Category Archives: Breakfasts

Mistake Cake (or Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Cake)

This morning my girls (very adorably) demanded pancakes for breakfast. So I took out my trusty pancake recipe and started mixing.

Problem. I used baking SODA instead of baking POWDER. But then, I added the baking powder, and, oh my goodness… I tried one pancake and it didn’t work. It just fell apart all over the place. It also tasted like baking soda. Blech!

Here’s something you probably already know about me by reading my posts; I can’t waste anything – especially food. So I tried to salvage it. I thought it probably wouldn’t work, but I had already messed it up, so what the heck, right? To my left was a baggie of ready-made oatmeal – my version of the instant packages. It had oats and raisins, some sea salt, and cinnamon/nutmeg. I keep these made up and ready for my husband to grab in the mornings. All he has to do is add a cup of water to quickly make a healthy breakfast for the girls. I poured that in the mix. Then I wanted something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it! Looking in the fridge I saw some apple butter looking kinda lonely. I chucked it in, stirred it up, and hoped for the best.

40 Minutes later…

Mistake Cake (or Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Cake) ::Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals BlogWell, hey, it worked! I made a beautiful little breakfast cake! It’s also pretty healthy. Yay!

Without further adieu…

Mistake Cake (or Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Cake) ::Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

Mistake Cake (or Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Cake)

Ingredients:

2 Cup spelt flour

1 Cup rolled oats

2-4 Tblsp coconut sugar (depending on your sweetness preference)

1 tsp nutmeg and/or cinnamon

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

2 Cup whole milk

1 Cup applesauce (I used apple butter!)

4 Tblsp melted butter

2 Tblsp melted coconut oil

2 large eggs

1 Cup raisins or other favorite dried fruit (optional)

Directions:

Mix everything together however you want with a mixer. It doesn’t really matter what order because I totally “invented” this by messing it up. Pour into a well-greased pan.* Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Mine was an oval pan. You can use this handy conversion chart to check the time for your pan. The chart works well for this cake. Want to make a heart-shaped Mistake Cake? Go for it! 

Have fun!

Love, Veronica

Clean Eating Breakfast Cake – “Healthified”

Clean Eating Breakfast Cake - "Healthified" :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I gave away my white sugar.

I did. It was hard. A good pound or more of it just walked out my door one day. I told my friend, “I just can’t justify feeding it to my family anymore.” She could, which was fine for me because I didn’t have to waste it.

Lately, I have been on this amazing food journey. Every step I take I discover something new about what I can do to really FEED my family. Food is more than just food. There are nutrients and anti-nutrients, probiotics, good sugars and bad sugars, good fats and bad fats. We’re not being told the real story. The good fats are actually those we have been told to avoid! Saturated fats are good! Mind. Blown.

Cue whole milk (pastured and raw if you can get it!), butter, ghee, lard, coconut oil, FAT. It’s not all bad. Of course, everything in moderation, but I want you to know, it’s ok to put butter on your veggies. In fact, it’s encouraged. Because that little bit of fat helps your body utilize many of those vitamins you’re eating.

This whole journey started with the purchase of one book. Nourishing Traditions. I recommend it to anyone who wants to be healthier, happier, and really eat well. Then I started fermenting. First sauerkraut, then pomegranate “soda”, then dilly pickled carrots… All these have helpful, tummy healing, brain boosting probiotics.

Then the sugar. So, goodbye refined, white, bleached sugar. Hello sucanat, honey, maple syrup, coconut (palm) sugar.

And this is where we get to cake. Breakfast cake.

I found a recipe that called for 2 cups! of sugar… for a breakfast or coffee cake! (Aside: You’ll have to excuse me. As a Mormon, I don’t drink coffee, so calling this a coffee cake seems odd to me. We call it breakfast cake around here.)

It called for brown sugar; but brown sugar is really white (refined) sugar with molasses added to it. You can bet that molasses probably isn’t organic either. But, here’s a cool fact about coconut sugar: It tastes like brown sugar! Score!

The recipe I read originally called for refined (not clean) brown sugar, oleo (yuck!), refined flour, and some other ingredients that weren’t so bad. But I knew I could replace those bad ones. So, without further adieu… the recipe.

Clean Eating Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut palm sugar or sucanat

1 cup coconut oil (or butter, or a mixture of the two)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups unbleached flour (I prefer spelt flour and grind my own. But einkorn or emmer are also good. Read why here and here.)

1 cup of sour milk or buttermilk (Good way to use up your milk if it sours! Keep in mind, raw milk sours beautifully over time. Pasteurized milk rots. Don’t make the mistake of using rotten pasteurized milk!)

1 teaspoon baking soda

Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon together. Then mix coconut oil/butter in with your hands until mixture resembles crumbly sand. Reserve one cup for topping. Stir baking soda into sour milk/buttermilk. Add to flour/sugar/oil mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into greased 13×9  pan, and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm (or that evening with ice cream!).

The changes I made were 1:1. Everything came out perfectly. My family devoured this recipe. And I know that it was much healthier than it was in 1962 when sweet “Mrs. McCarter” wrote it in a small-town cookbook. I hope you enjoy it. Please comment and let me know what your favorite recipe was that you “healthified” or cleaned up.

Happy (clean) eating!

~Veronica

Cinnamon Rolls

SAM_1745 Mmmmm…that’s right warm, ooey, gooey, sweet, right out of the oven, delicious, homemade cinnamon rolls. Dessert, breakfast or just anytime is right for Cinnamon Rolls, especially when they are homemade.  Made from real, fresh, ground cinnamon.  I heard somewhere, that 98% of ground cinnamon sold in grocery stores, is not cinnamon but in fact, Cassia (cinnamon’s cheaper Chinese cousin).

SAM_1746So here is how to make the magic:

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe:

4 – 4 1/2 cups Bread flour

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon fresh ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup raisins

1 recipe for cream cheese icing or vanilla icing

Step one

In a a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups bread flour and the packet of yeast; set aside.  in a small saucepan heat and stir milk, granulated sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and the salt just until warm (120 – 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with two eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. using a wooden spoon, stir in another 1 – 1 1/2 cups four.

Step Two

Turn dough out on to a floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour the make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough.  cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours).

Step Three

Punch down dough. turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Lightly grease your baking pans; set aside. For filling: stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, flour; using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. If desired stir in raisins and chopped nuts.

Note: You could change your filling and make many different varieties of rolls like instant espresso for mocha rolls, or chocolate chips for chocolate rolls, and even toffee chips and caramel.

Step Four

Roll each dough half into a 12 x 8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving 1 inch unfilled along one of the long sides. Roll up each rectangle, starting from the filled long side. Pinch dough to seal seams. Slice each roll into equal pieces.  Arrange in pans cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).

SAM_1744 SAM_1742

Step Five

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool about 5 minutes; remove from pan.  Spread with cream cheese icing or drizzle with vanilla icing. Serve warm.

Cream Cheese Icing

In a small mixing bowl beat one 3 ounce package softened cream cheese with 2 tablespoons softened butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Gradually beat in 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach spreading consistency.

Vanilla Icing

In a small mixing bowl stir together 2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in milk, or cream 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture reaches drizzling consistency.

Now go make these….you know you want some!!!

My Journey to Health – Day 2

This day was a really great day! I felt good, we exercised in the morning, and my headache was gone. I’m really starting to feel the effects of this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.

My breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, half a tomato, and a little bit of fresh basil from my garden. It’s really fulfilling to go out into your yard, pull something out of the ground, put it over your food, and eat it. How satisfying! Not to mention tasty.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

My first snack was one cup of red grapes. How much easier can that get?!

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Then, lunch. Oh, beautiful lunch! The salad was so delicious. I had cooked the ground turkey the day before, and it was ready and waiting to be put into this beautiful salad. Super healthy, packed full of flavor, and really delicious.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
My second snack was a hard boiled egg cut open with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gave it a needed kick that made me feel like I was eating something more than an egg.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Dinner was chicken in foil with red skinned potatoes, peppers, onions, and some herbs. I think this is my favorite meal so far. It was easy, well-rounded, and very good.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

And there you have it, Day 2… done. In the morning I exercised to T25 with my husband. I am so proud of his effort to do this with me. It’s way easier with somebody going along with you and helping you stick to it. And he has been a champ with lots of unhealthy temptations out there.

Looking forward to the days ahead…

~Veronica

My Journey To Health – Day 1

A friend of mine who is a Beachbody coach (visit her page here!), invited me to join a challenge that she was doing. It started yesterday. It’s a five day challenge to eat clean every day. 1200 to 1300 cal per day, three meals, two snacks. No processed foods, no pop, and very little sugar, exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Yesterday I started my journey towards health. My reasons for wanting to get healthy are my children. I want to be around for them for a long time. I have also found out recently that I have a condition called joint hypermobility syndrome or JHS. With that comes pain in my joints because they easily rotate past normal range of movement, and that causes inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. In the past, exercising has been tough for me because I get injured easily and then take weeks to heal. I also suffer from anxiety and insomnia that I believe is partly due to JHS, and fibromyalgia goes along with it. I often feel very fatigued, and that’s frustrating. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that I become healthy, not just for me but for my family. I’m going to take you guys along with me on this journey as I learn how to eat healthily and exercise every day.

Yesterday was my first day, and I suffered a terrible headache due to my body having withdrawals from caffeine and possibly sugar. For my exercise I rode my bike for about 20 minutes (not very long due to headache). And this is what I had to eat…

This was the first omelette I’ve ever made! It’s a broccoli and feta cheese omelette. It was really tasty, but next time I would put some tomatoes in it ’cause it was also a little dry. I paired it with a side of half a piece of Ezekiel bread.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then for my morning snack I had some yogurt with a little bit of honey. The recipe called for grapefruit peel, but I’m not a fan of peel unless they are organic, and I didn’t have any organic citrus peels. So I left those out and squeezed a little bit of lemon into it, and it was delicious!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Lunch was a spinach and chicken salad. I boiled the chicken in water with curry powder for little extra boost of flavor. I had cooked the chicken ahead of time because I knew it would be hard for me, as a mom of two, to have the time to cook chicken for lunch. So it was already in the refrigerator when it was time for lunch. Super easy!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then, the hardest part was waiting for this PM snack. These turkey rollup’s are delicious! I had two. You just take two slices of turkey lunch meat, and spread a soft cheese on it, I used Laughing Cow cream cheese. The recipe also called for avocado slices, but mine aren’t ripe! A nice goat cheese would be really great on this.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

My headache was killing me by dinner time. I had been drinking lots of water hoping that I could steer it off. But that didn’t really work because it was from a lack of caffeine and a lack of sleep. But I did manage to make dinner; these fish tacos were really, really good. I used my Mahi-Mahi and replaced the avocado with sour cream. Darn unripe avocados! These have a tasty, spicy cabbage slaw to bulk them up. They were really filling though, and super tasty!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

So with all my cooking and eating done, I went to sleep early to try to get rid of my headache. Thankfully today it’s gone. I’ve already done my workout today, and made breakfast, two snacks, and lunch to send with my hubby to work! I got my T25 in the mail yesterday, and did my first workout today, and it was AWESOME. I’ll tell y’all about today’s success in my post tomorrow! Be healthy!

~Veronica

Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos

My busy family always needs easy-to-grab breakfasts. Often, my husband gets up with the girls while I sneak in one more hour of sleep. What a lucky girl am I! The way that I make sure that everyone eats something healthy and filling, while I am checking the backs of my eyelids for holes, is to make freezer-friendly breakfasts up ahead of time that my husband can heat up quickly. I most often have homemade waffles, muffins, ham/sausage and egg breakfast sandwiches, and these delicious breakfast burritos waiting in the freezer. Here’s where I got the original idea many moons ago.

Tips for make-ahead meals:

  • Start with a clean kitchen. 
  • Get all your bowls, pans, and utensils ready. Huge bowls come in very handy.
  • Get all your ingredients washed and prepped.
  • Have a kitchen helper to wash as you go. My sweet hubs tackles this job.
  • Make it easy on yourself and cut up extra potatoes, onions, and peppers that you can store in the freezer (cooked or uncooked, as you prefer), and cook extra meat for later meals in the week or month.

The ingredients and method:

Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

How much of each to use? Well, it depends on how many you want to make. I make as many as possible. Last night, we made 30 burritos. We used 18 eggs, 2 lbs of ground sausage, 3 peppers, 2 cups of chopped onion, and a whole 5 lb bag of potatoes.

Exact quantity of the ingredients doesn’t matter so much. But about 10 burritos would take about 6 eggs, about 1/2 to 1 lb of sausage, 1 to 2 bell peppers, about 1/2 to 1 onion, and about 2 to 3 med potatoes (give or take). And then whatever you add or subtract and how you measure out the ingredients in the wrapping process change how many you get from this. We do huge batches and just cook up as much stuff as we can so that it’s one night, rather than many.

Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

OVEN ROASTED POTATOES: Start your potatoes first because they take the longest. I am a make-it-easy gal, so we use the food processor to grate our potatoes quickly. I have cut them into cubes and roasted them that way, but honestly, it’s very time consuming. My kids make it hard to spend lots of time in the kitchen, so quicker is better at this point in my life! When using the food processor, you must drain the shredded potatoes. Or do what I do and enlist your helper’s strong hands to squeeze out the extra liquid that comes from the potatoes. No one wants a soggy burrito.

I toss my potatoes with thyme and lightly spray with olive oil; but any of your favorite herbs and spices will bring it to the next level. I then spread the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Easy clean up is also a priority. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until softened and lightly browned, turning once.

SCRAMBLED EGGS: I crack all my eggs into a large bowl, add sea salt, pepper, and sour cream for a creamier, less watery texture than milk. The best way to cook bright and fluffy scrambled eggs is to never turn the heat above medium, depending on your stove, and to keep stirring and gently scraping the cooked eggs off the bottom of the pan. I have to do two pans simultaneously when I use 18 eggs.

SAUSAGE/OTHER MEATS: Cook the ground sausage according to package directions until browned and crumbled. Drain. I have also added cooked and crumbled bacon and ham to my burritos. We left out the bacon to cut the fat (I don’t even buy it anymore), and I didn’t have any ham. It does add a lot to the flavor. So add what you like. You can’t go wrong.

BELL PEPPERS AND ONIONS: After I remove my sausage for draining, I add the peppers and onions to the sausage pan,. Might as well use that pre-seasoned pan! Cook on medium-high heat, covered, until they are softened, and then uncover until all the liquid has cooked off.

Here’s a make-ahead tip: Take a bag of onions, remove the skin and cut into quarters, then use your food processor to grate the onions in a giant batch. The onions will put off a lot of water. Squeeze out the water with your hands or a fine sieve, and store the shredded onions in freezer bags. Press score lines for easy removal of portions from the bag later. These can be added to any of your cooking preparations. And save the onion “water”. It can be added to stews, soups, and marinades for extra flavor that plain water just doesn’t provide. From one 5 lb bag of onions, I got 2 quarts of onion “water”. I like prepping these easy-to-grab onions as I’m making my burritos because the large batch accommodates using many onions anyway. We might as well take these extra few minutes while everything is out, right?

ADD-ONS or SUBSTITUTIONS: Beans, tofu, tomatoes, summer squash, quinoa, rice, meat substitutes, gourmet cheeses, TVP (soy protein), tempeh,  and pretty much any veggies – shredded or cut small and cooked. You can also add whatever sauces or dips you’d like with these to the inside for easier on-the-go eating. Think: Ketchup, hot sauce, salsa, Sriracha, etc.

Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

Mix everything together in a giant bowl. I use large flour tortillas, but you can use small ones if you prefer. 1/4 cup cheese and about 3/4 cup of the “filling” is the perfect amount for my burritos. Below is my process:

Burrito assembly :: Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

Layer cheese and filling. Turn up sides. Turn up the edge closest to you. Roll to the other edge. My kitchen helper (hubs) wraps these in paper towel for easy individual microwave cooking later. Then we place them in the bag that the tortillas came in (re-use, re-cycle!), write the date, and freeze!

Make-Ahead Freezer Breakfast Burritos :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

We pull them out one (or three) at a time. Then we re-heat them in the microwave for 1.5 minutes, flip it, and another 1.5 minutes on the other side.

The hubs and I once figured up what this saves us per month. He used to buy breakfast burritos (or another gas station breakfast) about 2-3 times per week. These cost anywhere from $3-5 each. That’s $24-60 per month, and $288-720 per year. At the very least, we’re cutting out the cost of at least one bill! What do they cost to make? That depends on where you live and what time of year it is. Do you get free eggs from your chickens, or buy in bulk at a club grocery store? Ours run about .75 cents to  $1.00 per burrito. We’re saving quite a bit and feeding our family food that will not only be healthier than greasy gas station food, but will also fill their tummies better. Adjust these to make them vegetarian, gluten-free, high protein, spicy, kid-friendly, gourmet, whatever you like.

*The nutrition will vary depending on what you put in them. I figured mine up and if you did it exactly as I did, the nutrition info is as follows. Rough estimate only.

Nutrition Info: ~400-450 calories, ~40 g carbs, ~20 g. fat (use low fat sausage or substitute to lower this number), ~20 g. protein, ~1000-1500 mg sodium (use low sodium whenever possible to minimize this impact), ~5 g. sugar.

Happy eating! I hope you try these and that they make your life easier. That’s always my goal. We made a party out of it last night and got the whole family involved. Kids eating, chopping, stirring, and mixing. Husband washing, wiping counters, and kid wrangling. It’s really better to do this with company, music, and help. Making memories in the kitchen is the best part.

Enjoy!

~Veronica

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Do your kids come running when you tell them that quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is on the menu? Yeah, mine either. But here’s why they should be eating it;

1.) Quinoa is super high in fiber. Fiber is filling, prevents overeating, and helps prevent constipation and diarrhea. It can also be protective against some cancers.

2.) Quinoa is a complete protein. Why is that important? Well, My kids don’t eat a lot of meat, so I worry about making sure they’re getting enough protein. 

3.) Quinoa is high in Lysine, Magnesium, Iron, and Manganese. Think, healthy teeth and bones, energy, and antioxidants!

4.) Quinoa is high in Riboflavin, better known as vitamin B2. Riboflavin is good for a healthy metabolism. It’s good for hair, skin, eyes, and liver. And it also helps the body change folate and vitamin B6 into more useful forms.

5.) Quinoa is heart-healthy and protects against diabetes.

So, any reason to add quinoa to my kids’ tummies (and my own!) is a good one.

My friend recently introduced me to the Super Healthy Kids blog. They’ve got SO many recipes and ideas on there. You should really go check them out and pin all the things!

I spent a few hours -ahem- little while lurking about their blog one day and found this; a recipe for Quinoa Coconut Granola Bars. The thing that caught me… you don’t cook the quinoa! What? But won’t it break your tooth? Surprisingly, no. You toast it so it’s all nutty and scrummy umptious as my daughter would say. So bear with me here, I promise, your kids will scarf it down.

Wash Your Quinoa :: Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

First, rinse your quinoa. The original recipe skipped this step and went straight to the toasting. However, quinoa is coated with a  plant chemical called saponin. Saponins help protect the plant from being eaten; they don’t taste very good. So rinse your quinoa well. I always put mine in a bowl, add warm water to cover, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then pour it out into my mesh strainer that I’ve lined with cheesecloth, otherwise it falls through the mesh. I then run warm water through it for a minute or so just to be sure I’ve gotten all the bitter taste off. Be aware though, once quinoa is wet, it sticks to everything! Just pull out the cheesecloth and wring it out as much as possible before scraping the seeds into your bowl. Did you know quinoa is a seed? Sure is. Many people assume it’s a grain. Nope, seed. There’s a nice little trivia fact for you.  Oh, also, quinoa comes in lots of colors. Mine is red and a little white added in because I ran out of red. I like them both. Anywho… on to toasting.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
Add whatever other nuts or seeds you have on hand. I added sesame seeds for all of these reasons, chia seeds (we’ve talked about those benefits before), and pumpkin seeds because of all of this. Walnuts and almonds went into the mix too, along with the oats and shredded coconut. So many omega-3’s in these bars!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Spread it all out on a pan to toast for a little while. I don’t watch the clock when toasting nuts. I just keep my nose alert. And the original recipe didn’t say to, but I put all my dry ingredients on the pan to toast. Easier that way.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' GalsI chopped up the walnuts a bit because I know my kids, and they would have a hard time with whole nuts. Just roll with it and do whatever your family will like. The original recipe called for dried fruit too, but I know that would throw my kids off. They’d rather eat their dried fruit by itself. Snobs. 😉

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Simmer the wet ingredients and then add them to the dry. Mix like crazy and then spread it in a greased (for me that’s misted, thanks Misto!) 9 X 13. I used coconut oil instead of canola. No canola in our house. Ick. Most canola oil is GMO. That’s pretty much the only reason why I don’t use it. Do your research and know what you are eating, is my only advice.

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Here’s a tip; wet your hands. If you don’t, this sticks to you like fly paper. Go ahead and get  your hands wet and spreading this stuff in the pan and getting it flat is a breeze. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Then LET THEM SIT! I can’t stress this enough. You have to let them sit for the full 2 hours. Forget them!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

If you wait, you have these beautiful bars that slice relatively easily. They remind me a lot of a Clif Bar. I topped mine with drizzled chocolate (almond bark, no need for the oil that the original recipe calls for). I’m the queen of that stuff lately! Once that dries and hardens, they are super scrummy! That’s 4 year-old talk for flippin’ awesome!

Bird Seed (Quinoa) Energy Bars :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
I hope you all enjoy these bars! We’re calling them Bird Seed Bars because, well, they look like bird seed. They would be great for taking on a car trip, bike trip, to church, camping; anywhere where you will be out of the house when the “Mahm! I’m hangry!” starts to happen. Little Miss 4 has already gobbled down 2 of these today. So I can totally start with, “Neener, neener! My kid ate quinoa!” Heh. No really. She ATE quinoa. Voluntarily. Plus, they cost way less than a Clif Bar or a Larabar; those are all the rage these days.

I had my friend over today, the one who introduced me to Super Healthy Kids, so I forced her to be my guinea pig and try one of these bars. She liked it! Well, she ate it all and didn’t die, so I assume she liked it!  🙂

Here’s the lowdown on the nutrition, per bar (when cut into 25 smallish bars):
Calories: 158, Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 124mg, Carbohydrate: 20g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 4g

For the original recipe, in case you missed it, just click HERE.

Edit (6/7/13) It seems people are missing the hyperlinks to find the recipe, so I will post my recipe to show you what I did. But you really should visit the original recipe on Super Healthy Kids that I linked to twice above.

My Ingredients:

Quinoa 1 Cup
Oats 1 Cup
Coconut (Shredded) 1/2 Cup
Walnuts (or nuts of choice to equal 1 Cup) 1 Cup
Salt 1/4 tsp
Oil (Coconut) 1 Tblsp
Peanut Butter 1/2 Cup
Honey 3/4 Cup
Brown Sugar 3 Tblsp
Chocolate Garnish

My Method:
Rinse quinoa well. Add all the dry ingredients (minus dried fruit if you intend to use it) to a sheet pan to toast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, while you are cooking the wet ingredients. Add oil, peanut butter, honey, and brown sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients (add dried fruit here) in a large bowl; stir to incorporate well. Spread with wet hands into a greased 9 X 13 dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Let it cool 
completely, about 2 hours. Cut and remove squares. Add chocolate, if using. I melt almond bark in the microwave for about a minute or in a double boiler until melted. Let the chocolate harden before storing. Store wrapped in wax paper in a zipper bag or seal-able container. These will keep longer when kept in the refrigerator and can be made ahead in larger batches and frozen. 

Now it’s up to you guys. Will you try them? Do you like quinoa?

~Veronica