Chocolate Quinoa Snack Bars

Do any of you suffer from extreme afternoon munchies? I do! Three-o-clock rolls around and I'm like where my peaches at??? During the semester I'm usually done with my classes by mid-afternoon, so it's easy for me to run home and fix up a snack meal feast. Buuuuut exciting news!! This summer I'm working in a law office downtown, so when 3 p.m. hits I'm no longer in arms length of my fridge. My coworker is a clever fellow and he always remembers to bring an afternoon snack. I on the other hand am usually quickly stuffing my face with lunch and bolting out the door, so I never remember and frequently find myself food-dreaming (it's like day-dreaming, but more salivating) towards the end of the day. By the time I get home I'm so gosh darn starving I literally just start shoving handfuls of easy (usually sweet) sustenance down my throat. Starving Emilie makes bad food choices which makes morning Emilie really cranky when she wakes up and tries to fit into her dress pants. All in all it's a general lose-lose situation and it needed addressing. I thought about buying some granola bars from the store, but the ones I really like generally tend to be the pricey ones. Over the weekend my mom dumped a ton of quinoa on me so I thought it would be fun, and more cost efficient, to whip up some of my own snack bars. These bars and thick and chewy without being sticky which in my opinion is the most perfectly wonderful combination ever. They are sweet but not obnoxiously so, and pair wonderfully with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea. The quinoa, almonds, and oats provide a great source for fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein, so it's a fantastic combination to rev up your energy for those last few work day hours.

Yields 5 bars
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
1 cup oats
1/4 chia seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp agave

1. Melt coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in uncooked quinoa and oats. Toast until a nutty aroma begins to develop or about 5-8 minutes.
2. Combine quinoa, oats, chia, chocolate chips, almonds and agave until fully incorporated. Line a 4x5 baking dish with parchment paper then press the mixture down in it until smooth. Place a second piece of parchment paper over the top of the mixture and firmly press down until the surface of the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator.


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