Ready for the easiest granola bars?
Even if you are not great in the kitchen, these granola bars cannot go wrong in the process and they taste great every single time. It’s basically 3 simple stages: creating a base, adding the filling and baking them in the oven. It requires a sticky base that comes from honey (or golden syrup) and olive oil with touch of flavour from your favourite spices (cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla) and a splash of various nuts/seeds and oats. All this is pressed into a baking tray and voilá, in 20-30 minutes you have heavenly crunchy granola bars! The entire process takes about 35 minutes to make, so have no fear if you have guests coming over for unexpected tea.
I’ve nibbled on these the last week with my morning espresso and made some as a gift for a dinner party I was attending. Garnish the bars with some fresh thyme for a touch of spring and store them in a simple glass maison jar. The bars are vegan and you can easily adjust them according to your diet, for example if you are gluten-free. You really don’t need to measure that strictly, the key is to make sure the mixture is a sticky consistency before it is pressed into the baking tray as this holds the form together. I used a “Tuscany flavoured” honey that has a hint of lavender in it. I love to keep the granola mixture in the oven until the surface is golden (on the verge of being a bit burnt) as I love the caramelized effect on the nuts and I think toasted flax seeds taste like popcorn! These easy bars are a total healthy treat packed with fibre, good fats and vitamins but taste sinfully divine!
Ingredients (serves about 8 large bars)
- about 2-3 tablespoons runny honey (or you can use golden syrup or a mixture of both)
- about 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- Generous pinch of maldon salt flakes
- about 1 cup of each: flax seeds and oats
- about 1/2 cup of each : chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds
- about 1/4 cup each: pecan, cashew, hazel nuts, almonds (can roughly break into a small pieces if you wish as this helps them stick together better)
- In a large bowl, mix together some olive oil, honey (or syrup), cinnamon, vanilla extract, cardamom, maldon salt.
- Add in flax seeds, chia, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, robust oats
- Mix in your favourite nuts (I used pecan, cashew, hazel nuts, almonds) The key is make sure the seeds/nuts are a sticky consistency and if at this point they are too dry, add a bit more honey.
- Pour the mixture into a silicon cake tin (parchment paper lined oven dish will do as well) and place into the oven for about 25 minutes at 170 celsius.
- Remove from oven and remove from the silicon tray once it has cooled and allow to rest on a cooling rack. Cut into a pieces after it has cooled and garnish with tiny twigs of thyme. The batch lasts for a week in a sealed container.
This little colourful glasses is a great addition to your breakfast tray as it looks pretty and tastes delicious. The combination of overnight oats and blueberry chia is lovely and creamy with a layering of different flavours. Perhaps a little treat for your loved one for valentine’s day tomorrow? I like the fact that you can make it in advance and its a matter of creativity to what you can top the glass with. It can be a berry heaven or an explosion of fruits or a classic combination of toasted pine nuts, figs, ricotta and honey.
Over night oats
- 1/2 cup oats ( I used robust old-fashioned ones that also have seeds in them)
- 1 cup almond milk
Mix the oats and milk together and place into the fridge over night. If the mixture looks too dry you can add more milk to it as this can vary depending on your type of oats. I encourage also to add seeds/nuts to it, such as flax or sunflower seeds.
Blueberry Chia pudding
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 tablespoons of oat milk
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons greek yogurt (any natural yogurt will do or even milk)
Mix the milk and the chia seeds in a glass and refrigerate for at least an hour or even over night. I used oat milk because I love the sweet flavour but any milk will do. Make sure to mix it once in a while and again, add more milk if the consistency looks too dry. Meanwhile place the blueberries into a blender with the greek yogurt and blend until smooth. Once the chia seeds have expanded and the consistency is more solid, gently mix in the blueberries.
Place the overnight oats in the bottom of a glass, then scoop the chia pudding on top of that. Add some mango slices, granola/nuts or some of your favourite toppings. I added honey cashews, mint leaves and lime zest.
- Lime zest
- Mint leaves
- Shaved honey cashew (any granola will do)
‘Sunday baking & slow mornings’
Last night when laying in bed, I was running through hummus recipes in my head and from that I came to the thought of tahini and how I greatly appreciate its peanut butter-esq taste. I began instantly craving for that sesame seed flavour and had to tip toe to the refrigerator and scoop a small teaspoon into my mouth... Then my thoughts were roaming to the idea of baking and how I wanted to start my sunday with making healthy muffins and incorporating tahini into this recipe… and so that’s how I started my sunday morning.
These healthy muffins have a similar base to how I make my rye seed bread with a few alterations and incorporations from my banana bread recipe. I wanted to use lots of different nuts and seeds and robust oats for maximum texture and crunch. I also added a bit of lingonberry not only for a pop of colour but for that mild sour sweetness. I was pleasantly surprised how wonderfully the tahini rounds up all the flavours together. My friend asked me today on our walk as she bit into a muffin that I handed to her, “how much sugar did you put in these as they are sweet?” Zero I said proudly. I love how the banana and tahini add that natural sweetness without needing to add any excess sugar. This morning I woke my hubby up with the smell of some Italian espresso and we enjoyed the hot muffins straight from the oven with either apricot jam or with a dollop of butter and both were heavenly combinations. Ps. It would work perfectly with some avocado mush as well for all you avo lovers!
Ingredients (makes 7 cupcakes)
- 1 cup oats ( I used robust old-fashioned oats & rye)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large tablespoon of tahini
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup frozen lingonberry
- 1 large teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 cup graham flour
- 2 eggs
- 4-5 tablespoons cashew milk
- 1 dl chia seeds
- 1.5dl mixed favourite seeds/nuts
Garnish: Dried cranberries, selection of nuts/seeds, hemp seeds, melted butter, salt flakes
In a large bowl, mush the bananas with a fork into a paste. Mix in the eggs, tahini and milk. Add in the dry ingredients, nuts/seeds, lingonberry and the olive oil and mix into a smooth paste.
Make the cupcake holders with baking paper by cutting 15cm squares. Place each paper on the backside of a drinking glass and shape the sides into the mold of the glass so it looks like a cup. Place each paper on a cupcake baking tray and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each paper. On top of each muffin, add some favourite nuts, hemp seeds, dried cranberries, flax seeds and crushed cashews. Brush each top with melted butter to prevent them for burning in the oven and sprinkle a few salt flakes on top. Place into a preheated oven of 190C for about half an hour until golden brown.
“Eat spelt, your body will be grateful”… I once read from a food magazine and ever since then I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my cooking or buy breads with spelt in it. These ever-so-easy spelt crackers ooze with flavour, as they contain a variety of seeds (chia, sesame, sunflower) with a subtle hint of rosemary in the background. These are robust, just like this ancient grassy grain.
One morning I found my self craving for crackers instead of bread and because I love the nutty taste and structure of spelt, I decided to combine the two. There are many recipes out there for crackers, some for refined than the others. However I wanted a rustic feeling with a lot of crunch and structure so I tweaked the version to my liking. These are not that beautiful by any means, but they taste fabulous and make the best breakfast substitute for bread or a quick snack. However, I would make a more sleek lighter version if I was serving these crackers with cheeses after dinner. I will be sharing this version later on!
The recipe is very simple, all you have to do is combine the dry with the wet ingredients, flatten the dough and shove it in the oven. You can use a mixture of your favourite seeds or spices and adapt it to your liking. I added some fresh rosemary to the mixture, I love the Italian-esq taste it gives in the background. The smell of rosemary automatically brings my back to the Italian country, the vision of the large overgrown bushes that lean against the cobbled stone walls! I baked these last night so this morning I could have some crackers with egg, avocado spread, tiny tomato, red cabbage, mint leaves and a bit more rosemary. They tasted spectacular and you must try them! Ps. If you have Valentines plans over the weekend, these will make the greatest little gift ideas.
Why Spelt? First of all, because it tastes far better and distinctive from traditional flour. It is an ancient grain, just like quinoa that has kept much of its original characteristics, thus providing many nutritional benefits. It is a great source of vitamin B2 and manganese and it is good for digestion that leads to anti-inflammatory qualities. It has higher amount of protein than common wheat. The taste of spelt is slightly sweet and nutty that adds real character to loaf, crackers and other baked goods.
- 2 dl Organic Spelt flour
- 1/2 dl sunflower seeds or flax seeds
- 1/2 dl black sesame seeds
- 1/2 dl chia seeds
- 2 1/2 dl boiling water
- 1/2 dl rapeseed oil (olive oil works too)
- Pinch of Maldon Salt
- Finely chopped rosemary
Preheat oven to 150 C. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add in the water and oil. Place a baking paper on a baking tray and place the dough on top. With the help of a cake spatula, smooth out the dough into a thin sheet. (I tried to do this with a rolling-pin, but the dough kept getting stuck everywhere) Sprinkle some Maldon salt and the rosemary on top of the dough. Slice the dough into ready size crackers. Place into the middle of the oven for about an hour. Leave to cool before serving.
‘Super healthy, easy & delicious bread’
Lately I’ve been obsessed with making homemade bread and this recipe has become a favourite of mine, because of its ease, quickness, the fact that it has little flour in it and well, because of the overload of seeds and nuts! This bread is super healthy, protein packed that slowly releases great stable energy from its good fats. It makes a great brunch idea, snack and lovely accompanied with soups and salads.
‘Change it to your liking’– You can alter the flour to your preference or even add a mixture of different kinds, such as spelt/rye/chickpea flour or even add in some old-fashioned oats. I like using graham flour because it produces a lovely darker colour loaf and because of the dense, hearty texture. Sometimes I add in a bit of rye oats into the mix. I’ve added a combination of my favourite seeds and nuts, but of course this can be changed too. I’ve also tried adding chopped juicy dates into the mixture that adds a lovely sweetness. I particularly like that the nuts ( I used cashew, hassle nuts, walnuts) are added whole into the dough for a lovely visual appearance and so it gives a real crunch to the bread. You can also add black pepper or a mixture of herbs if you want to change the vibe of the loaf and maybe even sun-dried tomatoes.
You must try the bread with some avocado spread that is a favourite combination of mine as it is the perfect way to start your morning! Each slice is pure bliss and a true recipe for finding the joy in the ordinary.
- 2,5 dl graham flour (any flour will do)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 dl chia seeds
- 1 dl sunflower seeds
- 2 dl pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/2 dl mixed nuts (cashew, hassle nuts, walnuts)
- 1 dl black & white sesame seeds
- 5 eggs
- 1 dl water
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius degrees. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add in the water, eggs and mix well. Pour into a baking tine (I used a silicon one) and place into the oven for an hour. Sometimes I sprinkle some Maldon salt on top of the loaf if you prefer a saltier version.
Now for the perfect avocado spread
This avocado ‘mush’ tastes lovely with a slice of nutty bread. You will need 2 large avocados, 1 tablespoon of thick greek yogurt, grated radish and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix all the ingredients together into a fluffy paste and add in ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle some parsley on top and finely chopped pistachios. Enjoy a heavenly slice with a cup of tea.
healthy porridge ‘cleaning your menu’.
A fulfilling healthy porridge bowl is a great way to start your morning as the oats release energy slowly, giving a sustained energy level throughout the day rather than highs and lows. I usually add berries, banana and a variety of seeds and nuts for some good fats. This time I added cashew, walnuts, hazel nuts and chia, ground flaxseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This is a protein packed power breakfast packed with fibre and vitamins. Oh and did I mention it tastes delicious?!
Cleaning up my menu makes my feel good on the inside as I give more attention to fresh ingredients in their natural forms. It is your job to nurture your soul and fulfill it’s needs and this starts from what you put in your mouth. I increase my intake on greens and vegetables and protein while avoiding creams, heavy foods and too much salt. The more water, the better. Of course, if I have a proper dinner party I forget about this ideology, but on a regular basis it really does wonders for the skin, body and mentality. Decluttering your menu feels just as good as organizing your house and getting rid of excess things lying around. It is energizing and rewarding in the long run!
For this you need-
- A mixture of oats/grains
- Mint leaves
- Dried blueberry flakes
- Pinch of salt