|Quinoa Granola Bars|
I have always thrived on organization and schedules, but in spite of that, I was still overwhelmed with the prospect of returning to work after maternity leave. Now that I’m a few weeks in, it feels a lot more manageable, although that’s not to say it isn’t a challenge! When I get home in the evenings, I am dedicated to enjoying those precious hours with Brecken and Ryan. I’m not interested in spending excessive amount of time cooking or cleaning or doing anything else “household” related.
In order to keep my evenings as open as possible, I’m trying to be diligent about being productive on the weekends during naptime. These quinoa bars are the perfect thing to make a batch of, package individually, and then freeze. When I’m making my lunch in the evenings, I simply grab one and throw it in my bag without giving it a second thought. (Here’s where you could argue I could just buy granola bars…)
There are quite a few granola bars that you’ll find on The Sweets Life, and almost all of them start with an oatmeal base. The quinoa used here was a refreshing change of texture while still offering plenty of nutrition. Like many granola bar recipes, many of the ingredients are interchangeable—use your favorite dried fruits and nuts to custom make something to suit your tastes!
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adapted from Food Republic
-2 cups quinoa
-1 cup raw cashews, chopped
-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
-1/3 cup ground flax seeds
-1/3 cup chia seeds
-3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-2 tbsp coconut oil
-2 tbsp peanut butter
-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
-2/3 cup maple syrup
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Add the quinoa flakes, cashews, and sunflower seeds and toast for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Allow to cool slightly and pour into a large bowl. Add the flax seeds, chia seeds, dried apricots, and chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add peanut butter, applesauce, and maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes before stirring in vanilla and sea salt. Pour mixture into bowl with other ingredients and stir to coat well.
4. Press mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool before refrigerating until firm. Cut into desired shapes.