Quinoa Granola Bars with Dried Fruit & Chocolate

wpid-wp-1439841631644.jpg

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 ( ūüė¶ ). 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.

wpid-wp-1439841634047.jpg

Moving on to what makes me comfortable – food. ūüėÄ

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

wpid-wp-1439841636940.jpg

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.

wpid-wp-1439841639633.jpg

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 Р18 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

wpid-wp-1439841642463.jpg

Advertisements

Circus Week – “Magic Bunny” VPK School Lunch

I feel like circuses have magic shows. Do they? Like, with a magician in a tux, pulling a rabbit out of a top hat?

I might be stretching it a little. I only have so many circus-themed cutters.

wpid-wp-1431550684813.jpeg

I made a magical bunny shaped PB&J and added details for his ears (very instrumental to his magic show), eye, ad nose. I also packed a few banana chips, a few TJ’s organic PB sandwich crackers, two dried dates, an aprium, colby jack cheese, a Tim Tam (thank you Australia!!!), and a homemade granola bar.

And for my Smalls:

wpid-wp-1431550688314.jpeg

I packed half a PB&J, trail mix, an aprium, TJ’s PB crackers, colby jack cheese, and a cotton candy Oreo. He’s got a granola bar for snack.

I made the granola bars for Teacher Appreciation Week a few weeks back. They were¬†delicious!! I thought I’d make them again for my own family.

wpid-wp-1431550695005.jpeg

They were super easy to put together…

wpid-wp-1431550698520.jpeg

…and had ingredients I both had on hand and could pronounce.

wpid-wp-1431550701114.jpeg

AND they are easy to individually package and freeze!

http://happymoneysaver.com/no-bake-homemade-chewy-granola-bars/

A hint – if you are out of honey, as this recipe requires a LOT, you can use corn syrup as a sub. I don’t love using that, but I do keep it on hand for some recipes.

Do it!

Kristin

I <3 Nutella VPK School Lunch

Because we ALL deserve Nutella….

wpid-photogrid_1427234700749.jpg

It’s a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich, cut into quarters, decorated with a heart (obvi dedicated to the Beautiful Nutella). I also packed a mandarin orange, some Goldfish crackers, and a some baby M&M’s for dessert.

Word to ya Mother.

Kristin

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.

wpid-photogrid_1427150045055.jpg

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.

wpid-photogrid_1427150110021.jpg

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

Crepe VPK & Mom’s Morning Out Lunches

When I was in high school, I went to France with my parents. While I appreciated it as much as any snotty-nosed punk high school girl who was away from her boyfriend would (aka not as much as I would now), it was an amazing trip. I saw priceless art that I may never have the opportunity to see again, I stood in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, I saw king’s castles, I did loads of shopping (I brought back clothes that wouldn’t even be in style in the States for over six months – sure, many of my classmates laughed at the styles then, but they appreciated it later), I went to a high fashion show, and I ate. Lots of good food, including many delicious crepes – some filled with ham, broccoli, and cheese, and some with Nutella and raspberries. All of them delicious, wrapped up in a cone shape, still steaming in the Paris air.

When I found a crepe recipe in my 100 Days of Real Food cookbook, it brought me back to that fab trip to Paris. While I had never made a crepe before, I thought it would be “similar” to pancakes. Boy, was I “wrong” (I feel like Joey on Friends, using his air quotes incorrectly). After many tries, I was able to make 3¬†decent crepes that would suffice for my boys’ school lunches (the recipe makes 16-18 thin crepes). Practice makes perfect, right?

wpid-photogrid_1426109441825.jpg

For my Bigs, I packed two crepes, some maple syrup, and some raspberry jam for dipping. I also packed a mandarin orange, blueberries, a few cinnamon apple sticks from Trader Joe’s, and a yogurt squeeze.

wpid-photogrid_1426109511779.jpg

My Smalls requested peanut butter for dipping, so I packed that and one crepe. I also packed blueberries (he likes those now), raisins, and a few cinnamon apple straws. He will have peanuts and applesauce for snack.

Here is the link to the recipe. I added almond extract.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/08/16/recipe-crepes-for-breakfast-or-dessert/

Au revoir,

Kristin

Thursday Lunches

In continuing with Pond Week, I made another turtle lunch for my Bigs. I like how this one came out better than the other.

wpid-photogrid_1424903727069.jpg

This little guy has a bit more personality. It’s a PB&J. I also packed honey wheat pretzels, assorted raisins, one date, strawberries, an organic yogurt squeeze, and a homemade dark red velvet cookie. It was big so I cut it in half. I also stuck a few turtle sprinkles on it. Because, sprinkles.

For my Smalls:

wpid-photogrid_1424903790397.jpg

He requested pancakes this time, so I made three little PB sandwiches. Under one of those is a red velvet cookie. I also packed a few purple carrots, honey wheat pretzels, grapes, a few raisins, and one date.

And since I’ll be Co-op parent tomorrow, I made a lunch for me too:

wpid-photogrid_1424903836197.jpg

I packed purple carrot slices, beet hummus, plain hummus, raisins, strawberries, nuts, dates, and some plain Greek yogurt, mixed with a little bit of maple sizzurp.

Happy (almost) Friday Eve,

Kristin

Community Helper Themed Lunches – Part I

This week began the Community Helpers study for my Bigs. During the next few weeks, the students will take a deeper look into the occupations that do great and helpful things in our community – doctors and nurses, dentists, police, fire, mail and pizza delivery (LOVE that pizza delivery falls into “community helper” status #ourschoolforthewin), etc.

First up this week – Dentist!

wpid-photogrid_1421797655148.jpg

I made a peanut butter and jelly tooth. Yes, that’s right. A tooth. While I realize my free-hand cutting skillz require some work and leave quite a bit to be desired, I’m hopeful that my Bigs’ precious and sharp teacher was able to decipher what this thing was, when he inevitably would ask. I drew a toothbrush with toothpaste on it out of an index card, just for fun. I also packed raisins, Trader Joe’s honey wheat pretzels, half a mandarin orange, and apple smiles for dessert. For the apple smiles, I cut apple slices (used some mandarin orange juice on them to prevent browning), pat them dry, added peanut butter to the insides, and marshmallows for teeth. I think he loved it. I’ve done it before and it’s been a raging success. I also used my favorite lunchbox accoutrement – my toothpicks tooth picks. So fun!

And for Doctor Day:

wpid-photogrid_1421877350915.jpg

This is where you’ll find further evidence of my crapola drawing skillz. In hindsight, I maybe should have written, “ER” or something more legible. But hey, Bigs can’t read all that well, so for once, that’s in my favor. Here you have yet another PB&J, but this time, it’s shaped as a doctor’s office (squint, then you’ll see). I’ve also packed honey wheat pretzels, raisins, strawberries, blueberries, and a Campfire Cookie.

My Smalls will also be in school today. Here is his little lunch:

wpid-photogrid_1421877617027.jpg

PB&J, raisins, Campfire Cookie, pretzels, and strawberries (he’s on a no blueberry kick).

Happy Thursday,

Kristin