flapjack

Vegan Berry Oat Bars

These dark chocolate covered bars are packed with nuts, seeds, fresh blackberries and oats; they’re essentially loaded flapjacks without the refined sugar and dairy, so you can feel a little better about having that extra piece (plus they’re vegan and absolutely don’t taste like those cardboard-esque ‘healthy’ alternatives to baked goods- you know the ones I mean).

Ingredients

  • 175g coconut oil
  • 175g your favourite nut butter (I used a combination of almond and peanut)
  • 175g agave syrup
  • 400g oats (I used Royal Oats Jumbo variety which you can find here)
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 50g flaxseeds
  • 50g chia seeds
  • 150g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 200g fresh raspberries
  • 200g fresh blackberries
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • freeze dried raspberries (optional)
  • a few chopped pistachios (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c (325f/ gas mark 3). Grease and line a square brownie tin (about 22x22cm).
  2. Place the coconut oil, nut butter and agave syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until everything melts together, then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the oats, spices, salt, seeds, pistachios, blackberries and raspberries. Pour the slightly cooled nutty liquid into the bowl and mix until the dry ingredients are all evenly coated (don’t be too rough with the berries as they can break up quite easily- you want some to remain whole!).
  4. Tip the oat mix into the prepared tin and pack down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Once baked, leave the traybake to cool completely in the tin. When it’s cooled and set up a little melt the dark chocolate (either in a ban marie or in short blasts in the microwave) and spread evenly all over the top. Sprinkle on the freeze dried raspberries and chopped pistachios (if you’re using them) and chill until the chocolate has set. Slice into bars and enjoy!
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Guilt Free Baking

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Not everyone can afford to eat full fat, full sugar baked goods every day of the week, however that’s not to say we don’t crave a sweet hit once in a while… this is where my two new recipes come in. I have been experimenting with flavours and substitutions for a couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that these are the best concoctions (so far)  if you’re after a healthier baked alternative. So, without further ado, here are the recipes.

First up are my skinny blueberry, banana and lemon muffins (pictured above). This recipe is great as it contains very low sugar levels- instead of tonnes of white caster sugar, apple sauce, bananas and blueberries add sweetness in a healthy and natural way. This muffin is also low in fat with only 2 tbsp oil per 12 muffins! Give these a try as they taste delicious (you wouldn’t guess they contained no butter or refined sugar) and are moist and fluffy.

Ingredients

180g self raising flour, 50g plain flour, 3tsp baking powder, pinch salt, tbsp cinnamon, tsp ginger, 2 tbsp brown sugar.

1 egg, 180 ml milk, zest of 3 lemons, 1 mashed banana, 3 tbsp natural honey, 4 tbsp apple sauce, 2tbsp vegetable oil, 2 handfuls of blueberries.

Method

1) Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

2) Whisk up the wet ingredients in a jug, then pour into the dry.

3) Mix lightly until just combined (overmixing will result in close, heavy muffins!)

4) Fold in the blueberries and spoon into muffin cases. Bake at 190 for 25 minutes, cool and enjoy!

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My second recipe is for these new and improved trail mix protein bars. They are full of healthy ingredients but also provide a great energy boost due to the high protein levels and slow releasing carbohydrates.

Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats, 1 handful sunflower seeds, 1 handful pumpkin seeds, 1 handful dried cranberries, handful raisins, handful dried prunes (chopped), 1 1/2 cups of mixed chopped nuts (I use walnuts, hazelnuts and cashews), chia seeds (for topping).

5tbsp peanut butter, 3tbsp honey, 200ml water.

Method

1) In a pan, melt together the honey, peanut butter and water. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

2) Combine all fruits, nuts and oats in a large bowl. Pour cooled liquid into the bowl and mix well to ensure no dryness remains in the rolled oats (if there is too little liquid, add a squirt more honey or a dash or water).

3) Line a baking tin with greaseproof paper and pack the ingredients tightly in, pushing down with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle generously with chia seeds.

4) Place in the freezer for at least 40 minutes then chop up and enjoy as a breakfast bar or snack. Store in the fridge.