As streamlined as our system is, or will soon be, there are moments when I envy the ease with which allergy-free families can feed their hungry kids. I mean, travel is one thing, but even the snacks isle at the grocery store reminds me of the convenience factor we're missing out on. But when I look closely at the ingredients (and packaging, and prices) convenient snacks contain -- even the "healthy" ones -- I realize they're loaded with not only Kaspar allergens, but also sugar, salt and weird, processed oils. They're also a total ripoff. I even checked out a few boxes of gluten-free snack bars while at Whole Foods the other day. I was not inspired.
Well, I take that back. I was inspired to make snack bars at home, for Kaspar -- who's always down for new foods he can enjoy -- and Aaron, who's been bringing lunches to work, and buying sugar/salt/weird-ingredient-filled granola bars when what he brings still leaves his stomach rumbling for more. And for me, because hungry mama + easy, one-handed snacking = breastfeeding win. Thinking ahead! In fact, when I found this recipe via Pinterest, I was psyched; I've been reading up on milk-boosting foods, and apparently quinoa has been renowned for centuries in South America for its breastmilk-makin' properties. So cheers to a quinoa-based snack bar! (Kaspar, who's not big on quinoa taken straight, has been very happy to eat these, too; I'm all about healthy meats, and plenty of them, but it's nice to have a protein-heavy snack option that's non-meat-based, as well.)
Anyway, I modified the recipe a bit to suit our family's tastes/necessary food restrictions/love of chocolate chips. The bars turned out wonderfully; we've all been chowing down. The recipe's original author recommends using the recipe as a base, and switching up the ingredients according to what you like, too.
Here's what we put in ours:
3 cups of pre-cooked quinoa (1 cup of dry quinoa with 2 cups of water cooked for 30 minutes. I soak mine for a day in water with a few tablespoons of whey added, before cooking)
1 cup of gluten-free flour -- I used gluten-free oat flour
1/3 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup of raw hemp seeds (you can use any kind of seeds)
1/3 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of chopped dried apricots
2 TB of soft extra virgin coconut oil
2 TB of applesauce
1/2 ts. of sea salt
dash of cinnamon
2-3 TB of raw honey
3/4 - 1 cup of milk (I used raw, but you can use a non-dairy milk instead if that's your thing)
1/2 cup (thereabouts) chocolate chips (we use these)
What You'll Do:
1. Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl.
2. Spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper
3. Bake at 275 degrees F for about 50 minutes
4. Cool, slice into rectangles or squares, and serve/save/savor.