Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.

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Want to Stay Young? Eat These!

Good morning World!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you romantics out there!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

OldPeopleCartoonStaying young.  It’s something most of us want to do, but as time goes by, things start to go haywire…an ache here or there, age spots, hair thinning or going grey, you can’t move as fast as you used to, you get annoyed at young people and you find yourself at the doctor’s office more than you want.  It can’t be helped…we all grow older.

Some say ‘you’re only as old as you feel!’ which is fine as long as you ‘feel’ about 21 even when you’re nearly 3 times that age.  But some aren’t so lucky and do feel their actual age.

So what or who do you blame?  Was it due to all those late nights when you were younger?  Too much booze or cigarettes or even drugs?  Is it mom and dad’s fault?

Actually, genes account for only about 25% of aging, so what you eat could possibly make a huge difference in how you’ll feel when you get ‘over the hill’ if you aren’t there already.  Here’s how to adjust your food intake and get smoother skin, a faster brain and some other youth boosters…

OliveOilOLIVE OIL

Youth Benefit: Less wrinkled skin

Australian researchers found that those who regularly ate olive oil along with fish and veggies had, on average, 20% fewer wrinkles than those who did not.  This may seem just a cosmetic benefit, but an American trial recently linked deeper wrinkles with increased risk of osteoporosis.

SPINACHspinach

Youth Benefit: Healthy eyes

An antioxidant that protects the retina against damage from years of exposure to sunlight is lutein.  The high lutein in spinach is specifically related to lowered risk of macular degeneration (MD).  To help protect eyes, the MD Society recommends eating two to four servings of lutein-rich leafy green veggies a week such as spinach and kale.  Pour olive oil over greens as lutein is fat-soluble and therefore better absorbed if eaten with a little fat.

ONIONS

Youth Benefit: Lower inflammation

Onions, especially the red ones, are useful in avoiding arthritis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  Controlling inflammatory status may allow a better chance of successful aging.  Quercetin is the nutrient in onions that help with anti-inflammatory.  Other foods with quercetin are citrus fruits, apples and sage.

BRAZIL NUTSbrazil_nuts

Youth Benefit: All-around anti-aging

Brazil nuts get high marks for anti-aging on account of their very high content of selenium, a vital antioxidant mineral.  According to the UK government’s 2011 National Diet and Nutrition Survey, many of us do not get enough of this mineral, with women over 65 faring worst.  Low selenium status has been associated with increased risk of mortality, poor immune function and cognitive decline.  Just 25g/¾oz (a handful) daily, will significantly boost your selenium level.

blueberriesBLUEBERRIES

Youth Benefit: A clear mind

Blueberries could play a role in healthy cognitive function.  Research found a 200g dose sustained people’s ability to perform tests of short-term memory and concentration.  The berries are rich in a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which may help protect brain cells and arteries and keep blood flowing to the brain.  Cranberries and pomegranates contain similar levels of anthocyanin.

BROCCOLI

Youth Benefit: Cancer protection

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain glucosinolates, which form anti-cancer chemicals.  When researchers added juiced broccoli to precancerous cells, they found the survival rate of these cells was reduced by 95%.  Other studies have shown that these anti-cancer chemicals may also reduce levels of estrogen derivatives that stimulate breast tumors.  Other cruciferous veggies include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes and watercress.

RED WINE

Youth Benefit:  Heart health

Research shows moderate imbibers of any type of alcohol (one or two units a day) tend to live longer than both abstainers and heavy drinkers.  Alcohol can also increase the ration of ‘good’ (HDL) to ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in blood vessel walls.  Stick to no more than 150ml/5fl oz of wine per day.  Other foods that provide these flavonoid benefits without the alcohol are 70% cocoa chocolate, red grapes and red apples.

Other foods for staying young include OILY FISH such as mackerel, salmon and sardines which contain the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints, STRAWBERRIES for healthy arteries and CARROTS for a strong immune system.

So avoid junk food, eat healthy and stay young!

  Terri  

You can still Eat Healthy on a Budget

Money is tight these days and that means for just about all of us.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy.

Many people think that they can’t afford to buy fresh food and think it’s cheaper to buy ready-made meals and processed foods.  But you can buy fresh food, save money and still respect yourself in the morning!

Here’s a handful of tips on how to save some of your hard-earned cash and still eat right.

◊ Carry a bottle of water with you always.  If you already have a beverage with you, there’s no need to buy soda, juice, coffee, tea or even a bottle of water when you’re out and about.  Think about what you spend when you buy a can of soda or a bottle of water.  Over time, that can add up.

◊ Pack your lunch. Whatever you make for dinner, make a little extra and take that with you for your lunch the next day at the office.  Just reheat it in the microwave.  No microwave?  Then make yourself a sandwich or a even better, a salad with lots of veggies and some beans and avocado or low fat deli ham or some canned tuna.  Make your own dressing with some mayo, low-fat plain yogurt, herbs and seasonings or just some olive oil and vinegar.  The combination of the veggies with a bit of protein and fat will keep you fuller longer to get through that afternoon slump and is much better for you than a fast food burger and fries and in the long run, cheaper.  If you do feel a bit peckish later in the afternoon, have an apple with some slices of cheese or a couple of whole grain crackers with natural peanut butter.

◊ Eat more vegetarian meals.  For those of you who are meat eaters, I’m not saying to give up eating meat, but meat can be expensive and it doesn’t hurt to have a meal once in a while that doesn’t contain meat.  Legumes, beans, veggies, rice and other whole grains are less expensive and can be a good source of satisfying protein.

◊ Buy in Bulk.  Whenever possible, buy in bulk, especially if you have the room at home to store big bags or boxes of things such as rice, pasta, dried beans or oats.  They will stay longer and cost much less when bought in bulk.

◊ Eat more Fiber. More fiber and less refined sugar.  Refined sugar and hydrogenated oils increase our appetite and therefore our spending on food because we get hungry again shortly after eating them, thus eating more food.  Fruits, veggies and nuts however, are packed with fiber, therefore filling us up and ultimately decreasing our spending on food.

So there’s a few tips on how to eat healthy while not spending a fortune.

Can you think of other ways?  How do you save money and still eat well?  Why not share your ideas with the rest of us?

  Terri  

Psst…Just a reminder, I still need a foodie word for this Friday…A page number 1-632 and a word number 1-20…..

Homemade Almond Milk and Almond Meal

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try making my own almond milk.  I’ve never actually drank almond milk before, but I still wanted to make my own.  What put me off was the price of the almonds!

However….

Last weekend while we were out doing our food shopping, I came across a big bag of almonds (750g/26.5oz) that was on sale for £3.99 (originally £4.99) so I grabbed it, smiling, knowing that I’d now be able to make my own almond milk.  Yippie!

Why almond milk?

Turns out, almond milk is actually much healthier than cow’s milk! It’s lower in fat, calories and cholesterol, and higher in vitamin A, vitamin E and iron. The only thing that makes cow’s milk better nutritionally, is protein. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that you should only drink almond milk. Everything in moderation, and variety is always nice. 🙂

Why homemade?

Why not?  Practically anything homemade is going to be better tasting and healthier than a packaged product.  After all, you know exactly what’s going into it.  In the case of homemade almond milk, it’s pretty straight forward: water, almonds and a bit of sweetener, should you so desire it.  However, a store bought product will have these ingredients….

(Taken from the website for Alpro Almond Milk and its ingredients)

Ingredients

Water, Sugar, Almond (2%), Tri-calcium phosphate, Sea salt, Stabilisers (Locust Bean gum, Gellan gum), Emulsifier (Sunflower lecithin), Vitamins (Riboflavin (B2), B12, E, D2)

Now granted, the vitamins are not really an added ingredient as the almonds contain these naturally.  However, what exactly are all those other ingredients and what do they do?  I decided to check them out…

Tri-calcium phosphate ~ used as a nutritional supplement which occurs naturally in cow’s milk.  Guess this is added to give a bit of calcium?

Sea salt ~ um, we know what this is, but why is it added?  Don’t we ingest enough salt in our food?

Locust Bean Gum ~ vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree and is used as a thickening agent.  OK, I’ll admit the homemade version isn’t very creamy like milk, but if you want it more creamy, then just use less water or more almonds.  (Here’s some more interesting uses for it: The bean, when made into powder, is sweet—with a flavor similar to chocolate—and is used to sweeten foods and as a chocolate substitute. It is also used in inedible products such as pet foods, mining products, paper making, and to thicken textiles. It is used in cosmetics and to enhance the flavor of cigarettes. Shoe polish and insecticides also have locust bean gum powder as an additive.) Hmm….cigarettes don’t have enough crap in them; they have to add this stuff too!

Gellan gum ~ used as a thickener.  Can’t they just use the Locust Bean Gum??  Why add another one?

Sunflower Lecithin ~ basically helps to keep all the ingredients together and avoid separation. ~ (ingredients info compliments of Wikipedia)

You know what?  I’ll stick to the homemade version!

OK, here’s how to make your own almond milk.

Soak your almonds.

Put 1 cup almonds into an empty, clean glass jar (I used a large coffee jar) and pour in water to cover about an inch from the top of the jar.  Leave to soak for 8-12 hours or overnight.  Soaking the almonds not only helps to soften them, but it also removes the phytic acid (an enzyme inhibitor), to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. After soaking, drain and rinse a couple of times.

Put the almonds into a blender or food processor with 2 cups of water to start.  Blend for one minute and then add another 1 cup of water and blend some more.  You can leave it like this, or if you want it a bit thinner, then add up to another 1 cup water.  Blend for another 2-3 minutes.

Turn it off. It should be nice and frothy. Taste the milk.  If you like it as it is, then move on to the next step.  If you’d like to sweeten it like I did, you can add some honey or agave nectar and dates. I added about a tablespoonful of agave nectar and 3 dates. Turn the blender back on for another 30 seconds or so.

Now, you need to strain the milk to remove the almond pulp. Simply line a fine strainer or sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel (I used a thin cotton table napkin). Place the strainer over a bowl, to catch the milk, and pour your almond milk through the cheesecloth-lined strainer.

It will take about 30-45 minutes for all the milk to pass through the strainer.  You can help it along by pressing on the almond pulp with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula.  You’ll be left with a good amount of almond pulp. DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY!

You’ve just made almond meal/flour which can be used in a number of recipes including muffins, cakes, quick breads, etc.  I’ll fill you in on what to do with this in just a few minutes.

Transfer the milk to a glass jar and keep it in the fridge and use it as you would normally use cow’s milk. Use it in your coffee, on cereal, in smoothies or milk shakes or drink it as is or even add sweetened chocolate powder.  The next time I make this, I’m going to try it unsweetened.  I don’t know if I used too much agave or maybe the agave gave it an odd taste.  I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but I want to experiment.  You can also add other flavorings to it such as almond or vanilla extracts.

It should keep for about four days but I’ve read that it could keep up to a week.  I pretty much used all of mine within the four days so can’t give an opinion about the extra time.  Just use your nose…if it smells funky, then it’s past its due date!

After sitting in the fridge for awhile, the milk will separate (hmm…maybe I need some lecithin!).  Just shake the jar or stir it up before using.

And now for the almond meal…

As I said earlier, please don’t throw this away.  It’s very nutritious stuff and almonds are too expensive to just toss them away.  Also, as I hate to waste anything if at all possible, I like the idea of making something where you use the ingredients and the by-product.

The almond meal will be wet and chunky so you’ll need to dry it out prior to using it in recipes.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread the almond pulp into a thin layer and put it in your oven on the lowest possible setting.  While it’s drying out, every now and then take out the tray and stir the meal around so that it will dry evenly.  After the first hour, leave the door open a bit so that the moisture can come out.  Mine took about three hours in total to dry out.  As all ovens are different, your mileage may vary. 😉

Once it’s dry, dump it all into your food processor and give it a good whiz to break up the larger pieces and make it into a fine powder.  You now have almond meal or flour, depending on how fine a powder you managed to make.  You should have about a cup of flour.

Keep it stored in a glass jar.  You can now use it for any recipe that calls for almond meal or use it to replace some of the whole wheat flour in breads or muffins ~ any of your favorite recipes!  I used some the other night as a coating for chicken.  I just added some seasoning to it and coated chicken breasts.

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Upcoming Food Festivals for the UK

I realise I’ve been a bit slack on giving you info on these, so here we go….

 

Loch Fyne Food Fair

May 19-20 2012

Location: Fields next to the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Cairndow, Scotland

Free admission – Farmer’s Market, selected wines and live music both days

£3.00 for parking

Midlands Whisky Festival

May 19 2012

Location:  The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Tickets: £25.00 include a Glencairn nosing glass, bottle of water and festival brochure. No tokens to worry about, just simply ask politely at any stand and you will receive a tasty glass of amazing whisky to try.

Tockwith Beer Festival

May 19 2012

Location: Tockwith Sports Field, Tockwith Lane Tockwith, York, North Yorkshire

Tickets: £10 Adults, £3 Child includes

  • Festival beer glass
  • Beer token
  • Tasting notes
  • Voucher book of exclusive discounts from our sponsors
  • All children’s entertainment (subject to booking and availability)
  • A great day out!

Flavours of 2012

May 25-27 2012Location: Henham Park near Southwold, SuffolkTickets: £6.00 can be purchased on-line or by phoneThis will be the first food and drink festival of its kind to be held at Henham Park
(home to Latitude Festival) and will offer 2 days of fantastic food, drink,
cookery demos and much more.

Somerset Chilli Festival

June 2-4 2012Location: Bath race course,  Lansdown, Bath, SomersetTickets: £6.00, Children under 12 get in freeThe Somerset Chilli Festival will run from 10am to 6pm each day with all things Chilli; food sampling, cookery demonstrations, competitions (inc. the famous Chilli Eating Competition) music acts and wandering performers. To keep you satisfied there will also be top quality food stalls and relaxed bars.

Dartington Food Fair

June 3-5 2012Location: The Shops at Dartington, Shinners Bridge, Dartington, Totnes, DevonTickets: £4, Children under 12 go free.  Book on-lineChef demonstrations, food tents, face painting and many more family activities including a potter’s wheel and mountain biking.*********************

Great British Food Festival

June 4-5 2012Location: Walton Hall & Gardens,  Walton Lea Road, Higher Walton, Warrington, Cheshire Tickets: £2.50, Under 12 go free.  Parking £3.20*

50 Producers, 15 Hot Food Stalls, Craft stalls and live music

There are NO cash machines on site so please come prepared.
*Parking is in the council-run car park and costs £3.20 for the day.

Cheltenham Food & Wine Festival

June 15-17 2012

Location: Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Tickets: Friday £3.00, Saturday & Sunday £6.00, children under 16 go free. Advanced purchase on-line, Sat & Sun, £4.60

  • The Cookery Theatre – featuring demonstrations by leading chefs and celebrity’s from around the region.
  • Food Lovers Marquees – featuring over 200 food & drink producers
  • Real Ale Marquee – taste a wonderful selection of local and regional ales & cider
  • Festival Stage – musicians playing a variety of music from Jazz to Classical to Folk
  • International Wine Theatre – Featuring interactive and educational courses covering a variety of subjects from buying, tasting, grape varieties and styles, from old world to new world wine.
  • Real Food & Drinks Theatre – talks on Nutrition to Real Ale; Cheese to Gin.
  • Arts & Craft – Meet the artists, discuss their work, and buy unique hand-made products direct from the maker. Crafts include fused glass, jewellery, painting, pottery, wood-turning, photography.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day.  Sometimes it’s a struggle trying to decide what I want to should eat.  Usually I’ll make myself a nice warming bowl of porridge or maybe a veggie filled frittata or even a smoothie. However, every now and then, I want something different, something that I really shouldn’t eat, and today was one of those days.

I wanted pancakes.  Proper pancakes.  Not the crepes that they call pancakes here, but proper, fluffy, hearty American pancakes!

Now I had a choice; do I make then with all the ingredients I shouldn’t really have (white flour, butter and sugar) or do I attempt to make them a bit healthy (whole wheat flour, low fat margarine and fruit sugar/fructose)?  I went with the latter.  Do I get a gold star for that?

Pancakes are really easy to make and it’s 99.9% guaranteed that you have these ingredients in your kitchen cupboard at any time.  I mean really now, who doesn’t have eggs, milk, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in their kitchens??

I’ll give you the white flour recipe and the whole wheat flour recipe…the choice is yours on which ingredients you use, but the method is the same.

The most important thing when making pancakes is that you want your pan to be hot right from the get go.  If the pan isn’t hot enough from the beginning, the batter will stick.  If you have a cast iron fry pan, all the better.

~~AMERICAN PANCAKES~~

Before you even start getting the ingredients together, get that pan on the stove and get it heating up.

(healthy)                                                      (not so healthy)

1 egg                                                            1 egg

3/4 C low-fat milk                                           3/4 C whole milk

2 Tbsp low-fat margarine, melted                    2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 C whole wheat flour                                     1 C white flour

1 Tbsp fructose/fruit sugar                              1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt                                                    1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking powder                                    1 Tbsp baking powder

 

Combine the egg, milk and fat and whisk.  If you have an electric mixer, use that to make it more fluffy.  Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients and blend together.  (I like to mix everything together in a 2-Cup Pyrex measuring jug)

Pour the mixture (or use a ladle) into the HOT dry pan in the size of pancake you wish.  It may be easier to make one at a time unless you plan on making silver-dollar pancakes, then you’ll be able to make 2-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan.

Leave undisturbed for 1-2 minutes or until you start to see bubbles forming on the surface.  Gently lift the pancake with a metal spatula and flip over.  Again leave for 1-2 minutes or until you see the pancake really starting to fluff up.  Remove to a warm dish and continue with the remaining pancakes.

To the batter you can add sliced fruit such as bananas or strawberries or even blueberries. Or try chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans or perhaps chocolate chips. (I added walnuts and topped with more walnuts and raisins).

The traditional ‘serve with’ items are butter and maple syrup but that is your choice.  I had mine with a bit of maple syrup only.

 

 

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Oat, Millet and Nut Bars

A while back, I did a post on Quinoa and thought that I would do another one on a different grain; Millet.

Although millet is most often associated as the main ingredient in bird seed, it is not just “for the birds.” Creamy like mashed potatoes or fluffy like rice, millet is a delicious grain that can accompany many types of food. As with most grains, millet is available in markets throughout the year.

Millet is tiny in size and round in shape and can be white, gray, yellow or red. The most widely available form of millet found in stores is the hulled variety, although traditional couscous made from cracked millet can also be found. The term millet refers to a variety of grains, some of which do not belong to the same genus. – http://www.whfoods.org

I do make millet rather often and usually use it in place of rice or potatoes.  I simply just boil it up for about 30 minutes and add a bit of salt and olive oil or a small bit of butter and eat it that way…but I was looking for something different to do with it.

Rather than make them into a porridge-like breakfast cereal, I was looking to make them into bars, something like a granola bar or a flapjack.  Some recipes I came across used puffed millet.  I inquired about trying to make them puffy at home, but from what I read, that’s nearly impossible as a high pressure system is used which could not be replicated at home.  I also read that eating grains in their ‘puffed’ form reduces their nutrition value and also really isn’t that good for you due to the chemicals used to puff them up.

I did some searching and came across a couple of recipes for millet bars and decided to combine some ingredients from each to make up my own bars.  I will say that most bars of this nature do call for some fat (butter) and sweetener (agave nectar, brown sugar, maple syrup) although it doesn’t appear to be a great deal of either.  I will also say that at the moment I’m typing this, I haven’t yet made the bars, although by the time you get to the bottom of this post, I will have done so.  I started typing this last night, just to get a bit of a head start considering all these words were in my head at the time and didn’t want to lose them, especially since I knew I was about to have either a glass of wine (or two) or a martini!

So until tomorrow….

************************

Well here we are again (in case you’re wondering…martini) and the millet bars have been made, although they didn’t quite come out as I hoped.  They taste OK, they just didn’t stay together like they should, so they’re in chunks rather than bars.  I’m not sure why that is, perhaps I need to add a bit more liquid stuff or less dry stuff.  (side note:  I’m a day late in posting so these were actually made yesterday – today they’re a bit more set and held together and they taste pretty good!)

If you’d like to try your hand at these, please do.

*For the wheat bran/oat bran/wheat germ, I used a mixture of wheat bran and oat bran.  I didn’t have any wheat germ, but I saw recipes that called for it, so am including it here.  Use any mix of them you wish, or just use one or two of them – the choice is yours!

~~OAT, MILLET AND NUT BARS~~

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 C rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 C millet seeds

1/2 C wheat bran/oat bran/wheat germ*

1 C nuts, chopped (any combo of what you like – I used pecans, walnuts and almonds)

1/2 C seeds (again, any combo – I used sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, linseed/flax and hemp)

WET INGREDIENTS

1/2 C dates, chopped

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

2 Tbsp agave nectar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a 9″ X 13″ baking dish or line with parchment paper and set aside.

Put all the dry ingredients onto a dry baking sheet and stir around with your fingers.  Place in oven and toast for 15 minutes.

While this is in the oven, combine the wet ingredients and the salt in a sauce pan large enough to hold all the nuts/grains. Heat gently and stir until warm and dissolved.  Do not let it boil or it will start to burn. (do as I say, not as I did!)

Remove the nuts/grains from oven and turn temperature down to 150C/300F.  Add the grains to the saucepan and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared baking dish and with wet fingers, press mixture down and flatten.  Be careful as the mixture will be quite warm.  If it’s too hot for you, use a pallet knife dipped in water.

Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan.  Cut them when just warm.  When completely cooled, store in a plastic bag or airtight container.

*********

I put the chunks into a plastic bag.  Whatever crumbs I had left, I put into a bowl and added milk.  It makes a nice cereal too!

♥ Terri  ♥♥