Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Healthy Breakfast Flapjack Bars - gluten free; dairy free; refined sugar free, vegan


These Breakfast Flapjacks are really easy to make and the perfect way to put a morning smile on your face, or to perk you up when you are flagging and need an energy boost during the day. Soft and comfortingly oaty, these heavenly slices are packed full with the goodness of dried fruits, nuts and seeds, all sweetened with a balance of unrefined nature...... honey, maple syrup and coco palm sugar. Satisfyingly filling and really quite healthy, these flapjacks are also gluten-free, dairy free and vegan.

I feel like I am flagging a lot at the moment. Each day is a bit of an uphill climb........ There is too much going on, too many decisions to make, too many things to do and not enough hours in the day..... My body is telling me to slow down too.... I feel like I am being plagued by unwelcome and irritating health niggles that just get in the way of getting things done..... but I can't ignore what they are telling me.


Most annoying of all is that I have started to suffer from eye fatigue. My new job has demanded several days sitting for several hours non-stop in front of a computer screen without a break, trying to complete a load of case file audits in squeezed timescales. Whilst I usually look forward to coming home and cup of tea in hand, pottering through the interesting, innovative and inspiring world of social media, in the last week or so, this has become increasingly difficult...... Sitting down in front of the lap top in the evenings has become an ever-more blurry affair, leading to sore and painful eyes, headaches and a feeling of exhaustion.

As a result, I have had to limit attention to my own blog. I have photos waiting to edit and recipes waiting to post...... Lots of ideas in the pipeline waiting to take shape in the kitchen and share with the world. But they will have to wait..... I may be able to push aside little infections and bugs, but if your eyes are complaining, it is a clear message to give them a rest..... They are too important to risk. I guess it is one of the penalties of trying to maintain two screen-intensive past-times. Frustrating as it is I am making myself taking heed.


The forced slow-down has left me reviewing how I use my non-work hours. Committed blogging is time and energy intensive..... I sometimes look at the pro-bloggers out there with envy at the ability to organise their days around this wonderfully creative world and to balance it alongside their family lives. Trying to build up a blog alongside a day job takes hours away from loved-ones and however much care is taken to ensure a balance, I have on many occasions felt guilty that I am not focussed enough on the here and now of home life.

The up-side of being forced to spend less time on the computer, is that I have been spending more time with my daughter at a really important time in her life (for those of you who read my last post, you will know that we are in the midst of making secondary school choices right now). This has also reminded me of my original reasons for starting to blog, which was (in the wake of her Coeliac diagnosis) to ensure a record of recipes that we create at home, as a personal recipe book for her future (although we share this willingly with the world). I am aware that at times, I can become a little obsessed by the blog, but not always for the right reasons, and the last few days away from it have allowed me to re-balance my motivation..... This is not my job and the stats shouldn't matter..... but my daughter does.


So I apologise if (at least for a while), my postings are sporadic. As and when I can, I will share my latest culinary creations...... Rest assured I will still be busy in the kitchen trying to concoct gluten free magic.... In the meantime, I am sharing these fab flapjacks (which I make often as an alternative to my other favourite homemade Oatie Choc-Nut Breakfast Bar). They are as satisfying as they are delicious and with such a fantastic bunch of ingredients, each nutritious bite will fill you with good stuff!

I am sharing them with the following :


Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma











Free From Fridays with Emma over at the Free From Farmhouse











Cook Blog Share with Beckie at This Is Not My Home











Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too











Healthy Breakfast Flapjack Bars

Ingredients

190g gluten free oats
30g freeze dried apple cubes (I get mine from Healthy Supplies)
70g Morello or other glace cherries - rough chopped
40g dried blueberries
10g milled flaxseed
30g desiccated/shredded coconut
30g ground hazelnuts
20g flaked almonds
20g ground almonds
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
60 ml apple juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
85g coconut oil
50g runny honey
50g maple syrup
40g coconut palm sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Base-line an 8 inch/20 cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the oats, dried fruit, flaxseed, coconut, nuts and salt.
  4. Add the apple juice and vanilla paste and stir through.
  5. In a small saucepan, mix the coconut oil, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar and gently heat, stirring frequently until the ingredients have dissolved and just reached boil point.
  6. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly until well blended and the mixture is moist.
  7. Tip into the baking tin and spread evenly. Press down firmly on the surface with the back of a spoon to compress.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and just beginning to crisp round the edges.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes and then turn out onto a chopping board. 
  10. Once cold, cut into pieces with a sharp knife and store in an airtight container.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-15 unless otherwise indicated

13 comments:

  1. Your flapjacks sound delicious and healthy. Sorry to hear you are overwhelmed and suffering eye fatigue but it is good you are listening to your body and spending time with your daughter. I think it is easy to get caught up in the fast paced blogging world and yet it a pace that no one would ever have expected in the days before we all went online. I am a bit slower on my blog than I used to be and think it is only to be expected. Take care, enjoy your offline cooking and I will look forward to some posts when you have time.

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    1. Thank you Johanna for your kind comments. You are right... It is all too easy to feel the need to keep pace with everyone else too. I remember well the days when we didn't have the option of filling our days with computers and social media. There are up sides and down sides to both, but the trick has to be to understand how it affects you individually and your family, know your own limits and stick with them I guess. Hopefully I can get a reasonable balance if I keep to that!

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  2. Not that I want to encourage you to do more time on a computer. I know of at least one person who was helped by using a yellow filter over the screen, or you can get tinted lenses (if you wear glasses) to reduce eye strain. It might be worth some research, if the overwork is to continue.

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    1. Thanks Momist. That is really helpful advice. As soon as I read it, I remembered an old colleague who had a yellow filter for her screen and she swore by it! So I will absolutely check that one out!

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  3. I hear you. I really do. Just please don't disappear all together. Gorgeous flapjacks!

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    1. Thank you Dom. That helps! I have too much to share to disappear.... just may slow down a bit until life levels off.....

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  4. Thank you so much for linking this yummy recipe to #cookblogshare. I hope your eyes feel much better soon.

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  5. I can empathise - I always find the monitor tires my eyes out more when the winter months kick in. Have you tried moisturising eye drops? I always find that when my eyes are tired they're also dry. They can be a lifesaver at work.
    Flapjacks look great - hope they help to make you feel better

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    1. Thanks CC. Winter is definitely worse I agree. I will have to get better at eye drop use.... I have them but probably don't use them enough.
      The flapjacks were yummy though!

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  6. Absolutely. Rest is a must when eyes are concerned. If you work in front of the screen for many hours during the day, in the evening your eyes need a rest.
    Blogging is a hobby for most of us and anyway it is a long term thing and we need to do it on our own pace.
    Your creations are wonderful and even if you post slightly less I doubt you will loose your readership. Better quality over quantity. Love your healthy flapjacks!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words of support Alida. I have to keep reminding myself that I really don't have any blogging deadlines and can just do what I am able..... I think I need to adopt 'quality over quantity' as my mantra!! x

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  7. These sound delicious but as they contain honey they are not vegan. I understand this ingredient can be omitted but you state that they are in addition to including honey as one of the natural sugars mentioned in the blurb.

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