to her remission.
|Shelby... the ultimate dance mom and dancer!|
Today Shelby struggles to live one more day. And tomorrow she will do the same, until the cancer cells finally win (edited to note that Shelby lost her battle on March 13, 2013). Her body may be growing weaker, but the light in her eyes and the humor in her spirit are still shining brightly. Her family has surrounded her with love and last week they put together a Celebration of Life in her honor bringing family and friends together in the pure joy of her being.
Shelby leaves an impact on each and every person lucky enough to be a part of her life, and while I'm not a close family friend, she will forever remain a symbol of strength and an example of someone who truly "Livs Life" to every extent of their being. I am honored to be part of her dance mom world and will never forget her beaming smile as she watches her girls dance or when she took the stage herself.
Wishing these Breakfast Cookies packed with protein, banana and fiber from oatmeal would make a difference for Shelby, I've made them for my dance carpool girls in her honor. As we enter this dance season full speed ahead, the girls need fuel for their bodies in training, but something fun and tasty as well. These peanut butter "cookies" fit the bill.
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bites
Filled with wholesome ingredients, these breakfast bites bring a protein punch along with the health benefits of banana and oatmeal. Organic honey from our farmer's market brings a sweet essence which combines beautifully with cinnamon and vanilla for a cookie-like healthy treat to get your day started in a way you can feel good about.
adapted from Live Better America
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (either smooth or chunky)
1/2 cup honey (we used a generous 1/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (may use whole wheat)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 handful raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat (or coat with cooking spray) and set aside.
Place the mashed banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In a small bowl whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Add the raisins to the wet ingredients if you are using them, and gently stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter banana mixture, stirring just until combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 2 Tbs of dough at a time onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly to about 1/2 of an inch thick.
Bake one sheet at a time until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Liv Life Note: We found the cookies to be very good on the first day, but enjoyed them even more on the 2nd and 3rd days! We've never had any last long enough to taste test on day 4...