Category Archives: Dessert

Quinoa Snack Bars

I ran across this recipe by Tasting Table and thought it looked great, but wasn’t gluten-free and I don’t care for dates. Googling “quinoa bar” gave me a barrage of recipes to choose from and after looking at a few (remember my “what I have on hand” and “not too many ingredients” rules) I did a mash up of 3-4 recipes I ran across. Please note that measurements are approximate, if you have a bit more or a bit less, this recipe will accommodate you.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 C almond meal or flour
  • 1 C quinoa, cooked
  • 1 C rolled oats (I use gluten free oats from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2-3/4 C nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2-3/4 C dried fruit (I love using the Golden Berry Blend from Trader Joe’s but you can use dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots or whatever you have on hand)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/3 C nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed**)
  • 1/4 C honey or maple syrup
  • 1/3-1/2 C unsweetened applesauce or banana (small or about half of a medium banana)
  • 1 egg white**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Coconut oil for greasing pan

Directions

  1. Combine all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  3. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredient mixture
  4. Combine well, mixture will be very sticky
  5. Spoon into a greased 8×8 or 9X5 loaf pan, smooth the top and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Let cool, cut into 6-8 pieces
  7. Store in the refrigerator

Notes**

  • Sunflower seed butter will give your bars a lovely green streaks due to the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds reacting with the baking soda. It doesn’t affect the taste and could be a fun addition to a St. Paddy’s day brunch.
  • You can substitute a chia egg or flax egg for the egg white. If using the chia egg, just remove the chia seeds from the dry ingredients, I found having both was a bit too much.
  • Chia egg – 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water + 15 minutes = egg substitute
  • Flax egg – 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water + 15 minutes = egg substitute. If using whole flax seeds add an additional Tbsp of water
  • Nut allergies, substitute another gluten-free flour, bean flours would be a good choice. Instead of nuts, up the amount of hemp/chia seeds and/or dried fruit. Use sunflower seed butter which usually doesn’t affect folks with nut allergies or substitute more applesauce/banana
  • Double the recipe? Use a 9×13 pan, same temperature and baking time

Cooking my crankypants off

Today was a MONDAY, one of ‘those’ Mondays. After a really busy day at work plus the heat and IMG_0699 humidity, I came home feeling sticky, cranky and crabby. I kept thinking of all the things that I should get done and it my mood turned even darker and more sour. I stood in the middle of my apartment unsure if crying or throwing something would make me feel better. Yes, I needed an intervention.

And that intervention started with a cantaloupe. A cantaloupe that needed to be cut up and refrigerated before the heat turned it into a biology experiment on my counter. Knife in hand, a deep breath and the pungent sweetness of the cantaloupe and the movement of slicing into the ripe fruit began to shift my focus. Doing a little QA (quality assurance) by eating the pieces that missed the container from the cutting board brought awareness that I was hungry. Low blood sugar=crankypants.

The last thing I wanted to do was make it any hotter by cooking but a well stocked fridge from weekend shopping yielded a Quinoa Salad on a bed of lettuce lightly tossed with basil olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Figs from Trader Joe’s along with some chevre and prosciutto filled my plate.

almondeggcollage

While giving the Quinoa Salad 30 minutes to chill  I threw together some dessert that I am bringing over to a friend’s house. Again, going with the “cooking cold” idea I was inspired by some sliced, frozen chocolate covered bananas that I had at a retreat and the Detoxinista’s Healthier Peanut Butter Eggs. I figured I was melting dark chocolate anyway, why not do double duty dipping? My adaptations to the original recipe included using raw almond butter rather than peanut butter, making them a bit smaller (yield 8 + a QA tester rather than 6 in the original recipe) and double dipped the almond butter eggs taking into the account the feedback I got from coworkers about wanting more chocolate.

End result? Had dinner, QAed the chocolate covered almond egg, successfully cooked cold, re-balanced blood sugar while doing cooking meditation, no more crankypants! Oh, bananas passed QA too.

crankypantscollage

Gluten Free Muffins

muffinsMany gluten-free baked goods can have a gritty texture, funky taste and be really expensive. For those who have looked at gluten-free baking recipes, most start with “buy these 4-5 types of flours along with xanthan or guar gum you can make your own baking mix” What they don’t tell you is finding all those flours can take up a lot of time, can be pricey and your baking mix can go rancid in 3-6 months. Personally, I like to keep it simple and pay a little more for convenience and peace of mind. Pamela’s Pancake and Baking mix was an FABULOUS suggestion from a friend who has a niece with Celiac.

I followed the recipe on the package and didn’t like the consistency and added more fruit which increased the amount of muffins and made a lovely moist muffin! This recipe is also very flexible depending on what fruit you have handy, is getting overripe, you are cleaning out your fridge/pantry or have something yummy you’d like to add. Yield: approximately 8 regular sized muffins or 12 mini-muffins depending on how many add-ins you choose to have.

Dry ingredientsingredients

  • 1 1/4 C Pamela’s mix
  • 1/4 C hemp seeds, finely chopped nuts, etc. (optional)**

Wet ingredients

  • 1/4 C water
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

Fruit

  • 1 C of fruit (bananas, applesauce-sweetened or unsweeted, pumpkin, etc.)
  • 1/2 C of mix-in fruit (blueberries, raspberries, cut up strawberries, dried fruit**)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tin(s). I don’t advise using paper muffin liners, I found I lose a lot of muffin stuck to the paper, even after it’s cooled
  2. Put your dry ingredient(s) into a bowl
  3. Add water, honey (greasing your measuring cup helps with extraction) and vanilla and mix, I like using a fork, less sticks than a whisk plus you get everything off the bottom
  4. Gently mix in the cup of fruit until well combined
  5. Fold in your “mix in” fruit to the batterbatter-spoon
  6. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, nearly to the top.
  7. Bake regular sized muffins for 18-20 minutes and minis for 12-14 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes in tin and then remove to finish cooling, this will prevent them from getting soggy.

Notes**

  • If  using dried fruit or chia seeds with your dry ingredients add an additional 1/8-1/4 C of water
  • If you are using sweetened fruit you can adjust the amount of honey
  • This recipe has no fat in it, the muffins will not brown like ones that had shortening or butter. If that is important to you I have found using a nonstick oil spray on the top of the batter will enable them to brown.

bananamashHelpful hint: Using a fork on a cutting board to mash your bananas is the quickest and easiest way I have found plus it keeps chunks of bananas relatively equal size

Timesaver: You can do a combo of regular and mini-muffins, easiest way is to put your regular muffins in the oven then fill your mini tins, by the time you are done, 5 minutes or so have passed and they can come out at the same time!