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Superhero snack alert: These maca quinoa pops boost energy while beating PMS

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Photo: Lisa Cohen
The Yoga Kitchen
Photo: Lisa Cohen for Quadrille Publishing

Blame your thyroid, birth control pill, or Mother Nature herself, but hormones rarely behave. Fortunately, there’s an adaptogen for that: maca, a powerhouse superherb that can help boost energy, regulate stress, and yes, bring a bit more balance to your body.

You can easily add it to your a.m. smoothie (a la the Broad City girls), but that’s not the only way to get your daily dose. Just ask Kimberly Parsons, author of The Yoga Kitchen, who turned the it-ingredient into a…wait for it…snack-ready pop.

Her genius recipe is packed with good-for-you ingredients (chocolate and quinoa make an appearance)—and as a bonus, the healthy bites freeze well and can be made up to two months in advance.

“I used maca root powder because of its incredible powers for both men and women as an adaptogen and an aphrodisiac,” says Parsons. “The use of cacao in this recipe also helps to contribute to this increased desire, as cacao helps to increase tryptophan, a building block of serotonin, which is a brain chemical involved in sexual arousal.” (Yet another much-appreciated perk.)

Keep reading to find out how to make Kimberly Parsons’ chocolate and maca quinoa pops.

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Chocolate & Maca Quinoa Pops

Makes 12 bars

1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut nectar, raw honey, or pure maple syrup
1/2 cup cacao powder
3 Tbsp maca powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups puffed quinoa
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw pistachios, roughly chopped

1. Place the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over a medium–low heat. Add the two tablespoons of sweetener of your choice and combine. Now add the cacao and maca powder, plus the pinch of salt, and whisk until the mixture forms a loose paste. Remove from the heat.

2. Add the quinoa puffs and stir to combine, making sure all the ingredients are coated in the chocolate paste. Taste and add a little more salt if needed.

3. Line a 6×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and scoop the batter into it. Use the palm of your hands to press everything loosely down into the tin.

4. Now sprinkle the hazelnuts, cranberries, and pistachios evenly over the surface and, using the palm of your hands again, press everything together tightly and evenly to roughly one inch deep.

5. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator to firm for 30 minutes.

Each week we spotlight a healthy-delish recipe that’s truly genius (and easy to make) from someone who’s wowed us in the food world. We’re talking buzzy cookbook authors and Instagram foodies to brilliant chefs. You can find more mouthwatering, must-try ideas from the Recipe of the Week archive.

Go beyond dessert with these body-balancing drinks. And you’re not alone: Emmy Rossum also had hormone issues—here’s what she did to balance them.

Excerpted from The Yoga Kitchen by Kimberly Parsons, published by Quadrille January 2017, $24.99 hardcover, available wherever good books are sold.

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