Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bites {Recipe Redux}

Ω August 22nd, 2014 Ω Tagged , , , , , Ω 9 Comments

Remember these?

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While these rich cookies packed with dark chocolate and tart cherries are perfect for marathon baking session the day before you get married (as a random example), they are a definite sometimes food. Yet the flavors of chocolate and cherry needn’t be confined to extravagant desserts.

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Now that I’m going back to school, my interest in portable lunches and snacks has grown faster than an inverse Rhubarb Meter. That’s why this month’s Recipe Redux theme is so awesome.

Bars & Bites for Brown Bags: Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag or a retro cartoon character lunch box, don’t forget the bars and bites. Small squares or round bites can pack nutrition into a sweet or savory taste. Show us your favorite way to jazz up any type of lunch box.

This theme pushed me to find a way to incorporate my favorite classic combination of chocolate and cherry in a nutritious bite. With an abundance of red quinoa thanks to Peter “I can only buy in bulk” THIH, I developed a easy-to-make bite that uses my favorite kitchen tool – the mini-muffin pan.

Where did that bite go?

Where did that bite go?

These protein-packed bites make a perfect finish to any lunch or a quick snack you can bring anywhere.

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Of course, I had to stack them. I could have stacked more than three, but nah. I just want you to know I could.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Bites

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (24 bites)

  • 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, ground
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Set aside and allow to cool. In a small bowl, add ground chia seeds to 3/8 cup water and stir. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine quinoa and chia seed mixture with remaining ingredients. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into cups and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Remove and allow to cool for 1 minutes before removing bites. Cool on wire racks. Place bites in airtight container and store in refrigerator.

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P.S. I’m all about the portable snacks nowadays!  Check out more bites here.


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Classic Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp

Ω August 18th, 2014 Ω Tagged , , , , , , , Ω 10 Comments

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Rhubarb is one of those foods that people either love or hate.* Pleasantly tart and sour to some, like choking down Class 8 Hazardous Materials to others, gently-cooked rhubarb often finds its way into desserts.** It’s botanically a vegetable but devoured like a fruit***; in fact, it’s so often used in pies and tarts, rhubarb is also known aspieplant.” During my China studies, I learned that rhubarb is also used to cool the body and keep things, ahem, moving.

*Although I have yet to see an “I Hate Rhubarb” site as vehement as the anti-cilantro contingent.
**I did try raw shaved rhubarb over a restaurant dessert once. It was like chewing tart celery. And I didn’t think celery could get any worse.
***”Rhubarb Identity Crisis” would make an awesome band name. Up for grabs, people.

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Typical taste buds tend to prefer a bit of sweetness to temper the tart of pieplant. This preference can be expressed by something I like to call “The Rhubarb Meter.”

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As you can see from this totally scientific graph, most sane taste buds like sweet flavors with their rhubarb. And then there’s me.

Off the charts, reader, off the charts.

Off the charts, reader, off the charts.

One of my favorite yogurt toppings is plain rhubarb stewed in a saucepan over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes. If I’m feeling a little sour, I’d add a few strawberries to the mix.

Why am I using completely legitimate free-form PowerPoint “graphs” to explain this odd preference? Because I want you, my dear reader, to understand the low sugar content of this delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp. If you’re used to sweet flavors the tartness may be a turn-off, but I promise, if you work your way to less sugar, you’ll enjoy the lightly pungent taste of rhubarb without the cloying sweetness (and the crisp will be healthier to boot).

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I somehow ended up with no pictures of this crisp served piping hot with yogurt or vanilla ice cream, so you’ll just have to imagine the beautiful deep red of rhubarb and strawberry.

And so I leave you with your mission of the week: Enjoy the taste of rhubarb!

Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

  Prep Time: 15 minutes

  Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (18 servings)

    Fruit Filling

    • 6 cups strawberries, sliced
    • 6 cups rhubarb, sliced
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons flour

    Classic Crumble Topping

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and flour. Stir gently and spoon mixture into 9″x13″ baking dish.

    In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats and brown sugar. With cold hands, use fingers to work butter into mixture until pieces are pea-sized. Crumble on top of fruit. Bake 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

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    P.S. Looking for more rhubarb recipes?

    P.P.S. Where do you fall on The Rhubarb Meter? Bonus if you can somehow turn it into a parabola.

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