So, what healthy, easy and delicious recipe to share this week? With requests for a couple of the recipes I’ve used at events/classes recently, I thought I’d get those out to people. A healthier version of a sweet treat, and the oh-so-quick-and-easy homemade loaf you can put on the table in less than an hour with less than 10 minutes prep – what could be better?
There’s room for the occasional treat in a balanced, sensible diet, swapping in ingredients with nutritional benefits and more stable blood sugar release. Portion control, plus regular exercise, are naturally key to weight control!
Making your own daily bread isn’t just satisfying, and unbelievably delicious, but healthier too, cutting out the preservatives and additives that have to be added to pre-packaged loaves. The smell alone (and the reactions of other household members vying for a piece) make it incredibly pleasurable!
I made this version of the rice crispy cakes we all loved as children as the refreshments for the Eat for Life workshop earlier this month, and the soda bread at a cookery class this week, so for those participants who wanted them (and those of you who didn’t get to taste them then), here they are:

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Chocolate Rice and Seed Bars

30g crispy rice cereal
70g rolled oats, gluten free
50g unsweetened shredded (not dessiccated) coconut
30g raw cacao powder
30g ground flaxseed
40g sunflower seeds
70g coconut oil
100g set honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl stir together the dry ingredients until well blended. In a separate bowl melt the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla., stirring until well incorporated. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. At this point you can adapt to add more liquid or more rice cereal or oats to get the consistency and sweetness you want – depending on the brand of dry ingredients you buy, they may need more oil/honey to bind properly, or achieve the flavour you want.
Line an 8 by 8 baking dish with greaseproof paper overhanging the edges, and pour the mixture into the baking dish. Spread to edges and press down with a spatula or spoon. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Lift out using the overhanging greaseproof paper and slice into squares or bars. Make a cuppa, and grab one before the hordes descend 

Simple Soda bread

500g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp fine salt (preferably sea salt)
yogurt (live natural) or buttermilk, about 400 ml

Sift the flour and bicarb into a large bowl, then mix in the salt. Pour the yogurt and/or buttermilk into a well in the centre of the flour, stirring to begin to combine. When nearly mixed you can add a little milk to bring the mixture together if it’s too floury. The dough should be soft, not too sticky or wet.
Lightly flour a clean surface/board, and knead gently for about a minute, just to form a loose ball – don’t overwork it. Put the round on a lightly floured baking sheet, and dust with flour. Make a cross in the top with a serrated knife, cutting quite deep. Put it in an oven preheated to 200oC/gas mark 6 and bake for 40-45 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when the underside is tapped.
Cool it in the open for a crunchy crust, or wrapping in a clean tea towel makes the crust softer. Either way, dip into gorgeous soup, slather with good butter, dip in olive oil or spread thickly with jam!


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