06 March, 2011

Quinoa Granola Bars

I want to sing an ode to my grandfather who came over to Dubai from Germany to spend two weeks with me, my husband and his great-grandchildren.
My granddad is 85 years old. He can handle computers, mobile phones and digital cameras. He runs a little delivery service company in his small town and has six people employed to it. We email regularly. His latest plan is to set up Skype so we can speak more often and see each other.
He is very proud that he is still so switched on. While he was here, we had many conversations about our takes on life. He surely had a life full of experiences, good and bad. Bottom line in his life has been to always look forward, always learn from his mistakes, always look at the bright side of life, always make the most of any situation, always be positive, never give up, and never lose curiosity. And he always knows to tell a joke, corny ones, but a joke nevertheless.
The reason for my granddad's longevity lies in his active interest in life, his energy and his hunger for adventure. I want to be like him when I am 85, which is another 50 years from now on. I can't even grasp that.
My granddad survived WW2, and a 3-year imprisonment in Russia after the war. This still haunts him in his dreams. He lived in East Germany for 40 years, before the wall came down. Nutrition and knowledge about nutrition was not on the agenda in all those years, as one had to eat whatever was available. Surely, nutrition and lifestyle can prolong someone's life. But my granddad proves that there is more it. It's all in the head, in the mind and in the heart. Let's not become complacent, ignorant and lazy. There is always something to learn that will broaden our horizons.
Nutritious and healthy food shall help us keep our senses alert. The basics can be covered by that. The rest is yet another step that everyone of us should go to live our lives to the fullest. Opa, I am sure you will live 100 years!!

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QUINOA GRANOLA BARS
 inspired by Food and Whine


1 cup rolled oats
1/4 uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup nuts (almonds, pecans and/or hazelnuts have been tested and approved)
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup cranberries
1/3 cup prunes
2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Yields 12-15
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Preheat oven to 160C/325F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients except bananas in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped and stick together. Add mashed banana and pulse again until well incorporated.
Use the prepared baking sheet as surface and fill large cookie cutters with the batter. Gently remove the cutter to keep the bars in shape. Repeat until all batter is used up.
Bake 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.



32 comments:

  1. Great anecdotal lead Anja! When I grow up, I too want to be like your grandpa!

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  2. The bars are great but the best part of todays post is ur grandpa's experiences. Thanks to you and him for motivating us to live life with a positive and happy note. Enjoy your vacation with family and make the most of these days... !

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  3. Wow, great story. these bars are so good! I make a similar version I found on the web somewhere. Perfect snack.

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  4. ja, unser opa!!!

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  5. I just made these, and they taste great! I used currants instead of raisin and opted out the cranberries ( I'm not a fan of them ) and used a mix of almonds and pecans.
    Thanks for the post, these are sure to be a hit with the rest of the family :)
    -Anne

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  6. I'm on an energy bar search. I like the looks of these ones! Hopefully I'll get to try them soon.

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  7. Your training season may be winding down, but my biking season should be starting soon (ok, maybe in 2 months). I will bookmark these so I can make them once I start long-distance cycling again. :)

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  8. just curious,
    do you propose these would freeze well?
    And also, I was considering replacing the bananas for applesauce next time around, but I'm worried it might change the consistency too much and the bars work stick together well.
    -Anne

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  9. Thank you for telling your grandfather's story. It is very inspirational to me. It is always comforting and exciting to hear of older people living life so well! I'll bookmark it to read again and again!

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  10. @ Anne
    I admit I am not a very experienced freezer. I hardly every freeze stuff. Give it a try and let us know if it worked.
    As for the applesauce, I can imagine it would work too.

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  11. Love the story of your grandfather and love that you appreciate him so much! This sounds like a delicious, healthy bar! I can't wait to try it!! I love quinoa!!

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  12. Great Recipe, Anja! One question: Do you rinse the quinoa first?

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  13. These bars really look amazing!

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  14. One question:

    You think I can replace the bananas for an apple or apple sauce? I don't like the taste of bananas.

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  15. I've never tried quinoa before, but as soon as I get some I'll be sure to try these! YUM!

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  16. I did end up freezing a few of these bars and then thawed one overnight, it thawed great and tasted the exact same as the non-frozen bars :)
    As for the applesauce, I have yet to try it out.

    -Anne.

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  17. @ Daphne
    I hear that quinoa should be rinsed first. As I am usually in a hurry, I forget these little details. and I didn't rinse it. Won't do harm to do it though I guess.

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  18. Your blog is beautiful and this recipe is awesome! Bookmarked to make!

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  19. I made these a second time but with applesauce instead of the bananas and I used almonds for the nuts and 1/3 cup sunflower seeds in place of both the raisins and cranberries but I used 2/3 cup prunes. I can't say exactly how much applesauce I used because I didn't measure... I just kept adding little by little until it looked moist enough, and they turned out great!
    I really enjoy the hint of apple in them as opposed to the banana in my first batch. Once again thanks for the great recipe Anja!
    -Anne.

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  20. I just made these, using almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, raisins, and dried apples. They have good flavor, especially with a thin layer of peanut butter on top. However, mine only made 5 deck-of-cards-sized bars! And they came out a weird texture in-between chewy and crunchy. Are they supposed to be crunchy? I'm wondering if I did something wrong somehow.

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  21. Hi Lauren,
    mine weren't particularly crunchy, apart from the nuts and quinoa. I think it depends on how thin you prepare them before they go into the oven: the thinner the crispier. I made made with about half an inch thickness.

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  22. Hi, would you recommend these as recovery bars or energy bars? I thought Quinoa had high protein levels (hence why I'm wondering if I could use these as recovery bars)?

    Look fab, can't wait to make!

    Many thanks

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  23. @ Anonymous
    I think these would work well as both. Protein definitely is needed for quick muscle recovery, along with quickly available carbs. These bars provide both.

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  24. Anja, I made these bars today (in the shape of hearts, of course!) and I love how they turned out. So few ingredients, and all whole foods. Love that :) I'll be making these again for sure.

    Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful person, you are lucky to have each other :)

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  25. @Andrea

    good idea to make them in heart shapes. My kids showed a big interest in my granola bars recently. Heart shapes would be fun for them.

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  26. Do you know approx. how many calories these are?

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  27. Be sure to rinse the uncooked quinoa first.

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  28. I am always excited to find a new recipe for quinoa. I made these into car shaped bars for my boys and they loved them! I feature this (linked back to you of course!) on my What's for Snack post, along with the other homemade snacks we have been having lately:
    http://chrystal-lewis.blogspot.com/2012/10/whats-for-snack.html

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  29. I enjoyed reading this post so much! and great recipe too! glad i found your blog!

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  30. This recipe looks gorgeous, but I love that I found your story too. It makes me think of my Oma and Opa who are both in heaven now but not only survived the war (My Opa, also was captured) but went on to live very long and healthy lives. They are a huge inspiration to me and your story about your Opa was a great reminder! Thanks!

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  31. I really like your breakfast oatmeal bars and I wanted to try these as well, but I don't have a food processor. Is there a way I could make these without a food processor? Alternatively, could I sub some quinoa for oats in the breakfast oatmeal bar recipe? Thanks!

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