I love peanut butter…and oats. But until I “discovered” this delicious snack I never thought about combining them (along with some other tasty ingredients).
But actually, you could say a little bird told me about it.
Let’s start at the beginning of the offbeat way I learned to make what is now my favorite treat.
In May, the beautiful hot pink and purple fuchsia plant I hung directly beside the front door became the repository for five house sparrow eggs.
I first noticed the perfect small and white eggs with the brown flecks when I watered the fuchsia one day. And we waited for the baby birds to appear with as much anticipation as Horton the Elephant did (which might be why we named the mother bird “Mayzie”).
A little over a week later, high-decibel chirping at the front door announced that the great event had taken place!
Now despite the excitement of seeing the little birds being fed as we peeked at them by cracking the front door open a tiny bit, there came some logistical problems.
Mainly, how to come in and out of the house without scaring the mom off. Also, the slightest movement by the hanging plant where the nest was built would start them all going again in anticipation of another meal.
I called our local bird expert, someone who would know exactly what to do under such circumstances.
Fred patiently informed me that no, I couldn’t move the nest, and that the little birds would be nest-bound for up to three weeks, and that we should try hard not to spook the mom and that was that.
Certainly there must be something we can do to speed this along, I pleaded with Fred.
By this time numerous “rules” had been established regarding the use of the front door, basically a “stop, look, and listen” approach to coming and going.
There is one thing you might do, Fred told me. He said that I should put out some food for the mother bird to keep her “energized” and feeding her brood well. Try some peanut butter and oats, he advised.
And as I mixed Mayzie’s peanut butter and oats together, I started tasting it myself. Darn good, I thought.
Then for my version, I started adding other ingredients, until I came up with what I think is one delicious snack – or even breakfast.
So here’s my recipe for Mayzie’s peanut butter and oat energy balls. They can come in handy to energize you too while you’re taking care of your own “brood!”
- 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of quick cooking (not instant) rolled oats
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional extras: goji berries, mini chocolate chips, honey
In a big bowl combine your oats and coconut with any other “dry” ingredient (like the chocolate chips). Add the peanut butter and vanilla (and honey if you’re using that) and mix until combined well. Mixing this is also a good arm “exercise!”
You can shape them into balls immediately, or if too sticky, put in the fridge for a while and shape them while cold. Either way, store your oat balls in the fridge in an airtight bowl layered on wax paper.
If you’re wondering about Mayzie’s brood, after about two weeks, one by one they perched on the rim of the now-withered pot of flowers and prepared for takeoff.
The first three were genius aviators, who became airborne immediately upon jumping and flapping their young wings. The others had some technical difficulties, but eventually made it into a tall tree, doing a fly-hop from branch to branch.
But finally, with a mighty leap and open wings against the sky, they were flying like champs.
And I watched them until they disappeared from view.