Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

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Well, oopsie. It’s almost been a month since I blogged. What can I say? Summer really took over. Now, it’s coming to a close. My boys go back to school next week ( 😦 ). I’ve so enjoyed my extra time with them, where the days started and ended later, we ate our weight in ice cream, and we did what we wanted. Times are a-changin’! It’s back to the grind. It’s going to be a rude awakening next week, when I’ll be forced to wake them up. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. That “my baby is now going to Kindergarten” bridge will also have to be dealt with. I’m not emotionally prepared to deal with that at this time.

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Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. 😀

I found a recipe for Quinoa Granola Bars and tweaked them a little.

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These were so good! The oats made them chewy and the quinoa made them crunchy. The dried fruit made them subtly sweet and the chocolate coating just made them. Chocolate coating makes almost everything. Ask anybody.

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You can leave the chocolate coating off, if needed. I can barely come up with a situation where a chocolate coating would not be needed. But, know that option exists.

Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

Recipe adapted from: Superhealthykids.com

1 C uncooked quinoa

1 C oats

1/2 C coconut

1 1/2 C combination of nuts and dried fruit (I used a 1/2 each of cranberries, golden raisins, and sliced almonds)

1/4 t salt

1/2 C peanut butter

3/4 C honey

1 T  oil (I used coconut)

3 T brown sugar

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 C chocolate chips

1 t oil (I used coconut)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.  Spread the oats and quinoa on a cookie sheet and toast in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Pour the quinoa and oats mixture into a large bowl and add coconut, nuts, and dried fruit. Mix together. In a medium saucepan, combine salt, peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and immediately remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Pour over oats mixture and combine until dry ingredients are evenly coated. Pour into baking dish. Press mixture down into pan. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes.

To make the chocolate, mix the chocolate chips and oil together in a bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until melted. Spread over the top of the bars and let them cool/dry.

Cut and serve.

These are a teeny bit crumbly, but are delicious for snacks (after school, maybe? mid-morning? you decide). You could also individually wrap the slices and freeze and pop into a lunchbox.

Enjoy!

Kristin

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You DONUT want to miss this VPK School Lunch!

Tomorrow marks the first day back to school from Spring Break (cue crying/sniffling/and-also-joyful-whoops). We had a great break – we visited family several hours away, my oldest BFF came up from Miami for an awesome visit, our playgroup went on a train ride and took our kids to a fancy breakfast which was a disaster (but my cheese grits and fried green tomatoes were worth it), we went to a concert in the park, we ate overpriced froyo, and we got sick. All of us. My boys had fevers and one had a horrible ear infection. I lost my voice (happiest day of their little lives). But we survived. And to simultaneously celebrate the first day back in school and mourn the loss of Spring Break, I made a fun donut lunch.

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I made a donut (doughnut, also being a perfectly acceptable way of spelling it) shaped PB & berry cream cheese sandwich. I cut the large circle shape using a mug and the little hole using a medicine cup (which I had readily available). I used a teeny bit of red spray, and then a teeny bit of pink sparkly icing to keep the confetti sprinkles from falling off. I also packed gold raisins (as my Biggie calls them), a date, grapes, pineapple, goldfish crackers, and a teeny homemade donut for dessert.

I made the donuts last week.

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These little suckers are SO good. I have made them many times before and they are always a hit.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/04/mini-devils-food-donuts/

And for the icing:

2 C powdered sugar

2 T milk (I used cashew milk)

1 t vanilla (optional)

1 t almond extract (optional)

food coloring, if desired

sprinkles, if desired (and why wouldn’t they be)

Mix the first five ingredients together. Frost the cooled donuts and decorate with sprinkles.

Get it girl. Or boy.

Kristin

A Book Fair & Two Bitty Lunches

Books. Real live books. The crisp pages. The smell. The rows and rows of newly stacked adventures, waiting to be read. I love books! I am SO thankful that has passed down to my boys. They love books too. We love checking books out at the library and buying books too. This week, at my boys’ school, the Scholastic Book Fair is in town. That was my FAVORITE week growing up. I still have all my old books. Such treasures. I bought the boys some books for Christmas (while they weren’t looking) and we let them each pick out a book tonight. Bigs picked a book called, Creepy Carrots and Smalls picked out a book about a school bus (about which he’s obsessed). Such fun!

Here are their lunches for tomorrow – Smalls:

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I packed a PB&J, cut into four squares. He’s also got some animal crackers, golden raisins, and a banana. I’d been packing him grapes for weeks now, just to open his lunchbox at the end of the day to find them still there. #Imslow #nomoregrapes

For my Bigs:

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Bigs also has a PB&J, cut into four squares. I also packed pretzels, green grapes, an organic yogurt squeezy thing, and a Halloween cookie.

Blessings to you!

Kristin

Simple Syrup & a Halloween Lunch

I’m going to tell you a bedtime story.

Today has been a pretty good day. Which is weird, considering the amount of things that were a little “off”. It started well enough. My Bigs and Smalls slept in (passed 7 woo-hoo!), I had dinner cooking in the crock pot by 8 a.m., Bigs went into school without a hitch. Then things started going wonky. My Smalls and I were meeting a friend and her littles at Walmart (because Walmart is better in pairs – strength in numbers, people!). At Walmart, I bought baking supplies for my upcoming bake-off. And since I only had a stroller with me (because…Walmart carts), my bags were flying all over the place. My 4 pound bag of sugar fell out of its Wally bag and landed with a thump on the floor. A nice construction worker, who was walking by, picked it up for me. I didn’t think twice about the incident. My friend and I said our goodbyes. Once in the car, I reached over to get my Smalls a snack, with the sugar bag IN the Wally bag in my hand, and felt some sugar pour, ever so gently, on my lap. I lifted the Wally bag, only to find that, indeed, my 4 pound bag of sugar had opened and the darn Wally bag had a hole in it. My lap and entire front seat (passenger side included) was covered in sugar. We high tailed it to a gas station to use their vacuum. I only had four quarters and a prayer. The machine (only accepting quarters) was $1.50. We went to another station, only to find that it cost $1.25. We drove home, a city away. By that time, my sweaty self had managed to make a simple syrup with all that sugar in my lap. I’m not even stretching the truth at all. I could have made you a Mint Julep if I’d had the mint. Anyways, when we finally arrived at home, I used my husband’s shop vacuum, which spewed whatever was in it all over me. Natch. During my cleaning, I found a quarter. Of course. And once inside, I found that I already had sugar. Soooo….that all happened.

But you know what? Through all that it was still a good day. I was able to laugh at my day, because it WAS quite comical. Life is messy. So was my day. But it was still good. I had more positives than negatives. Dinner was ready. The kids had a good time at Wally World. Bigs had a great day in school. I had great fun with my friend. It was all good. Sometimes, you just have to focus on the good. I have extra sugar now. My truck is cleaner than it was. It still has baby flipflops and a million umbrellas (and probably some sugar granules), but it’s [mostly] clean (on the inside, anyways). And, I went on a very sweaty and messy, but sweet, adventure. Isn’t that life? One big, (sweaty, for me) messy adventure?

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This picture doesn’t even do the amount of sugar justice. It was bad all over the place.

It’s aiight. I’m a big girl and I managed. Tomorrow’s a new day!

Here is my Bigs’ lunch for tomorrow:

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He’s got a ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich, pretzels, golden raisins, pineapples and green grapes, and for dessert, pitted dates (or cockroaches, if you want to go that route), and orange and black chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

Here’s to another great day tomorrow, but maybe with a little less adventure? 😉

Blessings!

Kristin