Nutty Protein Pick-me-Ups



So if you’re like me and have teenage and pre-teen boys, you’ll know what I mean when I say that nothing is safe when they come home from school. Every cupboard door is opened, and mine can make me feel like the contents of the fridge would have more of a chance against a plague of locusts. Everyone likes to see a child with a healthy appetite, but there is so much around nowadays that seems designed to get them hooked on high sugar, low nutrition junk. This recipe is not like that, and is perfect for those after-school moments.  I make up a batch of this every week, and they all get a large piece after school and it keeps them going. I’d like to say until dinner time, but that might be stretching it a bit, especially on football training days!It is, though, full of protein and fibre, and has just the right level of sweetness, not too sweet so that it just becomes another sugary snack, leaving you crashing after half an hour or so, but sweet enough to give you a little lift at afternoon-slump time, until all that low G.I stuff kicks in.

I found this recipe originally in a Waitrose magazine, but I have slightly adapted it, to suit our tastes. The original called for pumpkin seeds, but we prefer sunflower. I also soak the dried fruit for as long as possible before hand in about 150 ml of green tea because it helps with the pureeing stage, especially if you add a tablespoon or so of the soaking liquid (not too much though or your finished result will be too wet). I also like the subtle flavour green tea gives the dried fruit, especially the prunes. I have also upped the amount of cinnamon that the original gave, because everybody loves cinnamon (don’t they?) and because of its many health benefits, not least its ability to potentially help control blood sugar, reduce the risk of bowel and stomach cancers and its high anti- oxidant levels. It is, in fact, one of the top seven anti-oxidant foods in the world, and also helps to keep your food fresh due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects. Not that I’ve ever had a chance to test that one out in my house, the food never seems to hang around that long.


250g porridge oats

40g desiccated coconut

40g sunflower seeds (but feel free to switch back to pumpkin if you fancy)

40g flaked almonds

150g pitted dates

50g soft prunes

85g honey (raw is best)

100g crunchy cashew or almond butter. I have also used hazelnut, when I’ve got hold of it, and that is also very good if you can get it.

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsps ground cinnamon

Soak your dried fruit in about 150ml of green tea. You could also soak it in water, or I suppose fruit juice, but this would make the finished result a bit sweeter.

Lay the oats, coconut, seeds and almonds out on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at around 160 deg. C for about 20 minutes, turning them over every so often until they are a lovely golden brown colour.

Blitz the dried fruit in a food processor with a tablespoon or so or the soaking liquid until you get a smooth puree.

Warm the honey, nut butter, cinnamon and coconut oil in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water (the original said three, but if you have soaked the fruit, you really won’t need the extra moisture) until they are well combined and runny.

Mix in the oat mixture, and tip into a square cake tin, around 20 cms by 20 cms.

Refrigerate, and when it is firm, cut into slices and eat!




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