Category Archives: local

crunchy chocolate quinoa bars

A while ago I was at a little coffee bar on Spadina for one of their most excellent Americano’s and I picked up a little chocolate bar for a bite.  This little bar was full of crunch and was otherwise solid, melt in your fingers chocolate.


I learned of this coffee bar, Sense Appeal, from a friend of a friend after a discussion about where to get good coffee in Toronto. There are so many delicious coffee bars in town who roast their own beans that it is incredibly hard to say which is the best, but some of them definitely stand out.  Sense Appeal is one of those and I’ve been missing it terribly since my office relocated from that area about a year ago. (Although, we moved to a new area with a different terrific coffee roaster just up the street!) However, this post is not about coffee so back we go to the chocolate.

If I were to have a cookbook, there would be a whole category called Heaven and it would contain this recipe , among others, all catering to the tastes of chocolatophiles everywhere.

So here is my version of the toasted quinoa bar.

Toasted Quinoa Bar (By Sense Appeal, as modified by me!)

Ok, this recipe is more of a guideline as I wasn’t very specific with many of the measurements.

10 oz dark chocolate (70% is a good place to start)
1-1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup toasted quinoa

Other suggestions:
chia seeds
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
dried fruit – I’ve used dried raspberries, apricots, cranberries, prunes and dates – chopped
shredded coconut
cocoa nibs
smashed coffee beans


These are all things I keep in my pantry so you can substitute for anything you like based on your current supplies.



Dry toast the quinoa in a frying pan over med heat – keep watch and swirl the pan to keep them from burning.  They are finished when they are crackling and jumping and smell like toasted grain.

While you are toasting the quinoa, melt the chocolate until smooth in a double boiler or heat poof bowl and set aside. Stir in coconut oil. You will add all your ingredients to this bowl.




I didn’t want to overwhelm the bar with quinoa but you want to use enough to get the crunch.  I filled in space with the chia seeds. They add a second level of crunch more like that of crispy rice. I used plenty of chia seeds.


After those two main ingredients just add the others in a ratio favourable to you. I added a handful of each and stirred until it was a smooth mix of everything. There should be more than enough chocolate to coat everything but the mixture should be lumpy.




Pour into a 9×9″ pan and refrigerate until solid. Sometimes I top it with some toasted coconut.


aDSC06809and here is one I made with toasted coconut on the top.




Friday night dessert!



This place is just down the street from me. Everything is amazing. They even have dairy free chocolate ice cream! *swoon*

Would you believe…


… That this is a pulled pork sandwich?

It was amazing.

from: SenseAppeal

Coffee and Cheeses and Bread, Oh My!


Went for a nice Sunday afternoon walk down my street.

Returned home with:



  • organically decaffeinated guatemalan dark roast coffee – tastes like dark chocolate
  • a limited edition blend called Twisted Sister from Peru – smells fruity and a little chocolaty.



  • dutch goat gouda (which goes excellently with the Inniskillin wine from last nite!)
  • reblochon de savoie
  • Gorgonzola – which doesn’t equal the gorg from Italy, although it is quite nice and smooth



  • Organic sourdough

Currently, I’m enjoying a little of each while watching an episode of Star Trek:TNG. It is all incredible.  I have a ton of stuff to get done today, but with food like that in my kitchen it’s hard not to just eat all day.

March Maple Maddness


Today, we went to the Mountsberg Conservation Area for the maple syrup festival. I haven’t been inside a sugar shack for probably 20 years!



It smelled incredible in here.  Woodsmoke and sugar.

Did you know that the sap runs up from the roots?  It’s a collection of starch that the tree creates to act as an antifreeze during the winter.  Enzymes during the spring thaw change this starch into sugar.


The sugar content of the sap is between 2-4%.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.   


Only 10% of the tree’s total sap is extracted each year.

It takes one gallon of syrup to produce eight pounds of candy or sugar.


I took away some maple fudge, candy and maple cookies.  The cookies are far removed from the fresh maple process, but maple cookies are a weakness. I already have 2 types of real syrup in my fridge, so I didn’t buy more!


On a side note, they have a Raptor Centre and we got to see several beautiful Falcons, Eagles and Owls.

And they also have bison! They’re adorable. Giant fur afro. This guy was curious and spent quite a bit of time snuffling around us at the fence.


…liquid gold…

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