Thursday 29 January 2015


Good Morning to you,

'If more of us valued food and cheer and song,
above hoarded gold,
it would be a merrier world.'

J.R.R. Tolkien

It's time that I owned up,

I am one of the many people who love the J.R.R. Tolkien books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so I was very excited to see the final part of the Hobbit when it was released at the cinema.

I know, these films are not to everyone's taste, but I love them. 

I remember reading The Hobbit in 1977 and I found it a real page turner, but of course with Natasha being a little girl and Danielle a baby, there was not much time to read..... but I did find snippets of time, and that was usually when Danielle fell asleep, which I seem to remember did not happen very often.  Of course she slept, but she was a baby who seemed to be awake more than she was asleep, especially at night time, but as she grew and became a teenager, that trend was reversed, she seemed to sleep more than she was awake. I know she won't mind me telling you this, as we often laugh about it ourselves.

During the quiet times, I would snatch the odd few minutes to read a chapter and even though I terrified myself with the description of the Orcs, (remember, it was a different time and I had never read anything like this book before) it didn't prevent me from finishing the book. I really do not like scary films, even comedy scary films, but there was something about the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which drew me in.  

..... so when I discovered that Peter Jackson was turning the books into films, well I was so very excited, if a little unsure, because I have often found when a book is turned into a film, the characters in the film don't fit my expectations, but with these films, I can honestly say, I was not disappointed.

Each year, I waited patiently for the next film to be released and if Natasha and Danielle were home, we would all go to the cinema together to watch the newly released film on Boxing Day.  It became quite a family tradition.

Mmm, I wonder, now that  the final Hobbit film has been released, what will be our  new Boxing Day tradition.

Talking of Danielle, it just flitted through my mind,  I really wish I had this recipe, I am making today of,

fruit and nut snack bars, when Danielle was a baby, as they really would have boosted my energy levels. There are many versions of these snack bars and to be honest you can add the nuts and dried fruits of your choice.  I tend to add whatever I have to hand.  The only thing I have never added before is an egg and baking powder, so I was interested to read Elizabeth Hutchinson's recipe which included both ingredients, so I decided to add  the extra ingredients this time and I was very pleased with the result.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

the fabulous Michael Buble.  I know I have featured Michael before, but I really do enjoy his music.  What's not to love about,

It's A Beautiful Day
Who's Lovin' You
Close Your Eyes
Come Dance With Me

When Michael tours, here in England, his concerts are sold out in no time at all, which makes it very difficult to buy a ticket..... but maybe one day, yes, one day, I will be lucky enough to see him sing live, but until then, I will continue to enjoy his albums.

So with Michael dueting with Bryan Adams and singing 'After All' it is time to organise my ingredients.


3 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons of runny honey
2 large, very ripe bananas
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
300g rolled jumbo oats
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking powder
200g of mixed seeds
125g of de-stoned soft dates
150g of mixed dried berries
(eg dried cherries and dried cranberries)

Pre-heat the oven to 180C
You will need an 8" x 12" deep baking pan


Line the baking pan with
parchment paper.

Set aside until needed.

Using a large bowl,
mash the bananas,

peanut butter,


the egg,

(Whisk the egg before you add it to the bowl.)

vanilla extract

mix the
ingredients together.

add the cinnamon to the bowl,

baking powder,

rolled oats,

mixed seeds,

chop the dates into small pieces
add to the bowl

dried fruits.

all the ingredients together
until thoroughly combined.

Place the mixture
into the lined baking pan
and using the back of a spoon,
press the mixture firmly into the baking pan.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes

Remove the baking pan from the oven
and whilst still warm,
cut the bars into the size which suits you.

Allow the fruit and nut snack bars to cool in the pan,

when time is short 
you need to eat something which is healthy,
these fruit and nut snack bars will be ready and waiting
for you to

The reason these are so popular in my house is that George is, as I have mentioned to you before, a keen swimmer and walker.  Often when we return from our walks, George is ready to go to the swimming pool to swim his laps.  When time is short, he does not want to eat lunch, but he will eat one of these snack bars, which as well as being enjoyable,  are filled with ingredients which will give him energy to complete his 3 mile swim.

You will see that I cut 8 portions of the fruit and nut snack bars, this is because they are mainly for George, but if I want to eat a snack bar, they are too large and so I cut them in half, so actually, if you want smaller portions you will be able to cut 16 snack bars.

Also you can make the snack bars deeper, by using a smaller pan, but remember you will need to bake them for another five minutes or so.

These bars are not very sweet, so if you prefer a sweeter flavour, add a little more honey.  The one thing I would say is, be sure to use ripe bananas as  this is a very good recipe for using up bananas which are left in the fruit bowl, which no one has eaten..... waste not want not.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

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