Sweet without the big ‘S’

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Big ‘S’ I hear you say? Sugar, the refined kind that so many people find so difficult to quit. I don’t actually think that refined sugar has ever been a problem to me. Well, not since I was maybe 8 and I used to visit the little shop in our village and buy penny sweets. And boy did I pay in all the fillings I had and all the pain at the dentist. I think as a society or even a nation we crave the sweetness of certain foods. We crave the bar of chocolate whilst sat in front of the TV. We crave the decadent dessert at the end of a meal. We crave the packet of sweets whilst on a journey in the car. Why? Well, in my opinion because firstly it is available,  and secondly because many of the savoury foods we eat today also contain refined sugar. Bread and shop bought tomato sauces probably being the worst culprits. I don’t buy jars of tomato sauce, I make my own. I don’t buy shop bought bread unless I am desperate, I try 99% of the time to buy my own. I don’t eat take aways. I make my own. I don’t crave chocolate whilst in front of the TV. I don’t have a TV and because I have spent the last 10 years stripping my diet right back to the good stuff. The home-made stuff and the stuff that is good for me and my family.  This stripping back has meant I don’t want the refined, bad stuff and if I do I eat a banana, or grab some grapes. If I feel like a pudding I make one and these home-made cereal bars are guaranteed to give you a sugar boost without the refined sugar we buy from the supermarkets. Instead they contain the most delicious and beautiful natural sugar you will ever eat, honey!!!

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a 30cm x 19cm cake tin with baking parchment. (I use a shallow tin, a bit like a swiss roll tin) In a large bowl place 60g of mixed seeds (your choice, I use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds) with 1tbsp of linseeds, 25g desiccated coconut or if you prefer ground almonds, 2 very ripe, medium bananas, mashed, 160g oats and 50g chopped dried apricots.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan slowly melt 100g butter with 3tbsp clear honey. Pour the butter and honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until all the dried ingredients are coated in the butter and honey. Then tip the mixture into the tin and press down with the back of a metal spoon. Bake for 30minutes until golden brown in colour.

Once baked leave (I said leave it!!) to cool in the tin and then mark out into 14 even bars. Then allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. It will keep for up to 3 days in an air tight container (as if it will!!!)

A few alternatives – I think a cereal bar like this will adapt easily to any type of ingredient you might have in the cupboard. Let’s be honest it is just a fancy flap jack recipe. So providing you have oats, butter and honey all else is just a bonue. Why not add a handful of raisins or sultanas? If you don’t like these then add some dried cranberries or maybe some dried apple pieces.

I really hope you enjoy making this recipe. It is quick and is a brilliant recipe to make with the children. There is hardly any weighing but lots of mixing, pressing and hooray, eating!!!

If you are trying to break a habit of eating refined sugar this surely has to be a step in the right direction. I promise if this is in your lunchbox at work or in you cupboard if you are at home. But if it is going to work then you need to get rid of the ‘poison’, strike it off your shopping list and start replacing so that you don’t feel too deprived. 🙂

As always thanks for reading.



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