Soooooo you guys might not realize this about me, buuuut…… true life: I’m a closet eater. Which is kind of similar to My 600 Pound Life… except a little different.
Actually, it’s not the same at all. But I guess when your mom is borderline addicted to every TLC and A&E series documenting people’s life issues, you can’t help but relate everything that happens on a daily basis to one of those damn shows. Especially Hoarders… Mom, I’m talking to YOU here. THROW AWAY THOSE DAMN MEASURING CUPS.
But what I mean to say is that if there were a show about closet eating, I’d be on it. Don’t get me wrong, I sure put on a good show when I’m with my friends (“…oh boy, SO full. totally gonna stop snacking now, guys!”), but alas — they are all lies. LIES I TELL YOU.
Well, mostly lies. I probably AM full — but I’m certainly not going to stop snacking. Nope, not a chance. I’m actually just going to head home and eat basically everything in sight, until I’m so full I can barely breathe and I’m left sitting on my kitchen floor, questioning every last one of my life choices that has brought me to that point.
Dramatic, I know. but I just LOVE food, you guys! Like, really love it. If there were a way to continuously eat all day long without ever getting full (or becoming morbidly obese… helloooo, My 600 Pound Life), I’d be 100% on board. Is that so wrong?!
You might say, ‘Talia, why don’t you just stop eating when you’re full?’. Well, because don’t you know that being hungry or full has nothing to do with whether or not I want to eat?! Also, I’m pretty sure there’s no sensor between my stomach and my brain that tells me when I need to stop eating and just sit on my hands instead. I think what I need is someone to follow me around all day, telling me how much to eat and when. A life coach, maybe! You know, like that Subway commercial (cracks me up every damn time).
Now that I’ve gone off on a pretty rad tangent, let me circle back and actually get to the point: I’ve finally found something to snack on that not only satisfies my sweet tooth, but also has a decent amount of nutritional value. My mini-me cousin, Elizabeth (she’s literally me, but 9 years younger – it’s terrifying), made this for Christmas last year and I was immediately addicted – hence the name “quinoa crack”.
One of my favorite bloggers, Dana, is the mastermind behind this recipe. Everything she makes is delicious — and simple. I highly recommend you check out her blog, Minimalist Baker. Her original name for this recipe is quinoa brittle — you know, the whole nuts + melted butter, baked and broken up into bite-sized pieces thing. She’s swapped out the unhealthy ingredients (i.e., all of them) and replaced them with some seriously good-for-you options. There’s lots of protein and fiber in the oats and chia seeds, and both are high in antioxidants as well. And quinoa? You’ve got (more) protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium…. the list literally goes on forever.
So basically what I’m saying here is that this quinoa brittle (crack) is your new protein bar.
Okay, don’t quote me on that. Actually…. forget I said it altogether. I don’t need you overdosing on this ish and then blaming me when you need be put in rehab (you know, rehab for quinoa addicts. because that’s a thing.. welcome to my brain).
But seriously. There’s something about the light / nutty / sweet / salty flavor that keeps me coming back for more… and more and more. Another bonus: it’s super easy to throw together! You can have freshly baked quinoa brittle on your table in less than a half hour. Perfect for a last minute party snack or even as gifts (I miiiiight be planning for Christmas 2017 already…. I’m a sicko, I know).
So before I let you run off, I have a few quick tips:
- Brown sugar can always be substituted for coconut sugar, since most people I know I don’t typically have coconut sugar on hand.
- Really make sure to spread the (uncooked) mixture as evenly as possible to ensure even cooking throughout; I’ve found that about 1/4 inch in thickness is the magic number.
- After the first 15 minutes, be sure to turn the cookie sheet in the oven and cook for at least another 5 minutes. I usually need another minute or two beyond that, but always watch the brittle like a hawk after this point — ‘perfectly cooked’ can turn into ‘badly burnt’ in a matter of seconds.
- I’ve made a couple of batches where, a few minutes into baking, there seems to be excess liquid that pools in one or two areas. The brittle ends up spreading thinner in those sections and becomes slightly more caramelized than the rest. I assure you – the whole batch is not lost! You may actually enjoy these caramelized pieces — just be sure not to let it burn!
- I’ve tried adding vanilla to this recipe multiple times (both in extract and paste form), just for an extra kick of flavor — and each time, the liquid-to-solid ratio gets really effed up for some reason. I’ve even had to toss an entire batch of the brittle for this reason! So if anyone is able to successfully incorporate vanilla into this recipe, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I must learn your secrets.
Now that you have all the tools for quinoa crack greatness, I dismiss you to the kitchen!
- ½ cup uncooked white quinoa
- ¾ cup pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup old fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a small (ish) baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine quinoa, pecans, oats, chia seeds, coconut sugar and sea salt in a medium bowl, mixing well.
- Add coconut oil and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the coconut oil has melted. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until (very) thoroughly combined.
- Gently dump the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread with a metal spoon. Try to make sure it's even as possible, to avoid burning on the edges - between ¼ - ½ inch thick all the way around seems to do the trick.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the baking sheet. Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until the entire thing starts to turn a deep golden brown. After the first 15 minutes, I typically set my timer for 5 minutes, then check every minute after that to make sure I catch it before it starts to burn. The edges may appear to be slightly darker than the center, which is normal.
- Let cool for a few minutes and then break apart with your fingers into bite-sized pieces. Store at room temperature for up to a week - if they last that long!
….just promise you’ll save a few pieces for me? I just ate the last of the three batches I made this past weekend.