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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.

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!!!!  

Flax Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 07-05-2009

Flax Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

 

These crispy peanut butter rice bars are so easy to make and they taste delicious!  They’re slightly more substantial than your typical rice bars with the addition of flax.  The flax is not overwhelming, however, you can slightly taste that it’s there.  Instead of tasting flaxy, it just tastes heartier.  Rice Krispie bars were one of my favorite snacks growing up.  There’s really not much to them, and they’re generally void of nutrients.  But, they’re so fun to eat and such a simple snack!  Obviously, I love peanut butter, and the peanut butter crispy treats are delicious as well.  I modified this recipe that my friend Jenn made.  Her recipe involved corn syrup which I swapped out for brown rice syrup.  The benefit to brown rice syrup is mostly that it has a lower glycemic index than corn syrup (probably the best substitution would be agave nectar, which I may try in the future) and  it’s more natural than corn syrup.  It’s still a sugar and high in calories so try limit these bars.  Easier said than done.  I could easily eat half the pan in a day they’re so good!  Toddler approved.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice syrup (corn syrup if you don’t have brown rice syrup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup flax-seed meal
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal

Directions:

  • Slowly melt brown rice syrup and brown sugar on stove top on about medium, add peanut butter and flax-seed meal.
  • Put the cereal in a bowl and add the warm peanut butter mixture.  Stir and transfer to 9×13 greased pan.  Flatten with the back of the spatula or use whatever method you like best.  Lots of people spray their hands with spray oil or rub their hands in butter and flatten that way.

Enjoy!  I’d like to mention, to make these foods healthier, I use mostly or all organic ingredients.  I don’t write it down in the recipes because it seems redundant.  But, with less processing and less hormones and pesticides, organic will make things better for you.

If you’re interested in a similar scotcharoos type recipe made healthier, click here.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure I’ll be making them in the future!

Banana Nut Muffins

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

 

I found this delicious recipe on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog: goop.com.  I enjoy reading the food section of her blog because she always has one healthy meal and a dessert/sweet option.  (I know, I tend to stick to the sweets but they’re more fun to talk about)  She has access to anything and since she cares about her health she seems to find those health-conscious talented foodies and I’m so happy that she shares her findings!  I tweaked it a little since I’m a much lazier cook… I hate sifting (however, if you’re not sifting, you may be using too much flour…or basically, a different recipe alltogether) and making wells and using multiple bowls and stuff so here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (just use honey or agave nectar if you don’t have it)
  • 5 Tablespoons grapeseed oil (or canola or sunflower)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup whole spelt flour  (you can also use just plain wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roasted then chopped (tip: roast more in case you burn a few it seems to always happen in my hot oven and then if none burn, you have extras to put in the muffins or a tasty treat to snack on while baking)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and roast the walnuts for around 7 minutes, then chop
  2. Mash bananas and then mix in the other liquid ingredients.
  3. Mix flours, baking soda and salt and add to liquid ingredients (I usually put the liquid ingredients in a big bowl, and mix the dry on top of the liquid in the same bowl, I hate doing dishes, it works every time though!!!) 
  4. Fold in walnuts and raisins.  Don’t over-mix or it’ll be tough.  I used a spatula for mixing everything.
  5. Spray the muffin tin with oil or line with cups.  Use an ice cream scoop to distribute evenly - I do this with every muffin/cupcake that I make.  It’s so much easier!
  6. Bake about 25 minutes, cool for a few minutes, and then transfer to a cooking rack.

These made a dense yet fluffy moist batch of muffins with a rich banana flavor.  Enjoy!

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