Granola Bars

One of the first food photos I ever shared online was granola bars! They are so easy, healthy and can be made with pretty much any dried fruits or nuts that you have on hand! These ones that I have made today are just something I thought up on the spot and have ingredients which I have used in previous desserts but had some leftovers. I like this recipe because it is all done in one bowl (besides a heating component) and there is no prep required for the dry ingredients. These are dairy free, refined sugar free and filled with healthy fats found in both the almonds and peanut butter!

Granola Bars

What you’re going to need

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almonds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

  1. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients as is.
  2. In a small saucepan, add the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil. On a low heat, warm until the peanut butter has melted and combines with the other liquids
  3. Pour liquid over dry mix. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until well combined and ingredients are well dispersed through the mix
  4. In a lined tin, press the mixture flat with your hand until even. Freeze until firm but not completely solid. Slice into bars and store in the freezer for maximised storage life.

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Pearl Barley Salad

Pearl Barley. You may or may not have heard of it but for those who haven’t, it is another grain that is good to have in your cooking repertoire. To me, the barley tasted like a combination of rice and quinoa. I was wandering around a local Asian supermarket when I saw it and thought that it would be a good idea to try it out. I have a bit of a salad obsession just because it is so simple to make and super good for you! And in this day and age, everyone is all about getting things done quickly and so I’m hoping to convey the message that healthy food can be quick and easy too so that you don’t have to reach for packed goods such as chips and biscuits. The salad I’ve created today makes the pearl barley the hero. As it was the first time I had used it, I really wanted it to be noticed in every spoon full so I was careful with the other flavours I incorporated for this exact reason. Here’s what I came up with!

Pearl Barley Salad

What you’re going to need

1/2 cup pearl barley

1 cup water

1 baby cucumber, grated

1/2 carrot, grated

4 cherry tomatoes, sliced

handful rocket

small handful almonds

small handful dried cranberries (These are new to my pantry too. They give a great element of sweetness and also some texture too. If you don’t like cranberries or don’t have any on hand, you can use another dried fruit such as sultanas or dates)

Method

To prepare the barley

1. Pour the barley into a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water for 2 minutes (barley is quite starchy)

2. Bring to the boil the barley and water. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook until barley is al dente. (I cooked mine for about 15 minutes)

3. Drain well and then mix through the carrot, cucumber, tomato and cranberries. Serve on a bed of rocket and top with almonds.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week!

I found that this recipe did not require additional dressing or seasoning but that was my personal preference. The barley is quite moist when cooked so don’t worry about the salad being dry! 

Barley Salad edit

Peanut, Almond and Chia Butter

No nut butter on hand, no worries! Well as long as you have nuts on hand then this can help you sort out the problem! Or, you might just want to try out a new combination of nut spread that doesn’t exist or is too expensive. It is also a healthy choice for you too because you know exactly what stays in and what stays out of your nut butter! I was actually shocked when I was making this that you don’t need any oil or liquids to bring it all together! All you need is a bit of patience. For anyone out there who may not be convinced that they can make their own nut butter at home, here is what I did (and I’m not some miracle worker/chef so if I can do it, so can you!)

Peanut, Almond and Chia Butter 

What you’re going to need

1 cup peanuts

1 cup almonds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method

1. Add all your ingredients to a food processor.

2. Process for at least 15 minutes (don’t give up, I assure you butter will form!) but make sure you occasionally scrape down the sides as you go. You will also notice that the mixture will be getting quite warm which aids in the butter production

3. Serve with toast or use as a base for ingredients such as protein bars (future post in the works!)

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Chocolate and Coconut Granola

Today, my challenge was to create a nutritious yet delicious granola using only ingredients that I had available at home. Granola is quite a genius creation as you can throw whatever you like in the mix and it will most likely still taste fabulous. The granola that I have created is vegan and refined sugar free!

Chocolate and Coconut Granola (makes 2 cups)

What you’re going to need

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup puffed rice

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup raw mixed nuts, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons rice malt syrup

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees

2. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, puffed rice, coconut and nuts.

3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until all the dry mix is evenly coated.

4. Spread the mix evenly over a lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and mix the tray with a spoon periodically.

6. Store in an airtight container for up to a week!