Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe makes 20 snack sized bars. These can be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh – they don’t really freeze completely so you can remove one from the freezer and eat it within minutes! Perfect to go with mid-morning coffee.
There are recipes here for two varieties – one is made with puffed rice cereal and has a white chocolate topping and one is made with chocolate puffed rice cereal and has a milk or plain chocolate topping. They can actually be made with any combination of these ingredients.

I always try to use either homemade peanut butter or shop bought that is 100% peanut – no added oils or sugars. If you only have sweetened peanut butter I would suggest reducing the amount of honey.

Recipe 1 – White Chocolate

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Ingredients

150g oats
40g puffed rice cereal
80g salted peanuts
130g honey
240g unsweetened peanut butter (or half and half with another nut butter)

Topping

100g white chocolate
30g peanut butter

Recipe 2 – Milk/Dark Chocolate

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Ingredients 

150g oats
45g chocolate puffed rice cereal
80g salted peanuts
110g honey
120g chocolate peanut butter
120g plain peanut butter/other nut butter (unsweetened)

Topping

100g milk or dark chocolate
30g peanut butter

Method

  1. Combine the oats, puffed rice and peanuts in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl microwave the peanut butter and the honey for 30 seconds
  3. Pour the peanut butter and honey mix over the oat mix. Combine well
  4. Press into a 20cm x 20cm parchment lined tin and freeze for 30 minutes
  5. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl and microwave until melted
  6. Remove the tin from the freezer and spread the melted chocolate and peanut butter mix over the top – smooth down with a spatula
  7. Refrigerate for another hour, then remove from fridge and cut into 20 even slices.

The bars can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to eat – I usually separate layers with greaseproof paper.

Each bar (if you cut into 20) has approximately 195 calories and 15g carbs

 

 

Super Gooey Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Over the past few weeks I have made three different variations of these cookies. They are delicious and fantastic with a cuppa any time of the day. I have to admit they are also pretty calorific, but any weight gain will be shed hopefully in the late summer months when we are all allowed outside again.

I have been making this recipe for many, many years on and off, and if you like a gooey cookie then this will be perfect for you!

I am pleased to say that all three of my sons have also been baking these recently with varying degrees of success. Harry seems to have mastered the recipe and I think he is basically living on cookies. He also knows the recipe off by heart which indicates to me that he’s used it a lot 😉

Ingredients

85g unsalted butter/cooking marg/plant-based spread
(I have been using the plant-based spread and it works brilliantly)
85g caster sugar
85g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
170g self-raising flour
Dash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
(not necessary unless you have used unsalted butter)
100g chunks of chocolate

Options – the chocolate can really be anything, I have made these with chopped up Cadbury Dairy Milk, Fudge, Twirl, plus basic range chocolate from the supermarkets. Try to have a mix of big chunks and smaller chunks. You can use more than 100g if you want more chunks in each cookie. If you don’t have both types of sugar this will also work with granulated sugar. Of course you can use chocolate chips if that’s what you have.

Method

  1. Cream the butter and the sugars with the vanilla until light and creamy
  2. Beat in the egg
  3. Fold in the flour and salt (if using)
  4. Add the chunks of chocolate and stir in well
  5. Prepare several baking trays with parchment paper
  6. Add overloaded teaspoon size blobs of mixture to the trays – space well (see picture) because the mixture will spread
  7. Bake at 170ºC (Fan) for 10 minutes – do to overbake. The cookies will still be soft. Gently pull the sheet of parchment onto a cooling rack without moving or touching the cookies
  8. Allow to cool before moving the cookies. Then make a cup of tea and enjoy!!

I’d love to know if you make these and how/if you have adapted the recipe. Please let me know in the comments.

 

Stewed apple and pear cake

I have made this cake with apples, apples and pears and you could probably make with just pears.

It is a very moist cake – even puddingy, which is delicious straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some custard.

Ingredients

260g Self-raising flour
180g Soft brown sugar
2tsp Baking powder
2tbsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
150g Soft butter
500g (approx) stewed apple/pear

Method

Peal the fruit and stew until soft – stew for less time if you would like chunks of fruit intact in your cake. Allow to cool.

Add all ingredients to your bowl/mixer and blend until smooth, add the fruit and combine until smooth (unless you would like your cake with a few chunks of fruit intact – though this is not necessary and blending it completely makes a deliciously moist cake).

Add mixture to a lined spring-form tin and bake at 150C (fan) for approximately 40 minutes.

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Three Ingredient ‘Cookies’

There are lots of recipes around for these cookies, so I have just taken a ‘mean’ of them all and have come up with this one that seems to work. The three ingredients are always available in my house, and these can be thrown together and baked in 20 minutes. 

Really they are more like an oat cake than a cookie – but I suppose if you made them smaller and squashed them down they could be more cookie-like. I prefer the larger version. 

They are especially great for those of us who do a fair bit of exercise, oats and bananas having excellent variable energy releasing properties – to keep you going through a hard workout or for some instant energy pre-workout. The chocolate element just makes you happy throughout!!

Ingredients

160g Porridge Oats

90g Plain chocolate, chopped into small (or chunky) pieces or choc chips, or milk   chocolate or in fact any chocolate you have lying around!

200g (peeled weight) ripe bananas, mashed

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Method

Mash the bananas, add the oats and mix well, add the chocolate pieces and mix. 

Make 9 equal balls of mix and press onto a parchment lined baking sheet

Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC. Cool on cooling rack. Eat immediately or at your leisure!

Each cookie – approximately 140 calories, 22g carbs and 2.6g protein. 

Enjoy

Black Bean Soup

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of soup for lunch on a cold, wet, drab winter’s day. With it’s mixture of spices and nourishing legumes, this soup will certainly take away the chill.

Black beans are very good for you with their high protein and fibre content – so not only does this taste delicious, it also has health benefits!

Ingredients

300g Dried (no-need-to-soak) Black Turtle Beans (700g when cooked)
2 Small red onions, chopped (approx 180g)
2 Carrots, diced (approx 230g)
2 Sticks celery, finely chopped (approx 60g)
1 Tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 Chicken stock cube**
1 Beef Oxo cube**
1 tin Chopped tomatoes
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Mild Chilli powder
1tsp Crushed chillies
1tsp Garlic granules
1.5 litres of water for the black beans
1 litre of boiling water for the chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper

Method

1. Add 1.5 litres of cold water to a large pan along with the beans and bring to the boil.
Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour – making
sure to check that the pan does not boil dry. (Alternatively follow the instructions on
the pack or use 700g (drained) tinned beans).
2. In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the vegetables until they start softening.
3. Add all the spices and cook through for a minute or two.
4. Add three quarters of the beans and the stock plus some salt and ground black pepper
and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Use a hand held blender and whizz up the soup to the consistency that you prefer.
6. Sprinkle on the Oxo cube and mix thoroughly.
7. Add the remainder of the beans and simmer for a further 10 mins.
8. Adjust the consistency with water if you would like a thinner soup.
9. Serve with some crusty bread and butter.

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If you’re interested, a 300g bowl of this soup is approximately 150 calories! Enjoy!

**(This can be made vegan if the stock cubes are substituted)

Chocolate Date Bars

I have just found this recipe in an old book of Dave’s – it’s the 1989 ‘Good Housekeeping – Complete Book of Home Baking’,  which he bought when he was making a lovely loaf of bread every weekend. Back in the day when we only had one small baby to feed, and a loaf of homemade bread lasted longer than ten minutes!! I wish I had seen this recipe before as it is a perfect carb hit for the runner/cyclist.

This bar uses dates which are very sweet, so I am sure it could be made with less sugar. Also, the butter, hmm… well that’s why they are so delicious, however I’m sure you could substitute with coconut oil if you were so inclined.

This version makes 12 pretty large slices, which are approximately 310 calories per slice and 38g carbs.

Ingredients

175g stoned dates, chopped
10ml (2 level tsp) plain flour
100g plain chocolate
100g self-raising flour
150g rolled oats
100g light brown soft sugar
175g unsalted butter

Method

  1. Grease a shallow 18cm (7″) square tin (loose-bottomed is preferable) and line base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the dates, plain flour, chocolates and 150ml water in a small saucepan and cook gently for 5  minutes until the chocolate has melted and the mixture thickened slightly. Leave to cool
  3. Mix together the self-raising flour, oats and sugar and rub in the butter. Spread half of this mixture over the base of the prepared tin, pressing down well. Cover with the cooled date and chocolate mixture, then the remainder of the oat mixture. Press down slightly.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180ºC for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then mark 12 fingers. Allow to cool completely in the tin before slicing.

Wotton parkrun – half birthday celebrations

I’ve been busy lately – I have been a little involved with Wotton parkrun! Well that is a slight understatement, and although I don’t like to think parkrun has taken over my life, it has just a bit!! Last Saturday we held our half-birthday run. It’s hard to believe that a whole 6-months has passed since Wotton parkrun #1, and what a great 6-months of parkrunning and volunteering we have experienced. 

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Tetbury Dolphins Running Club supported our half birthday event. Photo:Dave Fitzjohn

We decided to celebrate this milestone run with fancy dress and many runners turned up in an amazing array of costumes. We also held a cake sale in aid of Wotton Community Parc (where we hold our parkrun). We had a great turnout of 130 runners who were very generous when buying the cakes afterwards. 

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The cake sale was very popular.

There was a fantastic atmosphere, everyone ‘enjoyed’ their run and luckily we had sunny (if a little chilly) weather. Wotton parkrun seems to be enjoyed by all who attempt it, whether local or all the way from South Africa or Australia. It has been challenging over the winter months with some very muddy days, but now it’s dry and the Community Parc is looking green and beautiful. 

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Winter running at Wotton parkrun. Great fun!!
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The Community Parc is looking fabulous

As I mentioned in a previous blog post (parkrun comes to Wotton), Wotton parkrun is an off-road course with a mixture of grass, grassy tumps, muddy puddles (in winter) and a couple of gravel tracks. It’s a very interesting course and has been referred to by some as the Wotton ‘butterfly’ due to the nature of the route. In honour of the Wotton butterfly, I made a parkrun celebration cake. 

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Wotton ‘butterfly’ – well you can see it if you squint and maybe turn it upside-down!

I volunteer almost every week at the parkrun, and a couple of weeks ago I joined the 25 volunteer club – to celebrate I ran as tail runner and made cakes for all the volunteers! My husband also reached the 25 volunteer club on the same day, so it was a double celebration. Any excuse for cake!!

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Cake!