Guilt Free Snickers

My first taste of healthy snickers came about when I was doing my nutritional therapy clinical practice.   One of the students in our practice group brought them in for our practice clients to sample during their break between the first and second part of their consultation.  Everyone in our group of four brought some ‘healthy’ treats.  They were all delicious and I have used these recipes often.  At the time I believe the recipe for the snickers came from ‘The Happy Pear’ David and Stephen Flynn.  I couldn’t believe these were actually healthy, they simply tasted too good!!  That particular recipe is not in the ‘The Happy Pear’ book that I have on my shelf (Yellow cover) but it might be in the later publication (which I think has a blue cover).  In any case, I have seen their recipe on a YouTube video which I will link below.   You can try their recipe too and decide what suits you best.  The recipe I use here is slightly different but equally as delicious and healthy.  I will also link this video below.  Generally, I will have these ingredients to hand which is why I use this recipe and why I make them regularly.

Ingredients
  • 170g pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100g Oat flour
  • 60g peanuts
  • 100g 70% dark chocolate
Method

Remove the stones (pits) from the dates.   [I use vacuum packed dates which I buy in the ethnic stores].  Soak them in a medium sized bowl of warm water for 2-4 minutes to soften them.  Drain off the water and mix the peanut butter and pinch of salt to the bowl or blender.  Blend them or mix them really well until you have a smooth paste consistency.  Divide the mixture into a 60 / 40 ratio, placing the smaller portion into a separate bowl.  Add the oat flour.  [I use porridge oats and just blend them into a flour.  You can use a Nutribullet, a hand blender or food processor for this]. Add the oats to the bigger portion of the date/butter mix.  This forms the base of the bars.  Cover a baking tray or chopping board with a baking sheet and roll the mixture flat with a rolling pin.  Do your best to form a square or rectangular base

At this point you can place it in the fridge to harden or you can continue with making the bars.   If you decide not to let it harden just be a little more careful when spreading the remaining butter/date mix onto the base.  Cover it completely.

For the next layer you add the peanuts.  [It is easier to buy salted peanuts so this is what I use].  Weigh out the 60g and place them in a sieve under the tap to wash the salt off.  [You can also use unsalted or any other raw nuts].   Dry them with a paper towel and place them evenly on top of the previous two layers.

Now place this in the freezer to harden for up to 30 minutes.  Melt 100g of dark chocolate before removing the bars from the freezer.  Here you have an option.  You can either cut the bars to size and pour the chocolate over each bar [as seen in the video] or, what I tend to do is just cover the whole square with the melted chocolate, place it back in the fridge and cut it into smaller squares later.  In this way the chocolate is just on the top – more like a tray bake and less like a bar!

A full size bar is very filling and if you are very hungry its perfect, but I tend to make smaller portions for a satisfying snack.

Extra notes:  I usually double the ingredients and make more.  They keep very well in the fridge in a sealed container.  I would love to say that they last for ages in the fridge but I couldn’t stand over that statement since they don’t stay there for very long!! 🙂

These bars are nutrient dense.  The dates, oats, peanuts and dark chocolate are all bursting with healthy nutrition.  I would say the bars might be ‘medium’ on the glycaemic load (GL) scale.  Oats, peanuts and dark chocolate are low GL.  The dates will push this up to a higher GL, however, dates are natural sugar and are nutrient dense.

I have noticed a very big difference between a bar like this and a purchased ‘normal’ bar made on simple sugars.  The very first thing I have observed when it comes to eating simple sugars is that ‘one’ is never enough.  Simple sugars tend to ‘fire up’ the addiction centers in your brain the minute it hits your taste buds and you immediately think ‘I want more’, or ‘I need more’.  Watch for this – you’ll be amazed.  By comparison, I seldom find myself running back for more straight away when I eat a homemade bar like this one.   It seems to satisfy both the sweet tooth and the hungry tummy at the same time, without triggering addiction.

I hope you will give them a try and see for yourself.

Anne ♥

Here is the link to the YouTube ‘The Happy Pear’ recipe – click here   4.52 mins

Here is the link to the YouTube recipe I use above – click here   6.04 mins

Savoury Lentil Cake

This post is an update / addition to the previous blog entitled ‘Red Split Lentil Bread’.  As promised I tried the second recipe suggestion given in the video link provided in the previous blog.   The ingredients to make the lentil bread are the same as this savoury cake but with the addition of a few more ingredients namely cheese, onion and herbs.  The rest of the instructions given for the lentil bread are the same for this recipe.  For the additions I used Greek Feta (200g) diced, a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley (because I have it growing in my back yard), a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped onion and a 1/4 teaspoon of coarse black pepper. 

Other varieties of cheese you can use include Halloumi, Mozzarella or basically any soft cheese.   Other suggested herbs are Dill or Basil.  I used finely chopped red onion but you could also use fresh spring onion, dried onion or chives.  

When I previously made the lentil bread I just greased the tin with olive oil as suggested in the video but I found it difficult to get the bread out of the baking tray without breaking it.  This time I used a baking tin liner.  I cooked this one in a round baking tin.  When the cake cooled down completely I was able to peel the liner off carefully without breaking the cake.

As I suspected, the savoury cake is really delicious and I am glad to be able to add it to my favourite recipes for regular use.  I had a slice of the cake this morning for breakfast served cold with some fresh cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing (on the tomatoes).   The cheese and herbs combine harmoniously with the rest of the ingredients.   It would make a great lunch dish combined with a mixed salad.   Again, it holds together very well and so it could be added to your picnic basket for a filling and nutritious meal on the go.

 

You may be aware that there are concerns worldwide about shortages of wheat and other food products.  You will know how quickly we were plunged into fuel shortages and rising fuel prices.  I anticipate that more flexibility may be called for when it comes to our food choices in order to get the best nutrition into your diet.  ‘Bread’ is a real staple in our diet in Ireland.  We are slow to abandon bread even when it has a deleterious effect on our health.  Upon being told that her starving peasant subjects had no bread to eat, Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France during the French revolution, apparently responded “Let them eat cake”!  OK, so we’re not quite there.  We still have a wide variety of foods available to us, but changes could be coming down the line.  Save this cake recipe as it is very nutrition dense, not to mention delicious.   Marie-Antoinette’s subjects would have been well fed on this cake.  Of course, I get that the point of the story is not really ‘the bread/cake’ but the fact that she had no awareness of the real experience of her ‘peasants’ lives, their experience of life being so completely removed from her own.  Hmmm….. sound familiar??  Have we closed the gap between the rich and the poor 3-4 centuries later??  ‘Food for thought’!   If we did have to resort to using other flours to make bread or bread substitutes, lentils are a really good choice.  Apart from being relatively inexpensive, they have a long shelf life so you could buy in bulk now and be prepared.   It’s culinary uses are many and varied.  Lentils are ‘gluten free’ and are therefore unlikely to cause an immune reaction or digestive issues unlike wheat products.

Try it folks, you won’t be disappointed.  

🙂

Anne

Red Split Lentil Bread

I came across this recipe on YouTube.  I’ll provide the link below.  There are many versions of it online so you can check them out.

This one is basic and within the video the presenter gives a second option which includes the addition of cheese, herbs and spices to make a more savoury bread.  I hope to try that for my next bake.

The ingredients are simple and accessible.  It is ‘gluten free’ but not dairy free.  The presenter does mention ways around that, so you could check that out.  For bread I usually buy sourdough from Lidl and have noticed a recent price increase which is quite a leap from €1.95 to €2.15 for a cob.  I’m aware that I can make bread from oat flour and I do use this for crumbles and other bakes but for me personally I tend not to digest grains very well, especially early in the day when I’m most likely to eat bread.  The fermenting process with sourdough makes digestion easier for me, but I’m always looking for other healthy alternatives.  Also, in case my ‘go to’ bread becomes even more expensive, in these ‘uncertain times’, I will have some tried and tested options to fall back on.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of red split lentils
  • 1 cup natural yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 20g baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 60 mls of Olive Oil
Method:

Wash the red split lentils in a bowl until the water runs clear.  Leave the lentils to soak overnight in water.  Drain off the water through a sieve.  With a food processor (blade attachment) liquidize the lentils.  Remove half the mixture into a separate bowl.  To half the mixture still in the food processor, add the eggs, yogurt, olive oil, salt and baking powder.  Run until completely blended opening the lid to scrap down the side a couple of times.   Pour this mixture into the bowl with the rest of the lentils and mix well.  Pour into a greased tin.  Spread some seeds on top.  The video presenter used Sesame and Nigella seeds.  I did not have these to hand so I used sunflower seeds.  Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 35-40 minutes.

To the left is a picture of the bread.  It turned out well.  I made the mistake of turning the oven dial to 280°C and only noticed it at about 15 minutes in, so this may have affected the bake? I’ll know the next time I bake it if there is a difference!  When I am making this again I think it might be better to line the baking tin, as I found it difficult to get the bread out.  The video had suggested using olive oil to grease the tin.

My thoughts on the bread

It’s texture is more ‘cake like’ than standard ‘bread like’ and the taste is more savoury than floury.  It is a little bit crumbly at first but when it is completely cooled down it holds together quite well.  It has a richer taste than standard bread.  It goes well with savoury food like nut butter and with a salad.  I have tried toasting some under the grill and in a toaster for a heated up version. It does not brown like standard bread, but it still works well toasted.   It goes down very well (digestion wise) I have had no acid or digestive discomfort after eating it.  It also goes well with sweet foods like banana or jam, however, the more ‘cake like’ texture may not stand up to a lot of handling.  For example, it might be better to slice some banana onto the bread rather than mash it on which could cause the bread to break up under the pressure.  Not ideal if you want to lift a slice up to your mouth!

In terms of nutritional value and value for money I will definitely be adding this to my ‘go to recipes’.  Lentils are a very good source of beneficial carbohydrates, protein, fibre, B vitamins and a variety of minerals including iron.  They are ‘gluten free’ and inexpensive.  I always use Free Range or Organic eggs.  Thankfully these are easily available to me.  Extra Virgin Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids which are very healthy fats to consume.   So lots of good nutrition there!!

I am storing this bread in an airtight container and because temperatures are quite warm at the moment, I’m keeping this in the fridge.  If you are of the mindset that bread should only present and taste a certain way, then this may be a bit of a stretch for you, but I have to say I’m very happy with the outcome.

 

 

←  Click this icon to view the video entitled:

Lentil Bread Recipe’ by Refika’s Kitchen

[Video is approximately 9 mins]

 

Enjoy 🙂

Anne