Apple & Papaya Quinoa Bites

Since my now 1 year old daughter started feeding herself, I’ve been on the lookout for easy snack recipes I could cook for her but that I’d also find tasty.  My preference is to have some type of protein in both of our snacks, as otherwise I don’t find they have much staying power.  Quinoa has the protein and also seems to satisfy the toddler craving for grain products (what is is with toddlers and their undying love of bread, cheese and yogurt??)

After finding a recipe for Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Bites, I decided to attempt swapping some of the ingredients out to make a healthier version that still tasted good.  I usually don’t mind some refined sugar in my snacks but I wanted to see if I could eliminate it for my daughter.

If you’re looking for a quick, tasty, healthy, protein filled snack with no refined sugar, these are great for adults and kids.  I’ve eaten several before heading to the gym!

Apple & Papaya Quinoa Bites

Adapted from And They Cooked Happily Ever After

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • To make this you’ll need 1/4 cup dry quinoa and 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup quick cook oats (can be substituted with 1 cup cooked quinoa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons applesauce (I used my homemade applesauce with no sugar added)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (ok … it is sugar but it’s from trees so that’s better than refined? right?)
  • 1 cup chopped fruit (pick whatever you like! I chose papaya)
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 350F
  2. First you’ll have to cook the quinoa.  I add the quinoa and water to a pot, turn it to high, and when it’s boiling I’ll add a lid and turn it to low. It’ll take about 10-15 min to fully cook.

    As a side, it drives me nuts that most recipes call for cooked quinoa.  I always have dry quinoa on hand but rarely cooked.  I did some research, tested my findings, and found that the ratio of dry quinoa to cooked quinoa is 1:4.  Further, to cook the quinoa you need a ratio of 1:2, dry quinoa to water.
  3. I generally dislike dirtying more bowls than necessary so I added all the ingredients to a big bowl and mixed them together.
  4. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and add ~1 tablespoon of the mixture to each cup.  I found this filled all 24 cups in my muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 15-20 min.
  6. These are great warm or cold.  They also freeze well, just be sure you leave them out to defrost as microwaving till they’re hot seems to make them crumbly.

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If anyone has any other great snack recipes I’d love to hear!

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Toasted greek quinoa salad

Lately I’ve been on a mission to eat healthier.  I live a pretty active lifestyle and I didn’t think my diet was cutting it.  So I  decided to play around with some new stuff from the “health food” aisle.  I had heard a few people mention quinoa and was interested in giving it a try.  The nice thing about quinoa is that while it is grain-like in it’s appearance and cooking style , it’s also a complete protein.

I found a recipe for toasted quinoa salad that had a southwestern flair to it but unfortunately I had none of the ingredients it asked for other than the quinoa so I improvised a little and wound up with a greek salad instead.  It was so good I actually started eating it for breakfast and lunch.  I may have even banned my husband from touching my stash.  So here’s the recipe I used in case anyone is interested in giving it a try!

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 3/4 cup water

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup diced feta cheese

~6-8 kalamata olives pitted and chopped

4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

All the ingredients minus the red onion - I used what I had left!

Preparation:

1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water and then toast the grains in a pot on medium-ish heat until they are dry and turn a little darker brown than they were originally.  I kept comparing them to the untoasted grains that were leftover in the packet for comparison.

2.  Once the grains are toasted add the water to the quinoa, bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cover.

3.  Meanwhile, you’ll probably want to start chopping the other ingredients.  To be honest I didn’t really measure what I put in so I’ve guesstimated the amounts.  You can always add more or less of each ingredient depending on your tastes.

4.  The quinoa will probably take ~15 min to cook.  Don’t wait until it’s mushy – that’s too long!  I started checking it after ~10 min and took it off the stove when I was happy with the “done-ness”.

5.  Transfer the cooked quinoa to a big bowl and add in all the other ingredients.  Stir.  Start off with adding less of each ingredient because you can always add more if you’d like.  Taking things out once you realize you put in too much is very hard!

6.  In a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Drizzle this over your salad.  Add a little bit at a time and taste as you go.  Again it’s easier to add more than to realize you put in too much!  If you like more dressing, you can always make more using 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

Enjoy!

All that's left of my big batch, and now I'm going to eat it!