Bee-ing healthy again — Bee Pollen Oat Squares

Well, the airplanes breaking the sound barrier over my house right now tell me that it’s back-to-school time once again. You see, for two weeks each year, Toronto hosts the “Canadian National Exhibition,” also called “The Ex” or the CNE. Closing weekend for the Ex (Labour Day weekend) always includes an air show, so since we live close enough we don’t even have to pay to enjoy it. Fighter jets are cool. As long as you’re not in a war zone, I guess. Or drunk and aggressive on an airplane, as two ladylike women were when they attempted to go to Cuba earlier this week. (there but for the grace of God … ha! Kidding. Fortunately I’ve never been THAT drunk and disorderly.)

But back to the Ex. Some people love it, like me, while others aren’t such big fans. My husband, for example, is always quite happy to see me take the kids on my own. For some reason, the Ex tends to attract a high percentage of people who think that the mullet is a slammin haircut. That front teeth are optional. That the present tense of “to have” is “gots.” That the top of a thong should be flaunted as an alluring fashion accessory. That working from the McDonald’s office (for the WIFI) is appropriate.

Thanks Burger Nerd!http://www.theburgernerd.com/funny-fast-food-pics/

Thanks Burger Nerd!http://www.theburgernerd.com/funny-fast-food-pics/

While I seem to be kindred spirits with these Ex-loving people, my husband is happier to stay home and sip champagne from his Manolo Blahniks. But he’s missing out. Where else would you ever find, all in the same place…

A butter sculpture of Jabba the Hutt

A butter sculpture of Jabba the Hutt

Harrison Ford, still trapped in his metal (the actual prop!)

Harrison Ford, still trapped in his metal (the actual prop!)

A global marketplace of junk from far and wide

A global marketplace of junk from far and wide

And of course, rides, every kind of junk food you could imagine, and farm exhibits.

Tractor riding

And the farm exhibits include the animals themselves. Which brings me to bees.

Thanks aszichild.com

Thanks aszichild.com

Every year I stop by the bee section of the Ex, try to find the queen bee in the live hive they have going, and then pick up some wildflower honey. But this year I grabbed something different. I had just read an article about the benefits of eating bee pollen, so I decided to make it my next dangerous food.

Bee pollen

Apparently it fights respiratory ailments and boosts the immune system, and with a daughter who goes down hard with asthma each September when she returns to her petri dish aka educational institution, I thought that spiking her food with a bit of pollen couldn’t hurt. It also reduces histamine reactions for allergies, and my daughter is a peanut-allergic kid too. Sounded like this might be the miracle cure she needed in her life! (Except for the fertility boosting part, which, let’s hope and pray, her little 7-year-old self could do without for quite some time.)

I decided to meld my bee-utiful experimentation with another back-to-school resolution I have, which is to feed my kids something other than hotdogs or pasta with butter. They have become tough customers over the past few months, and my parenting perseverance has been on vacation too, which doesn’t help the asthma or allergic situation. So here are my…

Putting foot down healthy back-to-school oat quinoa bars, complete with superhero immuno-boosting bee pollen punch-in-the-face

(Based on Lyndsay’s Quinoa Breakfast Bars from the Lean Green Bean, with my nut-free, buzzy bee, and sweet tooth modifications)

  • 1 c whole wheat flour (or chickpea flour to make GF)
  • 2 c cooked quinoa (starting with 1C raw quinoa should be more than enough)
  • 2 c oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅔ c Wow Butter
  • ½ c honey
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ c rotten bananas (you know it’s true)
  • 2 Tbsp bee pollen
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • ⅔ c craisins
  • sprinkling of brown sugar for the topping, because a spoonful of sugar helps the quinoa go down

Directions: Preheat to 375. Combine bananas, eggs, Wow Butter, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, and bee pollen.

Bee pollen bars

Add other ingredients and press into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar, because if your kids are going through summer candy-floss withdrawal like mine they’ll need to detox slowly. Bake for about 20 minutes, until top is golden-brown.

Quinoa oat bars

Results: 

Quinoa bars

This recipe tastes quite healthy, so my kids did not beg for it. But it is highly guilt-free, and I ate a mess of it. If your kids are more tolerant than mine they’ll love it to death. And I’m going to gobble some right this minute — it’s filling, yet nutritious. Soft rather than crunchy. I’d call its sweetness half-way between a bread and a cookie-bar. Next time I might have to give my kids some added motivation with some maple-syrup dipping sauce. What can I say, I’m whipped. Rating: 3 Yums  The CNE would never sell these bars because they’re too healthy, but brawny men with bee-beards and manly F16 fighter pilots will gots to have them.

Comments

      • Leave a Reply

        Joanna @ Midwestern Bite
        September 12, 2014

        Sorry it took me so long to get back here. Baby. Not sleeping. Mama. Zero energy. Ughernauts.

        Anywho I’m back now (yay) albeit not completely awake.

        Sooooo I’m scared of bee pollen. Yup. You wouldn’t think it’d be a dangerous food but I think I’d rather eat the moose balls and I haven’t even read that post yet (saving it for tonight’s numerous wakeups) so I have no idea if it’s moose shaped into balls or moose balls. Still. I’d probably pick it over the bee pollen.

        Ridiculous. I know.

        I actually bought bee pollen a few years back from the market then chickened out and mailed it off in my Foodie Pen Pals package back when I was doing that. I had this silly fear that because of my ragweed allergy I would die or something or my lungs would collapse. Lung collapse equals death too right?

        Did you know Mike wants bees? I haven’t read all the rest of the comments so maybe he already mentioned that.

        Well, that’s all I’ve got. I think. Too tired to remember if there was more. Maybe I’ll be back again after some sleep. Soooooo next year?

  1. Leave a Reply

    Marni
    August 31, 2014

    Looks and sounds tasty. Im not much if a cook, but I think I could attempt these

  2. Leave a Reply

    Christina
    August 31, 2014

    Well, I didn’t know whether i wanted to laugh or to scream while reading all these EX things!! I’m certain I will like the recipe very much since it’s soft(I prefer it soft, actually) and healthy!!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      August 31, 2014

      You’ll have to visit and experience the Ex for yourself some day! Only if we can trade and I can hang out in Greece, of course. Somehow I think I’d be getting the better deal (are there mullets in Greece?)

  3. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    September 1, 2014

    This article is the bees-knees and I bee liking it 🙂 All bad puns aside, great article and recipe. Too bad the kids didn’t dig them as much as you because they look really good, especially the last pic. On a side note….super big props for the butter Jabba pic and for braving the CNE hordes. Lastly, thanks for the pic link, much appreciated. Cheers!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      September 1, 2014

      Thanks! Thought of you yesterday Burger Nerd — got my hooves on some ground moose meat. Not sure if they’ll become burgers or moose-saka yet, but I might need a burger consultant!

      • Leave a Reply

        Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
        September 5, 2014

        Awesome! Have you had moose before? I loooove the “moose-saka” idea (what a great play on words too) but would gladly toss around burger ideas with you if you wanted. Funnily enough, I was also thinking about you the other day. My cousin gave me some bear meat…. Yes, the real deal Grizzly Adams type of bear meat. I thought, “What would Ann do with this dangerous ingredient?”. It reminded me of our Bison collaboration and I might just try the bannock bread idea for it….make some “Little Bear Burgers”. Anywhooo, looking forward to seeing what you do with the Moose.

        • Leave a Reply

          Ann Allchin
          September 5, 2014

          Ooh, jealous of your bear meat! Can’t wait to see what you do with it! I’m still toying with ideas about the moose. My friend’s husband says I should make moose balls. But I’m also getting together with some friends later today, and chili might fit the bill, although it’s not nearly as fun a play on words. But I do like Moose-saka too! Decisions, decisions.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Aly
    September 2, 2014

    A local ice cream shop here uses bee pollen in one of their sundaes. I’ve yet to try it…but thought about buying it from them. It’s pricey, though!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      September 2, 2014

      Yes, those fuzzy little guys sure do know how to run a good business! I didn’t mention the price because I forget exactly how much it was — maybe $15? — but you get a lot of it

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