Tag Archives: healthy snack

Nutritious peanut butter granola bars

Back in Leeds we were obsessed with peanut butter. At one point we had 5x1kg tubs of 100% full-skin peanut butter from Meridian.

Do you even lift, bro?
Do you even lift, bro?

I miss those weekends when we used to use the oven since early morning. We (at least I) used to get up around 8 AM, maybe go to the gym, get a free coffee from Waitrose, and head to the market on my way back. Then I would turn on the oven, mix up the granola mass and relax with Auste in the living room, on our cozy little carpet, enjoying the view through our huge floor-to-ceiling window. Then I would take out the granola, impatiently break off a tasty chunk and burn my fingers. Those were the days!

Three full trays of granola - some were for making bars, some for granola cereal
Three full trays of granola – some were for making bars, some for granola cereal

At that point I had been reading up loads of granola recipes online, and trying them almost daily. Then we started wrapping them up in nice paper with ribbons and packing them as snacks for our trips, only because we had loads left. The good thing about granola is that you can keep it for months and the taste stays the same. If the bars come out too hard or break up into uneven pieces, you can make them smaller and keep in a jar to use as a granola cereal!

Wrap them nicely, grab a coffee before the train - it looks as if you've bought them from a fancy coffee shop!
Wrap them nicely, grab a coffee before the train – it will look as if you’ve bought them from a fancy coffee shop!
A beautiful morning enjoying home-baking and a nice cup of tea
A beautiful morning enjoying home-baking and a nice cup of tea

PART 1/3

I call this the ‘sugar’ batch, because I replaced 50% honey with sugar – you can make it no sugar, all honey, or the opposite if you’re vegan.

Mix all of the below ingredients in a BIG bowl (this is a big batch):

500g peanut butter

100g sugar [if no sugar, read on]

and 100g wheatgerm

then add 400g oats

100g ground nuts (1 cup) (almonds and cashews)

50g dried nuts (hazels) – I just put them in a bag, and smash a few times with a jar or a strong bottle

pinch of salt

and a teaspoon baking powder

Mix everything.

No need for fancy equipment - after watching Jamie Oliver's shows a few times you pick up a lot of simple yet genius ideas!
No need for fancy equipment – after watching Jamie Oliver’s shows a few times you pick up a lot of simple yet genius ideas!

PART 2/3

Once you’ve got the dry’ish mixture, add 200g honey if using sugar (if no sugar, add 400g) – if your peanut butter is not 100% peanuts, reduce the amount of honey / sugar accordingly.

Add 100g soy milk. Mix well.

 

PART 3/3

Now this is UP TO YOU, but it worked very well for me, because the bars were solid but not too hard, plus I like the below ingredients due to their availability and nutrient content:

Add 25g ground chia seeds and 25g ground linseeds.

Bake in a preheated oven (160 C) for about 17 mins (keep checking!).

 

Because I literally made a bucket of granola mass, I separated it into different containers, and experimented with different flavours. Auste enjoyed batch #3, but I loved #4, because it was very chocolatey and after eating them I didn’t want to have any other snacks.

 

Variation 1: cranberry and coconut

Variation 2: cranberry and pumpkin seeds

Variation 3: cranberry, pumpkin seeds and raw cacao nibs

Variation 4: dark chocolate

Variation 5: goji berries and banana coins

Even though they're high in sugar and fat, they're vegan and the peanut butter adds some protein, and the seeds add some micro-nutrients. If they can replace a chocolate bar or a slice of cake, why not?
Even though they’re high in sugar and fat, they’re vegan and the peanut butter adds some protein, and the seeds add some micro-nutrients. If they can replace a chocolate bar or a slice of cake, why not?

Falafel bites

After a good year and a half of planning and organising our thoughts around pursuing our long-term goals, Auste and I have finally come back to Lithuania. However, before we settle down indefinitely, we have a little trip planned ahead (can’t believe we’re leaving in five days’ time!). But before that, we have been exploring our country together, as we met in England and haven’t had a chance to do so.

Due to the weather being incredibly warm, we were spending our days (and nights) camping, swimming, foraging and sightseeing in general thus we haven’t had time to post many recipes. But we went to a vegan picnic in Vilnius yesterday, so we finally spent some time in the kitchen.

vegan picnic Vilnius

Even though we’re not vegan, we have one dish which I started calling our “family staple”, and it doesn’t require any animal products. I have made these tiny falafel many times, and each time they used to turn out somewhat different, but never again! After a session of about 150 cute little chickpea bites, I have nailed it down to precise measurements.

falafel ingredients

For about 30 golf-ball sized falafel you will need:

3 400g cans of chickpeas, drained (or soak and cook dried chickpeas)

2 small onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 fresh chilli, chopped

1 inch ginger, grated (optional)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 handful of fresh parsley (optional) chopped, without stalks

1 big handful of fresh coriander (a must!) chopped, without stalks

8 tablespoons of plain flour (use chickpea flour if gluten free)

Oil for frying (I usually use extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil)

falafel

Directions:

1 – Mash the chickpeas with a fork. I just gently crush them, as using a blender makes the mass too runny.

2 – Grind the cumin – I recommend toasting the seeds in a dry pan to release the flavours first. If you have time, try using a pestle and mortar to feel a really aromatic cumin flavour, but an electric grinder works fine too.

3 – Mix the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. I prefer not to puree them in a blender, as tiny pieces of onion and chilli give an element of surprise for each bite. Or you can puree half of the ingredients and leave the rest chopped. If you’re one of the people who just can’t stand wasting food, blend in the coriander and parsley stalks.

4 – Mix the chickpeas with the onion mass, and the rest of ingredients: salt, pepper, ground coriander seeds and cumin.

5 – Add the chopped coriander, parsley and flour. Please note, I only add flour to make the falafel balls stick together, as the canned chickpeas I buy are very soft. I prefer plain flour as it doesn’t change the flavour, but Auste said she liked them with gram (chickpea) flour, which (in my opinion) made the falafel taste of yellow split-peas. I made a batch without flour, but the falafel just dissolved into the oil when both deep and shallow frying them.

6 – Form tiny falafel balls with your hands and fry batches of 15-20 in an oiled pan until slightly browned and crispy. I use 1-2 tablespoons of oil per batch, and toss them straightaway to cover all sides. Otherwise, once you place the falafel in the pan and turn them over one by one, one side will absorb most of the oil, and the other sides will be likely to burn.

These tiny falafel bites go exceptionally well with hummus, raita, even guacamole or on pitta bread with salad.

falafel with hummus