Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love At First Bite - Muesli Bars

Sweet Adeventures Blog Hop

This month's Sweet adventures blog hop is hosted by Nic of Dining with A Stud.
I had great intentions of doing something wonderful. Time was not my friend. Sometime in the future I will post the cake I planned. In the meantime here is my favorite muesli bars recipe.

Have you noticed that food doesn't taste like it used too? I am not sure if this is a case of selective memories or fact.  We seem to be paying more for our food, getting less and what we do get is so often full of additives and cheap bulkers.
The price of snack foods like muesli bars is getting ridiculous.

Muesli Bars started in Europe and the United Kingdom as a traditional slice or tray bake called 'flapjacks', made mostly of ground rolled oats, butter and honey or brown sugar, baked, then cut into bars and intended as a simple snack.

Muesli is a Swiss invention and traditionally was uncooked rolled oats, bran threads, wheat germ, dried or fresh fruit and nuts. This is credited to Dr Bircher and his sanatorium.
Way back in the 1850’s Granula was developed as a health food by Dr Caleb Jackson. It was made of whole wheat flour, sugar and water.
Kellogs, of course, soon created something similar and called it Granola to avoid any messy legal stuff with Dr Jackson. In the 1960’s they revamped the product by adding fruit and nuts and calling it Granola, specifically aiming the product at the health food (hippy) market.

Granola bars, as we know them, appeared on the supermarket shelves in the early 1970’s and are credited to Stanley Mason who sold the idea to American food company ‘Sovex’.
Mason was an amazingly prolific 20th century inventor who is credited with inventing a plethora of other things including the disposable diaper, form fitting sanitary pads, the squeezable sauce bottle, the muesli or granola bar, Mason ware - the first microwave cookware, foaming toothpaste, self-heating shaving cream, the "Wow" Playtex plastic under-wire bra and the doorknob mounted burglar alarm. His company Simco (a think-tank of inventors) is credited with another huge range of products including an easy-to-open, stringless Band-Aid package; surgical masks; plastic dental floss and a new dental amalgam system; adult Depends diapers; a new method for making cat litter; a self-heating pizza box; a sonic method of sealing chip packages; hair dye; designs for Tupperware; and invented packaging for cookies, baby wipes, shampoo, and so on and even more so on.

The modern muesli or granola bar varies from a fairly healthy snack to a cereal bar full of sugar, preservatives and anything else the maker cares to throw in.
Finding one that is low in both fat and sugar is not an exercise for the faint hearted. Finding one that is peanut and soy free is another challenge. Good luck if you also need gluten and egg free. The solution is obvious. Make your own. There are a lot of recipes on the net, I didn’t want one that used eggs or peanuts. If it didn’t need baking - Even better.

I, of course, went on a web surf and spent quite a bit of time perusing the many recipes available. This is a combination of many and what I had in the pantry. It could be made just using a pre-packaged good quality baked muesli. I mix up my own cereal mixture to give us more variety and still cater for No 2 son who is allergic to so much stuff. This isn’t particularly low in fat or sugar however it is tasty and then if you are concerned about it making you fat get outside and run around a while, or cut it into smaller pieces. Husband and No 2 son are those irritating people who always look half-starved so it isn’t a big issue in our house.

Muesli Bars

1 cup flaked almonds
1 cup coconut flakes or dessicated coconut
1 cup LSA (I buy this pre-ground mix of linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds in my local health food shop)
½ cup cold pressed macadamia oil, margarine or butter
½ cup organic maple syrup or honey. (Pure maple syrup is better for you than honey but that’s another story)
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice or cinnamon
2 1/2 cups toasted muesli
½ cup chopped dried fruit such as dried apricots, apples or sultanas.

Line a 30cm x 25xm baking dish with bake paper.

Spread the nuts and coconut in this dish and roast in a 180° Celsius oven until just golden.

Add the LSA and mix with the nuts and coconut. Return to the oven and cook until the nuts and coconut are golden (They change colour quickly so don’t wander off while you are doing this).

While this is happening combine the maple syrup (or honey), oil (or margarine or butter) and sugar in a small saucepan.
Melt, while stirring, over low heat and when the sugar has dissolved turn it up slightly and let it bubble for 2 minutes. Keep stirring it regularly so it doesn’t stick and burn.

Combine the spice, muesli, dried fruit, roasted nuts and coconut in a large bowl. Add the melted mixture and stir well.

Quickly press into the lined dish and leave to cool overnight. If it is hot weather you can put it in the refrigerator but otherwise room temperature is OK.

When it has cooled and set cut into bar sizes and enjoy.
I store it between layers of the bake paper from the tin so it doesn't stick together.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Love at First Bite - Sweet Adventures

Don't panic I am not about to review some sort of vampire romance. I am going to share with you Sweet Adventures . This is the name given to the bloghop started by a group of 4 sharing, wonderful, weight increasing (mine, not theirs) women. Damn them all. (Not really who doesn't love food porn).
"When Jen Le Delicieux, JJ 84th & 3rd, Christina Hungry Australian, Heather Kitchen Crusader and I were chatting one evening about a blog hop, we had no idea it could turn in to Sweet Adventures."
That's  how Nic of Dining with a Stud put it.

Interested??? I was. I didn't go in any of the previous hops due to firstly not knowing and then last month, when I did know, I was in the middle of the DIET and not game to cheat at all. This month I am 8 kilos down and running - well learning how to run safely. This means running a bit, then walking and gasping for air, then running again. It works, you can read about that on my other blog under the posting Run, Fat Bitch, Run

Any way back to Sweet Adventures and 'Love at First Bite'.

Ever stuck something in your mouth and thought  - after some stunned seconds - 'I don't ever need to have sex again!!! I just need to eat this regularly instead'. Or thought 'Oh thank you GOD for giving me this'.

You have to think all these things because you can't risk opening your mouth and loosing a crumb of this miracle you are eating.

I have, we all have. That's the theme/challenge that the wonderful bloggers want us to share on the Blog hop at Sweet Adventures.

Want to join up or look at the previous challenge entries? Last month was Death by Chocolate, December was Festive favorites and November was the great Pavlova Challenge.
Simply click on Sweet Adventures and you are there. Or go to Dining with a Stud for all the details for this month.

I'll be there. I am so in on this. I know just the thing. It's sort of inspired by the Lemon Overload Cake I made for my Daughter-In-Law's  Baby Shower. Only this will be better!!!! Curious? Check back on the 16th of February for the details.