Well, I think it’s about time to make my first blog post of 2017! A very belated Happy New Year to you all 🙂
In my last post I said I wanted to try and eat healthier and shift a bit of weight, and by some miracle I’ve actually stuck to it (thus far)! I’ve not been following any kind of radical diet, just cutting down on the amount of naughty stuff and exercising more. I’ve been going to the work gym twice a week, walking to and from the office every day and taking lunchtime yoga classes on Mondays, also at work (one of the great things about being employed by a university is the access to an array of convenient fitness facilities, and at a significant discount!)
I’ve managed to lose 6 pounds so far, which I’m really pleased about as I’m not trying to lose a shedload of weight in a short period, only to pile it all back on when the urge to eat a wheelbarrowful of Dairy Milk becomes too much. I want to do it gradually while still being able to enjoy my favourite treats in moderation. To be perfectly honest, I’ve not missed eating cake that much but chocolate is proving to be very much my Achilles’ heel…
The downside to this wee health kick is that I’ve not been doing as much baking, apart from a few cake requests for colleagues. However, I was given the latest Bake Off book for my birthday last month and it contained a fabulous recipe for ‘Posh Granola Bars’, which I knew I had to try right away. Toasted oats, Rice Krispies, nuts, fruit and honey in yummy crunchy bar form and easy on the waistline to boot – what’s not to like?
They turned out delicious, but I decided to adapt them slightly in subsequent batches by increasing the quantity of Rice Krispies, substituting the butter for peanut butter and using raisins instead of dried cranberries. I like these ones even better, and they’re easier to cut without turning to crumbs, meaning they’re perfect to take to work for a healthy and filling mid-morning snack.
If you’re not as mad a fan of Rice Krispies as me, cut the amount down to 25-50g and up the oats to 200g, although personally I love the crunch they add! Also feel free to use whatever dried fruit you like, or maybe go wild and add some chocolate chips?
INGREDIENTS – makes 12 bars
- 150g/5 oz oats
- 70g/2.5 oz Rice Krispies or other puffed rice cereal
- 100g/3.5 oz mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts)
- 50g/1.5 oz peanut butter
- 160g/5.5 oz honey
- 50g/1.5 oz raisins
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan).
- Tip the oats and chopped nuts into a rectangular baking tray and add the cooking oil.
- Use your hands to combine the mixture, rubbing the oats so that they’re lightly coated in the oil.
- Place the tray in the oven for around 6-8 minutes until the oats become slightly dry and golden.
- Place the honey and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and melt together in the microwave in blasts of 1 minute until smooth.
- Pour the oat and nut mixture, Rice Krispies, raisins and cinnamon into the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine. If the mixture seems too dry and crumbly, add a dash more honey.
- Wipe the baking tray clean and line with parchment paper, then pour in the mixture and press down evenly with a spatula.
- Place in the oven for around 10 minutes until the top of the mixture is light brown in colour.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack and then cut up into bars using a sharp knife.