I apologize in advance for posting something ‘healthy’ and something without butter or sugar on this blog. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Can you forgive me?
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s story time.
I work a lot. Thankfully not like the 50-60 hour work weeks I had during the summer with only a handful of days off (3 jobs? Not smart). But I’m still working 30-40 hours a week. Not as bad right?
The thing is, I work in a restaurant. So my 40 hour work weeks? They’re spent standing and walking around, not sitting. I’m always on the move or standing by the door or walking through the restaurant. And now that I’m training to become a server? I’ll be walking/running around even more. I don’t mind all the physical activity – I got used to it and it makes it a little easier on me at the gym since I’m pretty active at work.
The hardest part about my job is the timing of my meals. We get fed lunch and dinner depending on the hours we work there, which is fantastic because not all restaurants do that. But the problem (for me at least, since I like to eat and I eat a lot) is that we eat dinner at 4:30. A respectably early dinner, but when I’m working until 10, 11, or midnight, it’s hard to eat a meal that early that will last me the rest of the night.
When I’m smart and remember, I’ll bring a little snack or a Luna bar or something that I can eat in a few bites quickly and then get back to work. But most of the time I forget. And then around 8 or 9 I’m starving and scarf down a few pieces of bread.
The idea of making my own granola bar started this summer, and I dreamt about it but never did anything about it. And then my favorite food blog – Jessica’s How Sweet It Is – posted a ton of quinoa recipes (quinoa sliders, quinoa for breakfast, quinoa in turkey meatballs… you get the idea), an idea formed in my head and I couldn’t shake it.
Toasted quinoa granola bars.
It sounded weird but also delicious at the same time. And it also sounded perfect in terms of a bar that has healthy and filling elements. Qunioa, oats, ground flax seed, honey, and peanut butter? Nothing wrong with that picture.
These ended up a little crispier than usual granola bars, but I liked the crunch. Some of the bars stayed together (I adjusted the cook time down below since mine were a little too crispy when they came out), and some of it turned into actual granola. I’ll definitely be making these again, so I’ll edit this when I have. Bars AND granola though? I’m not complaining.
Toasted Quinoa Granola Bars
makes a 9×13 pan
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, melted
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tbsp semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Soak the quinoa in cold water for 5-10 minutes, and then using a wire whisk, stir it around to release the saponin (a bitter coating on the quinoa). Strain the quinoa through a fine mesh sieve (or improvise -a french press works well) and set aside.
Heat up a large saute pan on the stove top at medium-low heat. Place the quinoa in the pan and spread it around so it’s evenly spread out. Use a wire whisk to push the mixture around. Stir the mixture until the water has evaporated and the quinoa starts to brown. Take it off the heat and set aside in a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, oats and flax seed. Mix together until the ingredients are well combined. Add in the honey, stirring until evenly coated. Add the peanut butter and mix the ingredients together until everything is evenly coated.
Fold in mini chocolate chips or any other mix-ins you might want to add.
Take a 9×13 baking pan and line it with parchment paper or foil. Put the granola mixture into the pan, spreading and pressing it down evenly.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the pan is golden brown.
Let cool and cut into bars.
Note: These bars could also be great no-bake bars, and I’m going to try that next time around (as well as dipping them in chocolate). Instead of baking them, just refrigerate them for 30-60 minutes so the bars firm up.
[source: a Sara original]