Thursday, February 3, 2011

Muesli bars

Hello :) How's your FebYOUary going? I've been making the most of my last week of freedom before I start a bridging course at uni, so I've been to the beach for most of the week. And wanting to eat well (and save money!) I've also been trying to pack a healthy lunch to take with me. At the beginning of the week I made a batch of lentil patties, I posted about a while back and for lunch I've been squashing one on a multigrain sandwich with red onion, spinach leaves, tomato and avocado. Delicious and super filling! I've also been taking carrot sticks, almonds and fruit (usually a banana) to snack on throughout the day when I'm out. What do you pack for lunch whether it be school/uni/work? 

Well today, despite it being rather hot (actually make that very hot!) I decided to make muesli bars, from a recipe I got off a friend. With muesli bar recipes I never have everything they suggest, so I tweak it according to what dried fruit/nuts/seeds we have at the time. Here's the original as a guide:

Recipe: Muesli bars
250g dates- roughly chopped
125g figs- roughly chopped
125g sultanas
zest of 2 oranges
zest of 2 lemons
2 cups of oats
1/3 cup of corn flour
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup golden syrup
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Spray a 15 by 32cm baking dish and line base with baking paper to prevent sticking.
2. Combine dates, figs, sultanas and zest in a processor until well blended. Add oats, flour and sunflower seeds. Heat juices and golden syrup until the syrup has melted. Add to dry mix and combine.
3. Press firmly into pan. Cover with a sheet of baking paper and roll a glass over the surface to smooth the top.
4. Bake for 30 minutes
5. Leave in the pan to cool then cut into 3 by 8cm bars (approx 50g each).
6. Store in the fridge or freezer

I used a square baking tin and it ended up making 15 bars.  Now I put up the original recipe for a reference, but changed it quite a bit. I used dates, sultanas, dried apricots, prunes, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds and instead of 1 cup of golden syrup, I used a mixture of golden syrup, honey and maple syrup. I also didn't process the ingredients as a wanted more texture. As you can see, the recipe was just there as a guide! I'm sure it would have tasted good with nuts as well. 

And the verdict? The muesli bars were chewy and very yummy :) I think they'd be nice any time of the day, perhaps you could even have two for breakfast topped with some greek yoghurt and fresh berries! 

I put quite a bit of dried fruits in the mixture, so it was quite sweet. Also, although the bars are packed full of nutrients, golden syrup isn't the healthiest sweetener out there, so I might try another recipe I've seen some other time, using extra virgin coconut oil and agave, as alternatives. In saying this though, I'm sure these are a lot healthier than store bought muesli bars. 

Also, I made the Brown rice tart with tomato and feta again for dinner tonight and this time used chopped basil from the garden and sliced the tomatoes into smaller pieces. I thought it tasted a lot nicer!

And just quickly, how are you all surviving the heat? Any tips for keeping cool? Last night I couldn't get to sleep at all, so in my desperation did a little google search and tried something out I found. I got a pair of ankle socks, rinsed them with cold water, squeezed out the excess liquid then popped them on and went to bed! Cooling your feet lowers your overall body temperature. Sounds weird but it worked too, and I went to sleep a lot easier ;)

Well thats all for now. I'm off to do some yoga, before I fall asleep.

Hannah x

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