Gluten Free, Quinoa Breakfast Bars
I know, I know, I'm always touting the benefits of a peaceful pace and a slower style of living. But, I'll be the first to admit that I need my advice as much as anyone! Sometimes we simply cannot escape the day to day, busy list of to dos and places to be on time. I often feel like I'm tumbling from one thing to the next and if it wasn't for my iPhone calendar chiming at me I might forget my own head!
That's why I truly try to make it a practice to be prepared. Sometimes that means taking a couple hours on Sunday afternoon to chop veggies and make a few sandwiches to freeze for the week's lunches. Yes, that really does work well! Other times it's setting time aside to do a bit of baking with my girls so we have bars, muffins or pancakes to pull from the freezer for the weekday breakfasts.
One of my favorite prepping tips is to pack the ingredients for my daily green smoothies into separate containers so all I have to do is grab one from the fridge, dump it in my blender, add water and blend away. That has been a morning game changer for my family. I can drink my green smoothie while I prep their morning meal and once they are fed, I make my English muffin.
Certain things just set me up for success. Without pre-preparation, I'm sure I'd often find myself standing staring into the pantry searching for something to eat and coming out with a less than desirable option. It still happens from time to time, especially when it's late in the evening, my defenses are down and I'll go to the trouble of concocting something sweet despite the healthy options taunting me from the fridge!
But, truly, take it from me, a recovering sweet addict and mindless eater: Setting yourself up for success by pre-prepping what you can will make for a more peaceful and healthy week.
These quinoa breakfast bars came in handy far beyond breakfasts. I used a far less healthy recipe as a template (I mean as inspiration!) and created something that the girls and I loved for mornings and mid-afternoon snacks on the way from school to ballet class or whenever we needed something slightly sweet and super satisfying.
**Please note: I marked this recipe a non-member one, but it shows many of the additional features that Members enjoy in all of their recipes. More photos to depict what batter and ingredient labels look like, additional helpful recipe notes, more eating well tips in the article and direct links to certain products I use. This is indicative of what Member's get on the recipe page.**
Breakfast on the go, at home with a cup of coffee or a mid-afternoon snack, these bars will blend seemlessly into your day. The quinoa flakes and flour make for a protein packed and filling eating experience while the blend of other flours keep the dough a little lighter and slightly moist. Have fun with this one creating different variations. Me? I go for the chocolate chips almost every time!
- 1 cup brown rice flour (I have also used sorghum flour, which I am coming to prefer over rice flours lately)
- ½ cup Quinoa Flour*
- 1 cup Quinoa flakes**
- ½ cup potato starch or arrowroot flour (which I often prefer but it's a little harder to find)
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum***
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt (I prefer unprocessed Celtic Sea or Pink Himalayan)
- 1 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar, preferably organic)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 large eggs or flax eggs (per egg: 1 tablespoon milled flax plus 3 tablespoons warm water. Stir and let sit a few minutes)
- ⅔ cup oil (I prefer coconut oil)****
- Your choice of add-ins! Appx. ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped pieces, chopped walnuts, dried fruit or fresh or frozen bluberries
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 11x9-inch baking pan with lightly greased parchment.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (brown rice flour through sugar).
- Blend oil (see note on oil), maple syrup and vanilla extract in a large measuring cup.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon until you get a sticky batter.
- Add beaten eggs or flax eggs to the batter and combine well. The dough should be thick and rather sticky. Work in your optional ingredient(s) (chocolate, nuts or fruit).
- Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of warm water, only as needed to achieve a dough that sticks together when you pinch it- sorta like cookie dough.
- Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan, if necessary, use wet hands to smooth the surface evenly.
- Place the pan into the center of a pre-heated oven and bake until golden and set - about 22 to 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the center if firm. Insert a thin knife to check if you are unsure to make certain the center has baked thoroughly.
- Cool on a wire rack. Using a thin sharp knife, cut into squares; enjoy! With any extras, store in a freezer storage bag or container in freezer. I recommend waxed or parchment paper between layers. Delicious slightly chilled.
*As you may have seen in past recipes, I love using quinoa flour because of it's protein. In my opinion it needs to be combined with others because of it's earthy (some also call it 'strange') flavor. It's also a little pricey so I sometimes make my own by simply putting uncooked quinoa in my food processor and processing it until it forms a fine flour. Easy and cheaper!
Here's one kind of quinoa flour I like when I do buy it: Buy it here.
**Quinoa flakes are just that, flakes made with quinoa (and nothing else). You can often find them in the natural foods section of a grocery store, most definitely at a health food store or here (I buy this brand): Buy it here: Ancient Grains
****When baking with coconut oil, you must melt it first (since it's a solid at room temperature). Your other ingredients such as eggs and syrup in this recipe, should be at room temperature so that the oil will not start turning to a solid when mixed in with those other wet ingredients.