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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!!!!  

Nutella Crispy Bars

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 23-06-2009

Nutella Crispy Bars

I really do have an obsession with hazelnut and chocolate together.  Really.  I felt like making the peanut butter flax crispy bars but decided to experiment with some hazelnut ones instead and I’m glad I did!  They’re sweet, crunchy, hazelnutty with the undertones of coconut flavor that just gives the hazelnut a little umph to say, “I’m here!”  My personal taste testers all approved, including my cousin, Erica, who is as or more obsessed with hazelnut chocolate than myself!  I first ran to the store to buy some natural marshmallows but unfortunately, the only place that has those is Whole Foods and I didn’t feel like driving there.  I would’ve bought the regular marshmallows at the store but felt pretty miffed that they have to add Blue coloring #4.  Is it really necessary to add color to get them to be as bright white as possible.  Would you not buy them if they were white but not so bright?  Out of personal defiance, I decided to just figure something else out.  (I’ll bet made with marshmallow they would’ve been excellent also!) 

Oh, and I am aware that Nutella is really not healthy, but if you read the About Me page; I mention I throw all that out the window when it comes to Italian foods, but otherwise, I made an attempt at making these as healthy as possible!  I know I can try making my own Nutella, I’ve seen quite a few recipes but I just don’t want to.  By the way, I’ve also tried many organic or healthier versions of Nutella but so far haven’t been impressed.  I’d made it a little more hazelnutty, a little less sugary and milk chocolaty, and it’d be perfect.  Grown up Nutella.  So far, I don’t think anyone has accomplished that so I’ll stick with my kid Nutella- the real deal! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal (did you know they also make brown rice cereal?  yes they do!  try that instead for a little extra boost of nutrition!)

Method:

  • Grease 9×13 inch pan
  • Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes - allow to cool slightly and remove some of the skins with a paper towel, the ones that stay on are fine.
  • With a blender or food processor (I recommend food processor because blenders are much harder to clean with nuts), chop until some are finely ground but some are still slightly chunky, like chunky peanut butter size chunks
  • In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, heat brown sugar and agave nectar until it starts to boil - turn down to medium and keep stirring a few more minutes, remove from heat, add coconut, flaxseed and Nutella, stir well.  Let mixture cool for a few minutes, add hazelnuts and chocolate chips
  • In a large bowl, add the crispy rice cereal, then slowly add the hot mixture mixing until all rice cereal is covered (I use a strong spatula to mix and get bits off the side of the pan and bowl) transfer to the 9×13 inch pan and flatten.  If you’re impatient like me, just throw it in the fridge to allow it to set - once cooled, it does not need to be refrigerated

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!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Flax Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 31-03-2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Flax Cookies

 

I made this cookie recipe because I really wanted to use coconut oil in cookies for the heavier consistency factor - like back when our moms used to throw butter flavored Crisco in cookies and they always tasted the best with the chewy heartier texture?  With what I know now, I would never buy shortening to use in my foods and feed to my family.  We are coconut lovers and the added coconut flavor from the coconut oil is a welcome change.  If you don’t like coconut or if you have coconut allergies - you can just buy some organic shortening which is made of palm oil and is trans-fat free.  These cookies are flourless!  By using coconut oil, spelt flour, ground flaxseed, and oats, you’re getting a much healthier version and a  tasty treat.  If you really wanted a cleaner eating version of the cookie, you can always substitute agave nectar for the sugar.  If you wanted a lighter version, you could also substitute applesauce for the butter.  However, I like using at least a few traditional ingredients in baking because it usually lends to a better flavor!

 

  • 1/4 cup organic butter, softened
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter and coconut oil together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat well. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In a medium bowl, combine spelt flour, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture, then stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Drop a heaping teaspoon of dough onto cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

This makes a small batch of around 35 little cookies.  I prefer these cookies cooled because the coconut flavor comes out!  Also, these are toddler and husband approved!  My husband is fairly picky on healthy versions of cookies but lately I’ve gotten much better at it that he doesn’t know he’s eating a healthy version… except he knows I made them so he does know deep down:)

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