CHOCOLATE FRUIT & NUT SQUARES – SNACK

Combining nuts and dates to create tasty raw treats is nothing new, a very well known chocolate confectionery brand has been doing a fruit & nut bar since 1926 and we all remember the ad campaign slogan sung to the tune of The Nutcracker!  I understand that the point to snack foods is that they are convenient. That being said putting an hour’s effort into making your own treats means you have a ready supply in the fridge for weeks, but more importantly you are avoiding ingredients such as artificial flavourings, emulsifiers and inflammatory vegetable fats, as well excessive sugar and trans fats.

A standard shop-bought fruit & nut bar will serve up 270 calories and 30g of sugar, which is  listed as the second ingredient after milk. In comparison this recipe provides 182 calories per serving and only 8g of sugars. There is no added vegetable oils with the only fats coming from the natural fats found in whole nuts and seeds that are linked to improved cognitive function, lower body fat, better blood lipid profile and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Using whole, natural foods provides fibre and a range of nutrients including antioxidant vitamin E, biotin for healthy skin, hair and nails, magnesium, manganese and copper. Even chocolate has its benefits but you must choose the darker kind. The darker the chocolate, the less likely there is to be added ingredients such as soya lecithin and other emulsifiers. I like either Green & Blacks Organic 85% or Lindt as ingredients are simply cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla.

Given the sheer variety of nuts, seeds and superfood powders available these days there are endless options to cater for everyone’s tastes. Chocolate and hazelnuts are an age-old match made in heaven but you can use equivalent quantities of other nuts and seeds depending on your preferences or whatever you have available. You can also leave out the chocolate (but why would you want to do that?!).

(makes 16 bars)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) whole almonds
  • 1 cup (135g) whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup (40g) hulled hemp seeds (NUA NATURALS)*
  • 10 dates (sulphur-free, pitted)
  • 1/4 cup (3-4 tbsp) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) jumbo oats
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour(NUA NATURALS)*
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • Coconut oil for lining the baking tray (OPTIMA)*

Topping Options: toasted coconut flakes, cacao nibs, chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. Line a bakingtray with parchment and spread with a little melted coconut oil.
  2. In a blenderpulse the almonds and hazelnuts until they look like a coarse sand.
  3. Add the hemp seeds, dates, maple syrup, salt, oats andcoconut flour. Blitz again until well combined. The mixture should ‘stick’ a little when pressed.
  4. Dump the mixture onto the lined baking tray and use your hands to press down until its about an inch thick. If the tray is larger than normal, fold the parchment in over the free edge of the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
  6. In the meantime break the chocolate into small pieces and place into aPyrex dish over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and then remove from the stove.
  7. Remove the nut mixture from the fridge and pourthe chocolate over the top, tilting the baking tray around until the chocolate is evenly spread.
  8. Sprinkle with your chosen topping and place back into the fridge to set.
  9. Once set use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 8 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
182 13g 5g 13.3g 8g 3g
An excellent source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium & antioxidants

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

Laura Loves: Spring Cosmetics & Everyday Essentials!

Laura BNow that we are enjoying the beginning of Spring, I usually do a beauty edit on my own cosmetics and everyday essentials. When seasons change we adapt to new shades and styles, but it’s also a great time to use fragrance to influence our mood in keeping with what the weather is giving us.

I don’t mean just buying a new perfume, although that’s always a treat, but how scent can cheer through a variety of beauty items.

April means Easter, and with that we indulge in chocolate. The main component of lovely chocolate is cocoa butter. If you have a sweet tooth you won’t over-indulge if your chocolate fix comes from some cocoa butter beauty.

Garnier’s Intensive 7 Days Body Lotion with Nourishing Cocoa (€2.49) beautifully conditions skin, leaving it soft and comfortable all day long, smells great too!

Garnier_Intensive_7_Days_Nourishing_Lotion_with_Softening_Cocoa_Butter___Dry__Rough_Skin_400ml_1371744012Rushed for time, check out Vaseline’s Spray & Go Cocoa Butter, this super fast body moisturiser offers great hydration in a simple spritz that smells chocolicious! Only €4.99 at LloydsPharmacy.

Vaseline_Spray_and_Go_Body_Moisturiser_Cocoa_RadiantMy favourite scents remind me of Summer; sunny days, zesty fruit and the aroma of sand and sun cream. Fragrance that has citrus notes will remind you of the Mediterranean, as will certain flowers and notes like musk, all very popular with Irish women.

Beyonce takes a great interest in creating her scents, working the fragrance like a song. Her Heat Rush scent is a perfect Summer scent. It opens with blood orange, passionfruit and cherry, and following those is hibiscus, honey amber and sunset musk, it’s like a holiday in a bottle, €25.95/30ml Eau de Parfum.

163055_491082564722_7567790_nTouch of Pink from Lacoste is another light, uplifting and energising scent. Orange and coriander are the opening notes, jasmine, violet, musk and vanilla are the lingering ones. As sunny scents go, this is lively and fun to wear. €42/30mls Eau de Toilette.

Lacoste-Touch-of-Pink-30ml-EDT-Spray-181090Maybe you prefer the aroma of plants and extracts, something that feels like nature is all around even if you are city living? Relax Bath from Clarins is the perfect product for post-training session or busy day. Use in the shower or bath, this gentle foam has herbal extracts to soothe away the day and relieve fatigue, the boys would love it too, €21.

Clarins Relax Bath and Shower ConcentrateFinally, the famed plant extracts in NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Gold Shimmer Oil is as popular for its scent as it is for it makes legs, arms and hair gleam with golden shimmer. This multi-use oil comes without gold particles too, either will make the skin gleam. €19.25/50mls.

10556074-1338997763-993092Written by Laura Bermingham