Pinterest Fail

I’ve prided myself, maybe a bit too haughtily, that I can usually execute a crafty project, recipe, or DIY home reno simply by Googling it, Pinning it, or YouTubing it (lots of -ings that never existed when I was a teenager….but I digress).

So when it came time to making a few LEAP friendly recipes, as a trained chef and culinary instructor I thought “I’ve got this”.

My oven begs to differ.  As do our noses.  And the funky smell still lingering in the upstairs bedrooms, as the proof of my Pinterest fail wafted all the way up there and decided to stay for awhile.

I had found this recipe on Pinterest:

Quinoa Coconut Bars steps copy.jpg

and thought, Ok, I can eat most of those ingredients so let’s give this a whirl.

Well, 30 minutes later, with the smell of burnt peanut butter mixed with burnt coconut permeating every corner of my house, it was clear that there were some things that needed to be tweaked.

This is not a dig to the creator of the recipe, Natalie, as I’m sure between her oven and her timing, her version really does come out as pictured above.  But there were some serious flaws with this recipe as tested in my kitchen.

A crumbly, burnt mess

Having made my own granola bars for several years, I knew I should just rely on what I already knew while substituting the foods that were offensive to my immune system.  I usually follow Ina Garten’s granola bar recipe (with some tweaks again).  I just love Ina and her Hampton’s kitchen….my dream kitchen.  Cozy, classic and with tons of natural light (oh, and did you get the part about it being in the HAMPTONS?).

Any who, here’s the tweaked version, which I convinced my daughters to try after school, after I promised them that THIS version was not the one that made that “terrible, awful smell!” throughout the whole house.  I have to admit, it took me awhile before I tried it, too, since the lingering smell had made this already sick mama a bit nauseous.


Although it does resemble a suet cake for birds 😉  it still tastes pretty good and knowing it’s good FOR me, makes it all the more palatable.  Abby’s been the one devouring them up faster than me!  It may take someone a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re used to the commercially prepared granola bars which actually have a lot of sugar in them, making them less healthy than they claim.  But if you can wean yourself over to these versions, you’ll feel so much better!

Quinoa, Nuts and Craisins Granola Bars:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup – oats, dry
  • 1/2-1 cup – quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 cup – coconut flakes, unsweetened, organic
  • 1 cup – peanuts, chopped (dry roasted unsalted)
  • 1/2  cup – cranberries, dried (low sugar version)
  • 1/2 cup – peanut butter, all-natural (we used Skippy Natural Creamy which only has 3 grams of sugar)
  • 1/2 cup – honey (local is best, especially when consumed before allergy season.  We used The Hive Guy who’s right here in Swansea, MA)
  • 1 tablespoon – canola oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon – brown sugar, organic
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a ceramic or glass 9×9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.*
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, coconut, nuts, and dried cranberries.
  3. In a medium saucepan,peanut butter, honey, oil, and brown sugar. Bring to a soft boil over medium heat, then immediately remove from heat and pour over the oat mixture. Stir together until dry ingredients are evenly coated.
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish, pressing the mixture down into the pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes.**
  5. Cool for up to 2 hours, then cut and serve.

*Here was one of the problems: Natalie said to use a 9×13 inch pan – far too big making the mixture too thin which made it cook too quickly (but note her picture shows a square pan – so minor oops! there)

**Another problem – stated to bake for 20 minutes, AFTER having pre-toasted the oats and quinoa for 8 minutes before – far too long and burnt those ingredients.  I cut the time down and it was much better.  Slightly crispy edges and chewy center.


These have been a big help in eliminating some sugar out of my diet.  I have cheated once or twice (ahem, at least a handful of cookies and my mom’s pumpkin cake times….) but these have kept me on tract. And having the little girls like them, too, makes it even better!  Even Mr. G. said they tasted pretty good (but that man will eat anything so….).



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