Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Granola Bars

Gluten Free Granola Bars
I love granola bars, but not many are gluten free, and the ones that are cost way too much! I love the idea of making your own. You can customise the add ins to suit your tastes or allergies. It's also much easier to avoid the added preservatives that are in most store bought granola bars. As always, make sure your oats are wheat free!

This recipe is adapted from the Looneyspoons cookbook by Janet and Greta Podleski.

makes 15-20 bars

2 1/2 cups GF Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup Chopped Nuts or Seeds (Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, etc)
1/2 cup Dried Fruit (Craisins, Apricots, Raisins, Blueberries, etc)
1/3 cup Oat Flour (grind GF oats in coffee grinder)
1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
1 tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree (canned or home made) (or 3/4 cup mashed bananas)
1/2 cup Liquid Honey
1/4 cup Canola Oil, Melted Butter/Margarine, or Melted Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Stir together dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, mix together pumpkin puree (or banana), honey, oil and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well.
Line 9x13 baking dish (or baking pan) with parchment paper and pour in mixture. Press evenly into pan.
Bake at 350 for about 25 mins (until top begins to brown).
Let cool in pan, then transfer to cutting board and cut into granola bar shapes.
Wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze.

Note: For nut free (and school friendly) granola bars, use sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds only. For the granola bars pictured, I used 1 bag of Enjoy Life Not Nuts seed and fruit mix in place of the nuts and dried fruit.

Dry ingredients

Granola Bar Mixture
Press mixture into baking pan
Bake until golden brown 
Let cool and cut into granola bar shapes

Great for snacks or lunch on the go!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Enjoy Life Not Nuts Seed and Fruit Mix Review

ELF not nuts Seed and Fruit Mix

A little while ago I received 2 bags of the not nuts seed and fruit mix from Enjoy Life Foods to review. As always with Enjoy Life products, this seed and fruit mix is free of the most common allergens, including wheat/gluten. I had the opportunity to test the Beach Bash flavour (with sunflower kernels, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and apricots) as well as the Mountain Mambo variety (containing sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips and cranberries).

Although I am able to eat nuts, many people have a very serious nut allergy, and it's nice to see Enjoy Life Foods providing nut alternatives. Because nut allergies are so prevalent, most schools (at least in Saskatoon) are nut free zones. My husband is a teacher, so it's nice to have nut free snacks he can take in his lunch.
Gluten Free Granola Bars made with ELF Seed and Fruit Mix

I made some homemade nut free granola bars using the Beach Bash seed and fruit mix for snacks and lunches on the go. Instead of adding the dried fruit and nuts called for in the recipe, I just dumped the entire bag of seeds and fruit (1 cup worth) into my mixture. They turned out great and I will be posting the recipe shortly.

If I had to choose a favourite, I guess I would have to go with the Mountain Mambo (because of the chocolate chips:) ), but I also really liked the dried pineapple in the Beach Bash flavour. They are both winners in my opinion. The texture was great, with the crunchy seeds and chewy fruit. I found the mixture to be a little too salty, but I know some people like their trail mix salty. To each his own. The price on their website is 4.29 for a 170 g bag of seed and fruit mix. I find this to be a little on the expensive side, but it is an easy, healthy and mobile snack.

Health      5 stars
Cost         2.5 stars
Taste        3.5 stars
Texture    4.5 stars

Overall Rating:  3.9 Stars
Thanks Enjoy Life Foods for providing these free samples for me to review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Quinoa Casserole

Gluten Free Quinoa Casserole
I have a humongous Costco bag of quinoa in my pantry. I wanted to start using quinoa more (for the health factor) and was feeling inspired by the recipe I tried for quinoa brownies (which seems to be quite the hit on pintrest). The problem is, I don't really know what to do with it other than make brownies. I am thinking it would be unwise to make brownies out of the whole bag... although I am tempted...

My friend found this recipe on pintrest and recommended it to me. I altered it a bit, but used the same general idea. I was surprised at how good it was! Sooo filling with a flavour resembling pizza (as the original recipe suggests). It uses cooked quinoa, so you don't have to worry about ratios of liquid to quinoa. It also allows for endless substitutions of veggies, meat, sauce and whatever else you can think of. Another fun version of this casserole would be to do it in individual ramekins and let each family member choose their own veggies, etc... kind of like a personalised pizza, only in casserole form.

Hope you enjoy!

Original Recipe from Food Doodles Blog can be found here

(makes 9x9 square baking dish or other shapes of similar size)

3 1/2 cups Cooked Quinoa (cook like you would rice)
2 Italian Sausages (make sure they're gluten free)
1/2 Chopped Green Pepper
1/4 Chopped Onion (I used red onion)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (pasta sauce or pizza sauce works best)
3 cloves Chopped Garlic
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar (other vinegars would work)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or other flavours)


Cook quinoa and place in baking dish.
Remove casings of sausages and fry, along with veggies, in olive oil until cooked through (5-7 mins)
Add oregano, basil, thyme, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper to frying veggies and sausage after 2 mins.
Mix cooked veggies and meat with quinoa in baking dish.
Add tomato sauce and stir.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 for about 1/2 hr (until cheese is bubbly)
cook quinoa and place in baking dish
Mix veggies and meat with quinoa
Mix with tomato sauce and top with cheese
Bake at 350 for 30 mins and serve