Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m fighting toddler-led exhaustion at the moment. I’ve spent this week trying to wear life like a loose fitting cloak, instead of the size-too-small straightjacket that I’ve been recently inhabiting. It’s working. Slowly. Much slower than my perennially fast moving brain would like.
With tongue firmly embedded in cheek, I blame TV for my belief that all problems should be easy to resolve within half an hour. I’ve watched countless shows where something terrible happens and everything falls apart, and then half-an-hour to an hour later everything is where it was when we first tuned in, and everyone is friends. And as we all know, everything on TV is true.
In lieu of TV being the answer to my life’s problems – this week I’ve slept as much as possible, called friends and family for laughter and occasional tears, allowed myself the space for my house to be not clean and tidy enough, and my family have been eating food like pasta with store bought sauce. Which they loved and both clamoured for seconds. Anyone else ever feel a teeny bit resentful towards an inanimate jar of tomato pasta sauce?
I’m still very tired. As testament to that, this post is astonishing difficult to write, as my subconscious, and most of conscious mind, remains firmly offline. But I’m not in the completely shattered state I was in at the beginning of the week and I’m beginning to pick up the basics again, like cooking.
This muesli bar is something I wanted to play with since starting back at the gym (anyone remember my lime and coconut slice post?!). I find that after a workout (or after a meal, or in the middle of the night) I want something that’s satisfying and filling, without being too sweet, heavy or guilt-laden. I made a quite few versions of this recipe and this one, although the crumbliest, was my favourite.
I wanted to note that I haven’t included quinoa flakes here because they’re fashionable. As with all my recipes, I trial ingredients until I find those that work best. The traditional inclusion of rolled oats were delicious and slightly less crumbly, so feel free to use those instead, but I found that the quinoa flakes, being smaller and lighter, allowed for the other flavours to shine through far more readily. I also used the dried fruit and seeds that I felt like eating, please feel free to create your own with whatever you have to hand. Similarly, I love the smokey favour of pure maple syrup, but it can be replaced with honey if you don’t swing that way. Feel free to wear this recipe as lightly as I’m trying to wear life!
- 200g quinoa flakes
- 50g dried currants
- 50g dried pawpaw
- 50g dried cranberries
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 40g sesame seeds
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 40g chia seeds
- 40g LSA mix
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 225g natural crunchy peanut butter (peanuts not your thing? Replace with 1 ripe, mashed banana and add when mixing the wet and dry ingredients together)
- 65g maple syrup plus a little more to finish
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 75g light brown sugar (if using the banana, increase this to 150g)
Preheat oven to 160˚C / 340˚F
Line a brownie tin (mine is 20cm x 30cm x 5cm) with baking paper, making sure that there’s enough to go up and over the sides a little
Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well
Put all the wet ingredients in a pan over a very low heat and stir until melted and mixed together
Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well (I use my hands to ensure a thorough mix)
Scoop into the prepared brownie tin and press down firmly
Trickle a little more maple syrup over the top
Place in the oven and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly golden
Leave to cool completely in the tin (be patient – it will crumble if you cut while it’s still warm), then turn out and cut into squares with a sharp knife. These bars will keep for 5-7 days in an airtight tin.