The Granola Bars To Rule Them All

...and in the bars

We had a go at making buns yesterday. There was a number of issues with this. It was all going okay mess wise until Ted got up from his nap. Then half the ingredients went on the countertop/floor/cat.

My husband was working from home and had made an omelette for his lunch, leaving no eggs. No problemo, I made a chia egg replacement. (1 tbsp milled chia, 3 tbsp water = stir and leave sit for 10-15 mins = 1 egg)

I had no regular flour so I used spelt. That doesn’t usually cause an issue for me either.

Then I realised that the milled chia seed I thought I had was in fact a mix: one third chia, one third linseed and one third hemp. So, still very good for you but maybe not suitable when what the recipe really truly was asking for was “2 eggs”.

Anyway, it put in half an hour with the kids on a rainy afternoon which is never to be sniffed at. Add another ten minutes of fighting over blueberries. The mixture was very light and fluffy and the bowl got licked and the slightly sticky buns eaten, but I don’t think I need waste your time with this particular recipe.

What I will share with you is an entirely foolproof no-bake granola bar recipe which is adaptable to infinity and allows you to fly by the seat of your pants in a way that baked goods don’t usually. I can’t believe I haven’t written about these before. I’ve only made them about sixty seven times. They’re fairly healthy and wholesome to boot.

Foolproof No-Bake Granola Bars

The only 5 ingredients you need

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In which I am a genius and bake a cake

Perry-Final

Inspired.  That’s what I am.  This year we threw caution to the wind and outsourced the birthday party to a play centre. No more tidying the house pre-party, being anxious about all the people arriving and being all squished in our tiny house with it’s tiny living room and tiny kitchen. Then no trying to calm down overexcited kids after it’s all over so we can clean up the mammoth mess. Well, not til next year: there’s no way we can afford to do play centre for every party, but it was nice to push the boat out for once. I didn’t wake up stressed with a  list as long as my arm the morning of the party.  I had one job for Dominic’s birthday, and I didn’t fail.  *High-fives self*

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Octonauts and the Great Birthday Cake Adventure

Do you know what we love in our house? Quinoa. And tofu, and green veg. But do you know what else? Sugar. I won’t lie. I have a desperate sweet tooth.  Every now and then though I take a figary and make some fabulous date-based treat from Susan Jane White’s Extra Virgin Kitchen book, then I promptly eat a row of Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut directly after. My willpower is not strong in this regard.

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Really? Not even “Happy Birthday Jill”?

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In which a cake nearly breaks my heart but turns out well in the end.

how this…

The elder child went and turned 4. Despite my protests that I’m only about 20 I appear to have 2 cats and 2 sons and am Quite Grown Up really. So it was about time we bit the bullet and hosted a party for him and his buddies from Montessori. For birthdays so far we’ve stuck with family affairs except for his 3rd where I was so busy feeding a small baby I was never going to entertain anyone at home. The young lad had a little party in playschool surrounded by friends and everyone was happy. Honestly I think parties could be banned til age 5 at least and kids wouldn’t really notice.

…became this.  This is Bucky.
(image courtesy of disney.wikia.com)

The other small boy is a different affair because he has a July birthday so we got to go to the park for his 1st birthday and invite absolutely everyone we wanted with kids to come along because we didn’t have to squish them in our tiny house or clean up afterwards.

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Starting the year the sugar filled way

I’m destined to always start the New Year on the wrong foot.   Nearly 4 years ago Bump wasn’t playing ball, and didn’t appear til January 8th, so we are bound to a life of always needing copious amounts of cake when all around are dieting.

Picking fancy cake for a growing boy
picking a fancy cake for a growing boy

Plans are afoot.  Books are being flicked through.  The boy is having his first ever not-just-cousins (much as we love cousins!) party and some of his little mates from Montessori are coming.   He is involved in the choosing of friends and of cakes.  He has sophisticated tastes and landed upon a Strawberry & Marscapone number from the Like Mam Used to Bake cookbook.  I’ve decided that I want to enjoy that one in a languid fashion and not with 10 grabby little hands nearby.  So I’ve settled on a pirate ship cake, inspired by Bumbles of Rice and I’ve ordered some Jake & the Neverland Pirates partyware.  (Cunning plan to reuse some of it for someone else’s 2nd birthday…)
Besides that there’ll have to be something not too bad for them – I’m thinking popcorn, fruit salad and cheese straws. Kids are mad for breadsticks so these cheesey ones won’t go astray. I also have a bean dip recipe that if ignored by children should keep me and husband’s energy levels up.

Then of course, there’s his actual birthday which is midweek and cannot go unmarked in ‘school’.  His teachers are wise to my baking, and will be expecting something to appear I’m sure. I’m going with tried and tested Rice Krispie Marsbies which appeared in tray bake form last year as his actual cake.

I’ve made the list, and have disgusted myself by the requirement for a kilo of butter for all these endeavours. Healthy eating starts the day after the party!

The reason I tell you this is for a twofold motivational reason:  If I tell the internet I’m doing something, then I’d better follow through.  So here you have it: I’m recreating Bucky in chocolate cake, and if I eat a mountain of baked goods I’ll be fine because I’ve also signed up to do a half marathon in a couple of months.

Wish me luck & check in again to see the results!