Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tropical Quinoa Granola

I'm jumping on the quinoa bandwagon. I've learned that it is a complete source of protein, which is great b/c I'm going to need to start packing Parker a lunch for school starting on Monday and aside from peanut butter (in a sandwich), nuts, and a hard boiled egg I'm not sure what else I can give him. He's not huge on lunch meat so that's pretty much out. Enter quinoa...I've read how versatile it is. It can be put into salads,  desserts, and pancakes/waffles, not just made as a side dish.

I decided to run to Costco with the kids this morning to pick up a few things. I walked by the bag of quinoa that I've walked by dozens of times before and was too intimidated to try. I decided to go for it! I turned to Pinterest and found a few recipes I want to try, but nothing really that would work for Parker b/c they were all side dishes. But then I saw it...granola made with quinoa! I've made granola before. The kids and I were on a granola kick back in the summer! We ate it for our snack by itself or used it to top off greek yogurt. So I just used the same recipe (tweaked a bit since this was an impromptu decision to make and I didn't have all of my "normal" ingredients) I used before and just added the easy and my house smells so good!!! You HAVE to try it!!!

Gather it:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (instruction on how to cook way below in case you need it)
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup of shredded coconut (I LOVE coconut!)
1/2 cup of cashews, roughly chopped (also a new additions, I normally use pecan halves)
2 tsp of vanilla
4 big shakes of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of honey (I also LOVE honey and prefer a sweeter granola)
1 Tbsp of flaxseed (this is a new addition, hubby bought some for a power bar he made so I figured I'd use some too)
1 cup of dried mango, diced small (I used to use craisins, but I'm out and I just bought dried mangoes for the kids while we shopped to keep them quiet)

Make it:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Add all ingredients except for dried mangoes into a large bowl and toss together. I prefer not to add the mangoes until later b/c I learned when using craisins that dried fruit can get extra chewy. My young kids have a harder time chewing it.

FYI: I diced the mangoes and combined all the ingredients while cooking and cooling the quinoa so it saved some time.

3. Pour mixture unto parchment paper and spread out evenly. Bake for 40 minutes, tossing every 8-10 minutes to evenly brown it.

Allow to cool and either eat it by itself, eaten as a cereal, or top yogurt with it. Or in my case: abandon half eaten lunch, grab a pineapple Chobani Greek yogurt, top with piping hot granola, and burn the roof of my mouth with its delicious goodness! The tropical flavors: pineapple, coconut, mangoes, and cashews was absolutely perfect!

How to cook quinoa: boil 1 cup of water.  Add 1/2 cup of quinoa after it boils, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and fluff quinoa. Replace lid and allow to "steam" in covered pot for an additional 10 min to allow quinoa to puff up and soak up remaining liquid. Allow to cool completely. Tip: after allow to puff up, pour quinoa into a plate and spread it out. Toss it every few minutes. This will allow it to cool faster.

here's what it looked like before I put it on the baking sheet

the kids couldn't stand smelling the delicious they watched it for a bit. Sadly they went down for a nap before it was ready.

enjoying their afternoon snack: yogurt and granola! The first thing Parker said when he woke up was: "Gah-ola ready? I eat it?"

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