The Granola Bars To Rule Them All

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


  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped roughly.
  • 1.5 cups oats


Blend the dates to a sticky ‘dough’ in the food processor – there will still be bits, it won’t be totally smooth. It takes about 30 seconds in the small processor that came with my stick blender (my very favourite kitchen gadget). You can add a couple of tablespoons of water if your dates are a bit dry. I buy the deglet noor ones in Aldi.

Mix the dates, porridge oats and almonds together. If you prefer the flavour you can toast the nuts in the oven for 7-8 mins, and oats for 10 mins at about 175 degrees c.

Warm the nut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan together until they stir together easily. I use a small whisk. I only use good quality nut butters – preferably Meridian, sometimes Kelkin – as close to 100% nuts and nothing else as possible. You can use honey or agave instead of the maple syrup. I often use a blend of honey and maple syrup because y’know, maple syrup is expensive.

Add the nut butter/maple syrup to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Amazing non-messy cling film flattening method in action

Pop the whole mixture into a tray or dish. I use an 8×8 inch silicon pan I have. Now here’s the skilful bit. Place a big bit of cling film on top, then use you your hands to flatten the whole thing down. You’ll never try and use a wooden spoon or spatula again. Place in the fridge to harden.

Optional Extras

That’s the basic bars made but I never leave it there; you can add all sorts to this recipe.

Some of my favourite things are toasted seeds, a variety of chopped nuts, bits of dark chocolate and dried apricot. You can put in some dried cranberries or mango too for a super sweet kick. (I soak the mango in a little warm water for about half an hour and drain before using it) For a real treat you can cover the whole thing in a thin layer of 70% chocolate.  

With dried mango and a chocolate top layer
These bars freeze really well, so you can stick them in a lunchbox straight from the freezer and they’re ready to eat within a couple of hours. The only trouble with them is that I have to make them when (the egg-hogging) husband is out of the house so they remain hidden from him for as long as possible. It’s the only way they have a chance of lasting more than one day.

 Adapted from a Minimalist Baker recipe here

My Marriage

Even the weather agrees
Even the weather agrees

My marriage will be turning nine years old in just twelve days.

In those years it’s faced some challenges; the act of parenting brings with it very high highs and very low lows. Sleepless nights, sick kids, childcare costs, differing methods of disciplining: they all contribute to frayed nerves for the adults of the house. Then there’s the other stuff; job loss, emergency car fixing, negative equity. There’s been arguments over breakfast, over dinner and late into the night. We’re not perfect. Our five year old has asked us to stop shouting.  I don’t think they’re scarred though; they see plenty of love and cooperation from us too, and we all muddle along okay.

Do you know what hasn’t affected our marriage though?

Other people’s marriages. Other people’s divorces.

Do you know who deserves the chance to have a messy marriage like ours?

Everyone. Continue reading

Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Since I was made redundant someone has to take up the slack round here. It’s looking like Ted really wants a desk job.

“I wanna get some work!
Push me in to the chair and get some work!”

It’s hard to put in a day at the office when your arms can’t reach the computer & feet don’t touch the floor. And just look at how messy that workspace is? Messy desk, messy mind. Someone should really clean that up…

I think by “work” he means the Sesame Street YouTube channel.

Sunday: An Infographic

Weekends are family time right? Two harmonious days of idyllic behaviour like tramping through the woods, eating healthy picnics and enjoying each others company. Yeah, not so much.

We’d a lovely day yesterday at my niece’s communion. We admired the dress, we bounced on the bouncy castle, we asked inappropriate questions in a stage whisper during the mass. Okay, that last one was just Dominic.

A day of fun and treats left two little guys overtired and ready to whiiiinnnngee come Sunday. And boy, did they ever…