Back to School Power Bars

My oldest is going into school this year.  I really don’t feel old enough (or mature enough)  to have a child in school.  I want him to be successful.  I want him to make friends and be confident.  I want him to remember to say please and thank you, shut the toilet lid, share, and be respectful to his teacher (not necessarily in that order).  I also want to be sure that he has the energy he needs and a healthy body to keep him going.  When I grew up my favorite after school snack was a bowl of ice cream or a piece of toast with peanut butter and chocolate chips on top.  I had those almost everyday and I loved it!  There is definitely a time for junk food in my mind, but I also want to be sure to implement healthy snacks disguised and yummy treats.  So, I came up with this concoction that I’m very happy with.  You could substitute a few things to make it even more healthy, but I made it sweet enough that the boys wouldn’t know they were healthy.  It worked!  They love them.  I cut and wrapped half of the batch as regular granola bars so they would be easy to pop in a backpack or my purse.  The other half I cut into squares and had them easily accessible in a cookie jar.  The cookie jar squares were completely gone in two days  after sharing with some friends.  Just know that this recipe is very forgiving, so feel free to alter it to meet your wants.   Enjoy!

Back to School Power Bars 

2 cups flour

1 cup oat bran

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups oats

1+ cup cooked quinoa

2 cups dried fruit ( I used a tropical fruit mix)

1 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp almond extract (I love the almond flavor, so use less if you want)

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium/large bowl stir together the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, oats, quinoa, and dried fruit.  Make a little bowl within the flour mixture and put the remaining ingredients inside it.  Stir it a little bit and then incorporate the wet into the dry.  I make the flour bowl to save dishes, but you can mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl if you want and then just combine them.  The dough will be the consistency of a sticky cookie dough.  Spray 1-2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray and then scoop big blobs of the dough onto the baking sheets and spread out with the back of a large spoon or spatula.  You want it to be about 1/2-3/4 inches thick.  It doesn’t spread or rise much so don’t worry about it cooking strange if one of your baking sheets isn’t completely full of dough.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Quinoa Cookies

Man, I love cookies. . I REALLY love cookies.  I wish I could eat them for lunch every day.  The world would be a better place if we could all just eat muffins for breakfast, cookies for lunch and zucchini bread for dinner. . . mmmm.  Curse that person who discovered that unhealthy eating causes so many health problems.  In my attempts to be healthier, but also still enjoy my guilty pleasures I came up with this recipe.  I googled ‘quinoa cookies’ and I was surprised to find that there were quite a few recipes. Most of the recipes had obscure ingredients that I would need to go to a health food store to find.  Others seemed too complicated to be considered a cookie or they just looked gross.  So, I started to combine a few of the recipes and came up with this.  I think these turned out great!  When Brett got home from work and tried one I think his exact words were, “I guess they’re okay for a healthy cookie.”  Totally not what I wanted to hear.  I thought that maybe I wouldn’t keep the recipe, or at least not post it.  Then my boys ate a dozen cookies and wanted more.  So, maybe they’re not for everyone, but I liked them and I’ll keep anything around that’s healthy and my boys want more. I would like to attempt more quinoa cookie recipes, and I’ll share anything else I come up with.

Quinoa Cookies

1 cup cooked quinoa ***

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. almond extract

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats (blended into a powder)

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. allspice

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder OR 1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

(opt)1 cup dried dates

1/2-1 package chocolate chips

***Cooking quinoa:  Soak the quinoa in water for at least 15 minutes and then drain.  Bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil and then add 1 cup quinoa, stir briefly, turn to a simmer for approximately 30 minutes.  Fluff it with a fork and it’s ready for the recipe. (You will only use one cup of the cooked quinoa in this recipe, so you can use the remainder quinoa for something else, like THIS.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine quinoa, applesauce, brown sugar, and almond extract in your mixer.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, allspice.  Gradually add dry mixture to the wet mixture and then add all remaining ingredients.

Use a spoon to plop mounds on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.