I’m often in pursuit of inspiration throughout the web and one day happened upon a gorgeous food blog, The Krooked Spoon. I not only loved the recipes and food photography, I instantly felt a connection with the writer, Cheryl O’Shea, who is a chef, mom of 2 boys and also happens to be gluten-free. She is all of the way over in Australia however, we seem to share many similarities including a strong passion for food. I asked her to guest post here today so I could introduce you to her site. It’s always nice to have lots of sources of culinary inspiration, isn’t it?
I was especially interested in these Cinnamon and Lime Muesli Bars I saw Cheryl testing because they are gluten-free and nut-free. It’s hard to find that combination for a muesli bar. I was surprised to learn about the high prevalence of nut allergies in Australia and the fact that many preschools are nut-free there as well. Although I am not happy about a high prevalence of allergies anywhere, it is always good to hear about raised awareness. Here is a post by Cheryl from The Krooked Spoon. Read on to learn how she came up with the idea for these gorgeous, allergy-friendly muesli bars and then hop over to her site for the recipe here.
There are many similarities between Jackie and I. We are both qualified chefs, have a family of boys, live a gluten-free life and we both strive to break the “gluten-free is tasteless” stigma. I whole-heartedly believe that a gluten-free life can be full of flavour, delicacies and bread (albeit gluten-free bread) and I’m positive that Jackie feels the same. I’m so pleased to be able to share my Lime and Cinnamon Muesli Bar recipe with you, all the way from Australia and I hope that you and your families enjoy them as much as we do.
Muesli bars were never part of our snacking food world. We opted more for homemade biscuits, toast with cheese, or humus and crackers but, preschool has made its impression on my little ones, and when a sweet little voice asked for muesli bars, “like the other kids”, how could I refuse.
Commercial varieties of muesli bars generally contain high sugar percentages, added preservatives and minimal nutritional value. Having 2 preschool aged boys who are still learning to love vegetables and fruits, I find I try and make everything nutritionally dense, often high protein, fiber and full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. These muesli bars are no exception. It’s also worth noting that most Australian Preschools and Primary (junior) schools have adopted a nut-free environment as life threatening nut allergies are increasing. In order to be school lunch box friendly the muesli bars had to be nut-free, which is something that most recipes and commercial varieties are not.
And so I hit the kitchen with enthusiasm and determination to create a product that looked, tasted and acted the same, if not better than, a commercial variety but with all the health benefits of being homemade. The resulting recipe is dense, filling, gluten-free, nut-free, refine sugar-free and incredibly nutritious. Perfect for both adults and kids! The lime zest and cinnamon spice create an almost grown up flavour, a subtle depth without losing any youthfulness and convenience and pairs perfectly with the dried fruit.
The recipe is super flexible. Any combination of dried fruit and seeds can be used. Just use what you have on hand. Our bars contained dates, apricots and cranberries, some of my kidlets favourite dried fruit. The sweetness comes from the honey and a touch of golden syrup. Linseed meal is used to help bind the bars together and also adds, protein, fiber, omega 3, vitamin B and potassium. Essentially the recipe is a melt and mix recipe making it a great kids cooking project, which should also encourage any doubters to try them.
The muesli bars are baked and come out golden and slightly glossy. Soft and chewy when warm, crisp and dense when chilled. They are the perfect addition to any lunch box, grown up or young, gluten-free or not. They have fast become a favourite in our house and I hope they will in yours too.
Thank you, Cheryl! Don’t forget to head on over to The Krooked Spoon for the recipe.