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Pumpkin Quinoa Snack Bars

Posted Sep 03 2012 12:00am
Last week, I stood on the scale for the first time in a really long time.

I was very unhappy afterwards.

I have reached my "scary weight" again, for the first time in nearly four years.

I was instantly furious with myself.  How could I let this happen again?  I am such a hypocrite!  I preach healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle on my blog, and then I go off to Taco Bell on a whim and stop working out completely?

To be fair, I did severely injure my back a few months ago.  And I don't go to Taco Bell all the time.  But I have to stop kidding myself.  Long story short, I am not living a healthy life.  And the scale (as well as the way I feel) are the undeniable proof of that.

I looked at the scale.  I got angry.  Then I got really angry.  I went up to the Sous Chef and said, out loud, so I couldn't hide it anymore, "I weigh [insert scary weight] pounds."  Within the span of two seconds, the following expressions crossed Sous Chef's face
1.  Surprise - I'm glad he was at least surprised
2.  Anxiety - He was worried that I was going to start beating myself up about it - and he was right.
3.  Determination - Right then and there he switched his brain from "I don't care what I eat this summer" to "We are going to conquer this.  Hoo-rah."

I, too, decided to do something about it (in between moments of psychic self-flagellation).  First, we went to the gym.  Next, the Sous Chef and I sat down and came up with a healthy meal plan for the week (something we hadn't done in almost two months), including snacks to get us through the in-between meal Danger Zones.

One snack that I'm really excited about are these Pumpkin Quinoa Snack Bars.  Fall is my flavorite time of year, with the smells of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and such scenting the crisp, cool air.

Apples, pumpkins, Halloween, falling leaves, long sleeves and pants, Thanksgiving, fireplaces, seeing your breath at night…egads, I love it!

I found a recipe online and went Fall throttle on it, tweaking it here and there to give it an Autumnal taste.  I replaced applesauce and mashed banana with pureed pumpkin.  I added a whole bunch more spices.  Oh, it smelled like Fall in my kitchen!  I shoved the bowl in Sous Chef's face to prove it to him.

Here's to Fall.

Pumpkin Quinoa Snack Bars
(Adapted from Vanilla & Spice .  Makes 6 bars, approx. 138 calories each)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup Silk PureAlmond unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 cup rolled cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds, plus more for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp pepitas (pumpkin seeds), plus more for garnish
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Use cooking spray to grease an 8x8-inch metal baking dish.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

3.  In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin, molasses, vanilla, and almond milk.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.

4.  Fold in the quinoa, rolled oats, almonds, and pepitas.

5.  Use your hands to press the mixture evenly into the greased pan.  Sprinkle the top with more almonds and pepitas, and gently press them down with your palms.

6.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. After it has cooled, cut it into bars.

Eat well.
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