Recipe: Superfood Cereal Bars

The snack trend at the moment seems to be those energy balls, and quite frankly the idea makes me feel a bit squeamish. No idea why as I have no aversion to the ingredients by themselves – but they just don’t appeal. These, however, are right up my street.

Superfood Cereal Bars2 photo 5533fbcc-4d7d-4eae-9f25-c00286057ea7_zpsxcxfjivh.jpgChewy, slightly sweet, slightly salted, crunchy, little hints of fruit, and a bitter chocolate hit in some bites – the fact that they didn’t cook perfectly and weren’t ‘bars’ was forgiven when I tasted them. I wasn’t originally going to blog about them due to their failure of staying together (they worked well as granola!) but I enjoyed it so much I’ve tinkered with the amounts to give you the chance of making bars. Failing that, eat in chunks as big as you can manage. With a couple of napkins to catch the crumbs.

Sidenote: I apologise to the cleaners at work for the state of the carpet by my desk after eating these as an afternoon snack that week. Whoops.

Superfood Cereal Bars8 photo 92787096-a644-4870-a90f-94476fdc48be_zpsfiuduigc.jpgThese do contain some ‘trendy’ ingredients but would equally be fine without. Subtittute more dried cranberries (or any other fruit) for the goji berries. Swap in finely chopped dark chocolate for the cocoa nibs (I love these and really need to find a cheaper source!). Use decent nut butter if possible, but I happen to know this works with Sainsbury’s Basics too. Because when it’s a few days before payday spending 3x the amount on peanut butter hurts. The cheaper stuff isn’t horrific, it’s just slightly runny and not the best in terms of ingredients. Tastes good though.

Superfood Cereal Bars4 photo a18ca184-3a85-433f-9905-799a285f3d45_zpscmmhxkm4.jpgIngredients

  • 150g oats
  • 1 handful nuts/seeds – I went for flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and there’s some chopped hazelnuts in there too
  • Cocoa nibs, or dark chocolate
  • 1 handful of dried fruit – I used goji berries and dried cranberries as they are the only dried fruit I can stomach
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 100g honey – I’ve upped this in the recipe to help the bars hold together more

Superfood Cereal Bars1 photo 2f8eaae6-967b-4b77-94ab-37176954bd2d_zpsaufpsp9w.jpgSuperfood Cereal Bars3 photo 84eafcf4-dc0c-460a-8047-2e581839f2d6_zps7o6wgvkm.jpgAdd the coconut oil, peanut butter and honey to a pan and heat on a low heat until thoroughly melted and combined. It’s based on this recipe here. Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and stir – you want all the yummy bits to be evenly dispersed in the oats.

Superfood Cereal Bars6 photo 0e486142-f040-44a8-b79f-1339dc7ebfe0_zps0vrmihfp.jpgSuperfood Cereal Bars5 photo 256718c4-0d65-4066-8605-50e8027353b8_zpszxakzlsl.jpgPour in the liquid mixture and stir – it will look dry at first but keep going until it looks a bit gooey and everything is coated. Tip into a lined tray and press down well with a spoon. Bake at 170C for 25 minutes, score into portions immediately then leave to cool completely.

Superfood Cereal Bars7 photo bee7fc64-737a-4995-a71a-1fcbe5d01edf_zps60zejjp5.jpgI’ve enjoyed these as a 4pm snack when I feel my energy levels dropped – it’s when I’d usually head for a cup of tea, but I’ve found these keep me going far more. If only they made for a little more ladylike eating – though the upped honey ratio has definitely improved this!

Another sidenote – all being well I’ll be on a plane as you read this, off to sunny Italy. Posts are scheduled whilst I’m away, but there may be a lack of comment replying and email responses until a few days after I am back. Keep an eye on my Instagram for holiday pics!

Are you a fan of homemade cereal bars, or can you recommend any bought versions? I’ve never found any that are yummy but not full of sugar or artificial ingredients! 

Recipe: Supergreen Soup

Autumn is the perfect weather for soups. Its not so cold that I’m craving spicy chillis, toad in the hole or stew and dumplings, but its cold enough to want warm and comforting. I try to avoid too much heavy food pre-December (I have a gorgeous 21st dress to squeeze into!) so soups are perfect. They’re also great for two things;

  • Getting loads of veg into my diet.
  • Using up odds and ends in my fridge that my meal plan means would otherwise go to waste.

 photo 2014-10-25141934_zps3226af23.jpgThis soup is super-easy, super-green and super-healthy. It’s also pretty much ready in thirty minutes – although you will have to be careful if you blend it with a hand blender straight away, as if the liquid is too hot it will burn. I found this out the hard way! My amounts also made six really generous servings. I’ve eaten this as it is for lunch, topped with bacon and served with cheese-on-toast for dinner, and have also added blue cheese to add a little naughtiness. Any leftover creme fraiche or cream mixed in doesn’t go amiss. And it freeze super well too, reheating from frozen in the microwave. Strong in flavour but not overwhelmingly green (my biggest tip is to avoid overcooking the broccoli!), this is a soup which has firmly pushed itself into my rotation. I highly suggest you try it!

 photo 45e91254-37e2-43b4-ab13-16d9451a0750_zpsfe0fd83f.jpgIngredients

  • 1 whole head of brocoli. Florets in big chunks, all of the stalk into finer chunks
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 a bag of kale
  • 1 pint of veg stock
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, a few herbs if you have any (I added a teeny bit of thyme)

 photo d6e8e6e2-19b0-41be-8c85-78fd4aaaac9a_zpse66987b3.jpg photo 2014-10-25134734_zpsa75c8c31.jpgStart by frying the onion and celery in a little oil. You don’t need to soften it too much, just a little. You can do this whilst you prep the brocoli. Add the broccoli and the kale, top with the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Don’t boil vigorous or you’ll have a horrible veg smell filling the kitchen.

 photo 2014-10-25141106_zps30ffab7d.jpgLeave to cool for as long as you possibly can, then blender to a smooth consistency. Reheat and season to taste. Portion out, freeze, or eat. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days too, especially if you don’t add cream.

 photo 2014-10-25141934_zps3226af23.jpgServe with some good bread. And any other toppings that take your fancy. I highly recommend a crumble of blue cheese!
Now a cheeky request- I’d love it if you could vote for me in the 2015 UK Blog Awards. I’m lucky enough be in the Food, Young Bloggers (not too sure where this entry is) and Lifestyle categories! Now, if you vote for me I’ll post out cake… 😉

What’s your favourite soup?