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Welcome to my food blog!

Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas, plus, some toddler food ideas.

Baked Rice Paper Nutella Rolls

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 30-09-2009

Baked Rice Paper Nutella Rolls

Uh oh, I almost neglected the Nutella Challenge this month.  Don’t worry, I came up with something really fast and yummy last week-only problem was finding time to post!  I get little bits of time here and there and lately it’s been harder for me to get on the computer for this food blog that I love to do.  Sadly, lately it’s also been tough finding time to read other good food stuffs blogs - can’t wait until it slows down to spend more time with the subject of food!  There are so many things I’ve already got planned to write about and/or review!!!  What did I decide to do for this challenge?  Wrap up some Nutella in a rice paper and bake it.  It was a tasty little treat, quick and easy!  Honestly, I’ll bet it would be even better deep fat fried but I’ve never deep fat fried anything in my life and doubt that I ever will.  First of all, I think it’s scary and second, it’s just so bad for you!!!  I think these would be fun for a little get-together with the girls.  A nice, cute little treat that isn’t that bad for you!

Ingredients:

  • Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut milk (or water-as I suspect the added hazelnut flavor is minimal - but use it if you have it, the drink alone is strong)
  • Rice papers
  • Nutella
  • Crispy rice cereal - I used Erewhon Gluten free crispy brown rice - it’s got more of a sturdy crunch so it holds up nicely.
  • Melted butter

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Put enough hazelnut milk (or water) in a shallow/wide bowl to dip rice papers in
  • Place a wet paper towel by the bowl
  • One at a time, soak rice paper sheet
  • When soft, remove from bowl and place on paper towel
  • Put some Nutella in a small line in the middle/side of rice paper
  • Sprinkle some rice cereal on Nutella
  • Roll up and place on greased cookie sheet
  • Make as many as you think will be eaten-
  • When all are on sheet - brush a little melted butter on top
  • Bake about 15-17 minutes or until golden brown - you can turn mid-way through baking for a more even crispiness - or the bottom will be chewy
  • Allow to cool for best flavor
  • Will keep for the day but not over night- then they become chewy and the rice cereal loses its crispness

I think these would also be delicious with chopped up hazelnuts and/or strawberries as well.  Have fun:)

My Allergy Test Results!

Posted by Ann | Posted in Food Chatter | Posted on 28-09-2009

The reason I am posting about this is because if you read the “About Me” page - you’ll see that my husband is allergic to everything, which is the primary reason that I make lots of things without gluten.  I’m also worried that he (and I) have passed bad allergies to our son.  Actually, I only give you a brief description of my hubby’s allergies.  Let me share: on a scale of + to 4+, he reacted 1+ and 2+ to: corn, peas, soybean, tomatoes, wheat, barley, carrots, melon, pecans, walnuts and mildly allergic (+) to: potatoes, rye and almonds.  This is just some food though; they didn’t test him for much else, had they tested him for other foods, I have a feeling his body would’ve rejected it too.  He’s off the charts with outdoor stuff and cats - it’s pretty insane.  Anyway, I’ve been so worried about our son inheriting these allergies.  When I was a kid, I had my allergies tested and though they didn’t test food, I found out I was allergic to dust, cats and cockroaches.  You can grow into and out of allergies and I’ve noticed I have reactions to certain foods - in particular, soy.  Without having to put my son through all this stuff, and because I have some mild reactions to things…and am constantly stuffy, I could go through the testing and maybe it’ll help to see what O’s probability is of allergies to particular things.  If both parents are allergic, well, he’s more likely to be as well!  My cousin Erica used to always make fun of me for blowing my nose all the time and though it’s not as bad now as when I was a kid, I still have plenty of drainage and stuffiness.  I really wanted to know the culprit.

What am I allergic to?  Nothing!  What?  How can I break out to certain lotions and react to certain foods and in the springtime it seems I have a major cold though it’s “allergies?”  I don’t know!?  Obviously, they can’t test for everything but still, it would be nice to know.  I generally feel good nowadays but certain foods make me feel awful - and I think it’s just overly processed stuff and too much bread.  Soy chips do it to me and so does whey and soy protein powder.  So does just eating junk food.  For instance, I decided to have too much candy and pizza (not my usual delicious Italian style pizza, but American style regular crust with wayyyy too much cheese and grease) this weekend and my stomach went crazy all night.    But hey, I’m not allergic to soy or wheat!   Judging from how my body took all these potential allergens like a trooper, the doc thought I just happen to be a mucus producer.  Yep.  Sorry lady, you produce snot for no good reason.  Not sure why it happens so badly in the springtime though.  And the food thing?  I think it must just be normal.  If you don’t nourish your body properly.  It will retaliate and let you know.  At least mine sure does.  Sometimes, maybe that really was tainted food and not an allergy?  Maybe the mix of whatever it was didn’t mix so well in the belly. 

I’ve been loading my toddler and myself up big time on antioxidants lately so did my current state of good health kick any old allergens to the curb that may have been there if I wasn’t getting sleep?  Probably not but I think it would be nice to find some answers still.  Needless to say, the doctor (very sweet man if anyone in Omaha is looking for an allergy doc) felt really bad for me since he has the same exact problem.  He doesn’t test positive for allergies but has snot and general reactions too.  Sigh.  My Dad has always summed it up very nicely and summed it up again for me when I told him.  He said, “See?  You’re just a snot nosed kid.”  When I told Erica that I had my allergies tested - her memories of my (literally) snotty nose as a child had her laughing instantly and bracing herself for all the things that I’m allergic to.  She could not believe that nothing showed up.  Nothing?  Nothing:)

So, for the nose issue, I’ve tried the neti pot, but it doesn’t seem to do much for me.  The doc gave me a squeeze bottle for the nose instead - with a little more pressure, he said it helps more than the neti pot in his opinion.  I tried it out as well and like it better than the neti pot because it’s much much faster and I don’t have a lot of patience for standing over the sink with salt water streaming down my nose.  But…did it work?  No, not really.  I think I’m just going to have to live with a slightly stuffy nose my whole life:(

Healthy Gluten Free Pasta With Greens

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Meal Recipes | Posted on 24-09-2009

Healthy Gluten Free Pasta With Greens

I couldn’t believe it.  I sat this pasta down in front of my husband, who is an avid bolognese eater and avoider of vegetables, and he snarfed it down.  Whoah!  Happy dance, I got my hubby to eat his veggies again:)  First I want to talk about the pasta itself.  I used De Boles Gluten Free Multi-Grain pasta with brown & white rice flour, amaranth and quinoa.  I wouldn’t say the pasta itself was the best consistency, but that’s because I cooked it too long.  It was fine though, it just wasn’t al dente, which is my fault but the box said cook 6-7 minutes and I checked it at four!  It was already past al dente but not cooked so long it was mushy.  So - if you do buy this pasta- remember to check it often and before the four minute mark as mine was past al dente!  Also, if you’ll notice, the pasta did not stick together - it broke up into grade-school goulash.  I don’t mind this but when the pasta strand isn’t long and cool looking, my son isn’t intrigued to eat it.  I sort of felt like mom went ahead and cut it up for me so that I don’t have to twirl and get myself messy. 

The ingredients that went into this worked really well together - it was pesto-ish without actually being pesto and/or having to make pesto.  I’m going to diverge for a moment.  Did anyone watch the Top Chef episode where Fabio’s dish had too much pesto according to the judges?  I about fell off my chair.  How can you have too much pesto?  I love a good pesto so much I would bathe in it.  Mmmmm, you can  dish up too much pesto for me any time Fabio!!!   My only problem with making pesto is that basil is expensive and  pesto uses a lot of basil but when I try to grow it I kill it.  How do I kill basil when it grows like a weed?  Good question, it’s pretty sad.  I think maybe plants are aware of my negative additute about watering them.  I go to water them and try to talk and give love and it feels fake -really I feel a little ticked off knowing that this thing is going to die on me before producing squat.  Self-fulfilling prophecy.  Anyway - the chard (I used rainbow) brings a bite to the pasta dish but it’s negated by the balsamic vinegar and parm.  The crunch of the toasty pine nuts perhaps offsets any of the possible pasta consistency problems.  My husband ate it:)  Really, I’m talking it down, it was fabulous!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box De Boles Multi Grain Pasta
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 bunch rainbow or Swiss chard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or as much as you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes - I used grape, but they were more tart than I would like - so I picked around them - (if you want to add them, toss in olive oil and salt and roast in oven at 350 until wilted- about 15-20 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup more or less freshly grated parmiggano reggiano
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch basil, coarsely chopped - about 3/4 ounce
  • 1 bunch parsley coarsely chopped - about 3/4 ounce
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Start water on the stove, adding salt optional
  • Sautee fennel in olive oil on medium-high heat about 10 minutes - add chard and cook down until softened, continue cooking together - about 10 minutes or until fennel becomes more see-through and turns a little golden adding olive oil when necessary
  • Add garlic and shallots cook a few minutes- and add a shot of balsamic vinegar - add pine nuts and  allow to toast a little
  • When water starts boiling - add the pasta but check often - drain and add olive oil to pasta so it doesn’t stick
  • Add parsley and basil, cook down - about 1-2 minutes
  • Add pasta, more olive oil, salt, pepper, parm and tomatoes - toss well and serve - serves 2

PB & Prune Quinoa bites

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 22-09-2009

PB & Prune Quinoa Bites

 

When I went to camp as a kid - I remember thinking how strange it was that the two things they put out on the tables for kids was peanut butter and prunes.  I think the peanut butter was supposed to go on your bread if you didn’t like your bland meal and maybe with the prunes they were worried about stopped up kids nervous being away from home?   Of course I was the only kid who actually liked prunes and ate them.  I can’t remember who exactly did it first, but we discovered that if you put peanut butter on the prune, it tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Lots of brave children tried prunes that summer:)  I wonder if the stigma is still attached to the new wording version of prunes: dried plums?

These peanut butter balls taste richly of peanut butter with a little crunch from the peanuts and the slightly jam/jelly flavor from the prunes.  I prefer my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches open faced, light on the jam.  Have you tried St Dalfour jams?  Amazing, sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, nothing artificial, full fruit and perfect.  My husband likes the four fruits and I like apricot.  For the PB bites, if you’re more of a jam/jelly person add more chopped up prunes!  You’ll notice in the picture above how one is rolled in coconut, one is rolled in powdered sugar, and another has a candy coated chocolate - this is to make them look cool and entice my two year old to eat them (I prefer them plain).  O chose a chocolate candy one and wolfed it down.  He LOVED it!  Mid-way through eating it he wanted another one.  But…then he almost choked on it since he put another one in his mouth before he was done with the first one and now he doesn’t want anymore.  So, hopefully your kid will like them too and nothing traumatic happens so they don’t associate these with choking.  Darn it - should’ve waited to give it to him when he was done with the first!!!  I made these bites pretty small but maybe should’ve made them even smaller for O.  I ate so many of these last night they were dinner, and this morning they were breakfast.  At least they’re rich in protein and fiber:)  Think I need some veggies for lunch today though.  I couldn’t tell you that everyone would like it - but probably if you like pb&j’s and eat somewhat healthy, you will.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes + 4 prunes, chopped - more prunes if you prefer more jelly in your PB&J’s
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts (Or replace creamy pb and nuts with 3/4 cup crunchy pb)

Method:

  • puree 1/2c prunes and dates in food processor or blender
  • Mix all ingredients together
  • Roll into balls - to entice kids, you can try adding or rolling it in all kinds of things!  Candy covered chocolates worked for us:) 

How do you like your PB&Js?

A Happy Runner-Up

Posted by Ann | Posted in Food Chatter | Posted on 17-09-2009

Baked Hot Wing Sauce Garbanzo Beans

 

Yay!  I am a winner!  Well, a runner-up, but I feel like a winner.  Remember the Saucy Mama contest and giveaway?  Right before the contest was up, I got the idea to make some crunchy Baked Hot Wing Sauce Garbanzo Beans.  If you’ve never had baked garbanzo beans, they’re a delicious and healthy nutty snack without actually being nuts.  Trust me, done right, these things are addicting.  Anyway, a big thanks goes out to the people at Barhyte Specialty Foods for sending me your delicious sauces and for the prize.  I had such a great time and was happy before by just receiving all that great sauce and being included in the contest!  I found out yesterday (screened my calls and didn’t answer the actual phone call the night before…oops!) via email.  It came just at the right time as I was cranky from being sick of my son’s cold.  He has a never-ending rope of snot that he’s had for 5 days and he hates it when I wipe his nose but refuses to use tissues.  I’m constantly cleaning him up while he vehemently protests.  Word from the folks at Saucy Mama had me feeling much more upbeat in between snot rags and antioxidants.  Sometimes, it can be a little scary to put your stuff out there and it’s nice to get some positive feedback!  …And a prize!   

If you want to see the real winning recipe, it’s here:  Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Slaw - from Kristy at The Wicked Noodle - also using the hot wing sauce.  The sandwiches look fantastic, I will definitely be trying these out…but with a different kind of cheese since believe it or not, blue cheese is pretty much one of the only foods out there that I don’t like.  Judging on the rave reviews I read on the sandwich - Kristy deserves the win:)  It’s funny because in the post she says she thinks it’s the winner!  In the near future, her recipe will be included on the Saucy Mama hot wing sauce.  How cool is that!?

Tasty Mixed Mediterranean Vegetables

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Side Dishes | Posted on 15-09-2009

Tasty Mixed Mediterranean Vegetables

When I went school for a semeseter in Spain, I lived with this 85 year old woman we all called Abuela (Grandma).  Having been through a lot in her life, she was stingier than most of the other “parents” people were staying with.  My first few days she treated me to mystery meat which was tough and gross and supposed to be a special treat!  I come from Nebraska - land of tons of big animals on the prairie, and so I have come to learn a thing or two about how meat should taste and let me tell you, this was NOT good at all!  While at her place, I lived on tortilla espanolas, fruit, vegetables and sardines.  A little digression on the sardines.  When I told her that I liked sardines, she became sardine happy and I literally ate them for lunch and dinner for a week.  Every single day.  Finally, after losing too much weight on this strange sardine diet, I had to tell her that something else would be okay!  She seemed relieved though so I think she just somehow thought I actually wanted them all the time.  Anyway, the frozen vegetables in Spain were delicious - usually there were eggplants and fennel and red peppers and all kinds of goodies.  Abuela cooked them in lots of olive oil until they were soft and some of the veggies had a nice toasty doneness.  YUM.  I never did get sick of the Spanish frozen vegetables and she came to call me, “La De La Verduras”  Basically, Vegetable Girl.  Unfortunately, we do not have any good mixed vegetables here.  Seriously - none.  Whole Foods used to carry this excellent mix from France with similar vegetables to mine above, but with eggplant, rice and tomatoes as well.  They were the only frozen mixed vegetables that I really liked and of course they’re gone.  I’m thinking $6.99 per small package is the reason - I bought them every time they went on sale.  The mix I made above is basically the same thing as the Spanish frozen vegetables, the ones from France, and the Italian vegetables I’m used to eating.  This mix would also be fantastic with mushrooms and obviously the tomatoes and eggplant as well.  I was trying to tone it down a little since I didn’t want to get ingredient happy and feel too intimidated to make this again…what with chopping time, price and all.

Another reason I like this vegetable mix so much is that my husband will eat them.  It’s pretty amazing.  At first he complained: “Ewwwww, I don’t like zucchini or fennel.”  I said, “Wrong, you don’t like restaurant zucchini that’s hardly cooked, boring and flavorless.  Cooked well zucchini takes the flavor of what it’s cooked with - it’s full of flavor, not chewy and boring.  You don’t like raw fennel but you’ll LOVE it cooked.”  How can someone not like raw fennel anyway?  Well…you can’t please them all.  My hubby chowed a huge portion of the vegetables and then ate more.   I get really happy when I can get him to eat his vegetables!  I feel like a proud mom:)   My Dad, husband and I inhaled all of these vegetables in one meal, but I think it should serve more than three.  We are all just pigs I guess.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch skinny asparagus (you could use fatter but just cut it into smaller bits)
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stem fresh rosemary - all the little leaves chopped
  • fresh basil - depending on leaf size, about 2 TB chopped 
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • butter (optional)

Method:

  • Chop fennel - here is a handy video on how to get started if you’ve never cooked with fennel before (a note before watching - fennel is NOT anise, the video incorrectly calls it anise, and some stores label fennel as anise…like yams and sweet potatoes…still, it’s a good video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Woq5xV7G_N0
  • Cut or snap off the tough bottom off of the asparagus, then cut into 4s
  • Thinly slice red pepper and cut in 1/2s or 1/3rds
  • Thinly slice zucchini
  • Heat skillet to medium-high heat and add enough butter (or olive oil) to coat the pan.  I like to start with butter and then add olive oil as it needs it.
  • Add all vegetables and cook about 25 minutes, stirring often.  If it seems to be cooking too fast or burning, turn to medium heat - adding olive oil as needed
  • Add juice of half lemon, garlic, rosemary and basil - cook another 5 minues or so or until all vegetables have softened and some have browned a little
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Add freshly grated parmigiano reggiano to each serving - it adds another happy flavor punch.

Marzipan Cake

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 11-09-2009

Marzipan Cake

One word: glorious.  My family LOVES marzipan and so this cake tastes like rich, decadent, glorious marzipan!  Not the pre-wrapped dry and tasteless stuff easily found, but the moist and delicious variety - usually found at Italian bakeries.  When I made this cake, originally I was planning on making a yummy Scandinavian Almond Cake but with almond flour instead.  There is a local place called Little Scandinavia that sells this cute Scandinavian Almond Cake Pan with a recipe included and I’ve had it for a year or so - and then last week a wonderful friend of mine, Chris, brought the cake to bunco!  It was absolutely delicious and we all gobbled it up throughout the night.  That got me motivated to make something new!  I will share that recipe as well, but it’s not the one I made. 

As usual, I couldn’t just stop at changing flours and adding some more moisture.  I felt it would be amazing with coconut and lime.  My first botched attempt at this cake produced an amazing tasting though insanely oily and moist cake.  I ate some of it but since it was so oily I sadly threw out the batch after making myself sick for a day.  My second attempt, however, was successful!  It’s a very moist cake, so if you want it less moist, I think you can just omit the milk and it should turn out well.  Basically, this is a delicious gluten-free cake made unhealthy by excess sugar.  But - it is a delicious treat and eating a small slice will make you feel full and satisfied.  I think the protein in the almond and eggs are the filling culprits:)   You can hardly taste the coconut and lime - I think the lime adds a nice very slight tartness (the flavor comes out a little more after sitting) and the coconut blends in with the almond making it taste even more nutty - and somehow adds to the marzipan flavor. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (I used Tropical Traditions brand - use a good brand with great coconut flavor for this)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used organic white)
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • grated rind of 1 lime - don’t need to get too crazy here
  • 1/4 cup milk or coconut milk (omit if you want less moisture)
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups almond flour (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • few dashes of salt

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Grease almond cake pan (or I think a bread pan should work just fine, just won’t be as pretty) - I used coconut oil spray to grease
  • Warm butter and coconut oil until softened to a little melty
  • Blend butter and coconut oil
  • Add remaining liquid ingredients and blend
  • Add dry ingredients and blend
  • Pour batter into pan
  • Bake about 30 minutes, then put foil loosly on top - at this point it should be browned on the edges
  • Bake another 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and it doesn’t wiggle.
  • Allow cake to cool in pan and then invert and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  If you get excited and try to invert it too soon, the cake will break.  No one will blame you.

Chris made the recipe included which consists of: 1 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 2 tsp almond extract, 2/3 cup milk, 1 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 stick melted butter - bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.   She also added sliced almonds to the bottom and it was wonderful - it added a roasted, nutty crunch.  I planned on adding the almonds but then got too excited and forgot about them.  Anyway, the original Scandinavian Almond Cake is slightly moist and heavy with a pure almond flavor.  My version has a major marzipan flavor and is more dense and filling.  They’re both delicious.

My two year old loved it but my husband thought it was a little bland.  I don’t understand how it’s bland at all since it tastes just like marzipan…but then again, he doesn’t get the allure of marzipan while I absolutely love it!  My parents and I didn’t think it was in the least bit bland, rather, it’s a pretty darn strong almond flavor!  So…if you don’t really like marzipan or are not sure about who you’re feeding this to…it may be best to stick with the original.  Otherwise, I think it’d be fun to play with this…try lemon instead of lime, omit the lemon/lime all together and just use milk and maybe more coconut, or even almonds inside the cake.  Any which way, I think it’s darn special.

Hydrating a Sick Kid

Posted by Ann | Posted in Food Chatter | Posted on 10-09-2009

It’s that time of year again.  Well, it’s coming closer but since we’ve had a cool summer and a seemingly early fall, I keep hearing of lots of people around me with colds or flus.  Last year, when my son got sick I had a hard time figuring out what to give him in terms of liquids.  If you’re not a parent, you may think juice would be a good idea…but just 4oz of apple juice and my kid goes #2 in his diaper once or twice in a couple of hours!  Like most kids I know, he doesn’t like Pedialyte.  Well, can you blame him?  If you’ve ever tried it, it’s like drinking fruity salt.  Yuck!  Also, I don’t like giving him Pedialyte anyway since it’s got artificial colors and ingredients - but when your kid isn’t keeping his fluids in, you don’t really care so much if he’ll drink it!  Whole Foods sells a natural version but all it is is insanely expensive fruit juice which will probably just run right through him anyway.  May as well give him the cheaper watered down fruit juice at your house but then…it’ll run through.  Ugh. 

My happy drink for him now is flavored coconut water.  I tried that as well last year but not flavored, and that was the mistake!  I was crestfallen when he didn’t like the perfect solution.  If you don’t know much about coconut water, here are some interesting bits of information from Living and Raw Foods:  In a 100 ml. drink:

  • Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk - Less fat and NO cholesterol!  
  • Coconut water is better than processed baby milk- It contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother’s milk (though I wouldn’t recommend skipping out on formula ever - this is just a tidbit found on the website and I certainly wouldn’t take it as advice to forgo formula and use this instead.  I’m pretty sure your kid’s pediatrician would have a heart attack)
  • Coconut water is naturally sterile — Water permeates though the filtering husk!
  • Coconut water is a universal donor- Its identical to human blood plasma
  • Coconut water is a Natural Isotonic Beverage - The same level we have in our blood.
  • Coconut water has saved lives in 3rd world countries thru Coconut IV
  • Coconut water has 5mg of natural sugars in comparison to 10-15mg
  • Actually, I’ve only tried the pineapple for him, but he loves it so I just continue to buy that one.  It’s pretty expensive so I will eventually try the other flavors for some variety later - but for now I’m happy that he’ll drink something so natural and nourishing.  The pineapple puree added is fairly minimal, so I’m only a little worried about it coming right back out to his diaper.  It’s a much better solution than watered down juice!  Plus, I love adding coconut water to my cooking.  UPDATE!  I now buy the passion fruit variety exclusively because we both think it’s the best one.  The best way I’ve found to get him to drink it is to put a bendy straw in it and pretend like it’s mine - that makes the drink irresistable and he will drink almond the whole thing at once!

    A couple more ways I get liquid down him when he’s sick is yogurt, frozen yogurt and yogurt smoothies.  I read somewhere that a new study came out saying that milk actually does not increase the production of mucous - whether or not that’s true, I figure that yogurt is good due to the probiotics.  O is game for pretty much anything frozen - so some frozen mashed banana mixed with coconut water is a great treat as well.

    Chicken broth is another obvious one but he’s still a little young and stubborn to drink warm broth.  The only soup he’ll actually eat is some delicious Beef Barley Vegetable stew from a local restaurant - so I make sure to buy it the day they make it!  Plus, he is then getting his vegetables as well so it’s a mini-bonus for mommy!

     

    Hazelnut Quinoa Granola Bars

    Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Breakfast Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 04-09-2009

    Hazelnut Quinoa Granola Bars

    I love nutty snacks that I can pick at all day long with a bite here and there and still feel good about it even if maybe I over-indulged a bit too much.  Which is sure to happen with me!  I bought some quinoa flakes awhile back but still hadn’t done anything with them.  They’ve been at the back of my mind for quite some time and then the other day I stumbled on Oh She Glow’s blog again (it’s a great one!  Good for a kick in the butt if you’re feeling like you need to eat healthier or work out but can’t get motivated).  Speaking of which, I have worked out once in the last couple of weeks and intend to work out later.  I feel much better when I do but it’s just so hard with a cute little toddler that I have to leave to workout.  Plus, he’s a work out just to be around!  Anyway, I saw one of her recipes for Raw Granola Bars and figured out exactly what I wanted to make with the quinoa flakes!  The granola bars look fantastic - and I’ve made similar bars in the past - this time, I felt like changing it up and using quinoa flakes for some added protein!  My 2 year old son is basically a vegetarian - and it’s hard to get him to eat meat, so any protein source that he’ll eat is a huge bonus for me! 

    This recipe is based off of those granola bars but also completely changed.  I used brown rice syrup because trying different syrup sources (agave nectar and fruit syrup) for me tends to lead to crumbly bars.  You can find my flax peanut butter crispy bars using brown rice syrup here.  I then added two different types of sugar to break-up the brown rice syrup flavor a little - 1/8 cup sucanat and 1/8 cup ZSweet (erythritol).  I think the next time I’ll just use 1/8 cup of organic white or brown sugar - as the sucanat lends a molasses flavor to it and the bars could be a tad less sweet, though they’re great as-is.  Maybe adding 3/4 cup of brown rice syrup rather than 1 would work as well…  you need to make sure it sticks together but of course to be more healthy it would be best to use less sugar!  Using peanut butter rather than almond butter and hazelnuts would cover the taste of the brown rice syrup, but I wanted hazelnut and chocolate today:)  The almond butter just adds some nuttiness and more of a binding agent without overwhelming the flavor of the hazelnuts.  I like the addition of coconut with hazelnut and chocolate, and you can see that here with my Nutella Crispy Bars:)  

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup brown rice syrup
    • 1/8 cup erythritol
    • 1/8 cup sucanat (or any type of sugar/sweetener)
    • 2 1/2 TB coconut oil (2 TB would work as well, but the almond butter I used was pretty dry, so it needed a little more more moisture)
    • 1/4 cup almond butter
    • 3/4 cups roasted hazelnuts, ground in food processor to a meal with some chunks
    • 2 cups quinoa flakes
    • 1/4 cup ground flax
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (I ground them up to small chunks so my 2 year old can it these without choking)
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cups chocolate chips - I used 58% here, but use what you feel most comfortable with.

    Method:

    • Roast the hazelnuts in a pre-heated 350 oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  No need to remove skins - grind in a food processor until some small chunks are left but it’s mostly a meal/flour consistency
    • Heat the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, almond butter and sugars over medium-high heat until bubbles start to form, stirring constantly for a few minutes and then remove from heat.  You could probably skip this step, but I think it’s just much much easier to get everything mixed well this way.   Add the hazelnuts
    • In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients except for chocolate chips, pour the wet into the dry and mix well.  Allow to cool a little more and then add chocolate chips.  I got a little excited and added those chips a little early so they melted a bit:)  No big deal. 
    • Grease a 12×8″ pan - or whatever size you want, with coconut oil - I found some great coconut oil spray and used it because I’m lazy.  It would be cheaper and almost as easy just to grease it with coconut oil!  Add the quinoa mixture and flatten with a spatula.
    • Refrigerate until bars set.  Yum yum yum!!!!  
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