Happiness Is a Vital Key to Optimum Health

Research has proven that unhappiness has a negative impact on health. One recent health study found that stress has a delayed impact on cardiovascular health, while another found a link between depression and the formation of atherosclerosis… more

Tom's Muesli Bar Recipe

You know how it is when you go to pick up the kids from after school care, they are tired, hungry and the next hour can be a disaster sometimes.
Or you may just want something a bit more healthy to munch on than standard fare. I am convinced that the further we get from a mostly natural, raw food, the worse the diet. I am especially against MSG and artificial sweeteners. They are not known as excitotoxins without reason.
Or, you may want some more roughage in your diet. Be warned though, THIS WILL PRODUCE RESULTS!
Well, I decided to formulate an easy to carry, easy to eat, nutritious food bar that was also good for the granddaughter who has a lactose intolerance.
I did try a variation for a choc-a-holic daughter that included fresh yoghurt, melted white chocolate and Agar-Agar (like gelatin only from vegetable origins) but that was not as well received. She passed it on to her husband who eats and appreciates anything I cook.
After some experimentation I have come across a generally accepted winner. Now, I must confess up-front. I am not a cook and have no background whatsoever in the culinary arts or nutritional science. So if you wish to suggest an improvement that will result in better taste, texture, adhesion or nutrition, I am all ears.
Here is the recipe.
You will need:
Baking tray
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Rolling pin
Mixing bowl
Benchtop mixer with heavy duty mixing blade
Plastic wrap
1 cup of each of the following:
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Dessicated coconut
Shredded coconut
Sultanas or raisins
Finely chopped dried apricots
Crushed roasted Cashew nuts
Crushed Macadamia nuts
A liberal sprinkling of Nutmeg
An even more liberal sprinkling of Cinnamon
1 heaped (US table spoon\ Australian dessert spoon) of
South American Maca protein powder
South American unsweetened Cocoa powder
Turn the oven on to a medium heat.
Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the coconut, sesame and sunflower seeds, evenly spread out.
Place in oven until the smell is unbearable or until the coconut is golden brown, whichever comes first. About 5-10 minutes.
Chop the apricots and place into a decent sized mixing bowl.
(I use a benchtop cake mixer, it’s easier and faster to beat in the honey to bind it all at the end. On the other hand, if you want an upper-body work-out…)
Put the cashews into a thicker zip-top plastic bag and take your frustrations out on them with a rolling pin. NOT THAT MUCH! They don’t need to be powdered, just in smaller pieces than halved! Sheesh!
Empty the bag into the mixing bowl.
Put the Macadamia nuts into the plastic bag and release the rest of your frustrations on them.
Put them in the mixing bowl.
Take the oven tray out and turn off the oven.
Put the contents into the mixing bowl.
Add the other ingredients, honey last.
Place the bowl under the mixer and beat for a minute or so, until it is well mixed or you can’t resist the temptation to try some, whichever comes first.
While it is beating, lay out an arms length strip of plastic wrap on the bench.
When the ingredients are well mixed, take the largest spoon you have and scoop some of the mix and place it on the wrap. Shape it into a muesli bar as best you can. Doesn’t have to be really neat as when you are done you can press it into the shape you want.
Depending on your target market (grandkids have smaller stomaches than daughters, although some fast growing four year olds have been known to come back five minutes later for a second bar) you can either make one long one or two short ones per hand’s width (with fingers spread) of wrap.
Repeat laying out along the length of wrap. You should get about ten bars to a length, half the mix.
If you have made short bars, cut along the length of the plastic wrap, between the bars.
Cut across the wrap, between the bars.
Fold the wrap over the ends of the bars, squishing the bar mix shorter as needed.
Fold the wrap over the sides of the bars and place to one side.
Repeat for the other half of the mix.
I am told that honey is the only food that does not spoil but putting them in the refrigerator will make them a bit harder and help them retain some shape.
And there you have it. Either 20 small or less quantity but larger muesli bars that will kill the hungries for the littlies and not so littlies.
Hope you enjoy these and as I said, feel free to drop me a line with any suggested improvements. My email address is on my web site.
First published on Qassia

London's The Times newspaper recently published this unique obituary

“Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
“He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: knowing when to come out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; life isn’t always fair; and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
“Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining unruly children.
“It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
“Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue for assault.
“Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little on her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason.
“He is survived by four stepbrothers, I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else is to Blame and I’m a Victim.
“Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.”