The importance of maintaining muscle strength over 40- Part 1 Legs

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

As you age muscle mass deteriorates if you do not take steps to reverse this.  In fact muscle mass declines by up to 1% per year after age 40 and accelerates after 60 or if you have a sedentary lifestyle.  This leads to loss of strength and eventually reduced mobility. 
When you exercise muscles, those muscles pull on bone which helps strengthen your bones - something which is of great interest to me as I have a degree of osteoporosis caused by illness in my thirties.

Also muscles burn calories, so as your muscle mass declines your metabolism lowers so that you may put on weight.

So do not delay - take steps to reverse muscle loss.  Below are some of the steps that I have taken to increase muscle strength.  

I power walk!  This is as beneficial as running but it also gives you chance to enjoy the scenery (especially in my case, the birds!) and so is more mindful.  

Top tips - it is good to power walk with an exercise buddy (in my case, my daughter) - you do not notice then just how hard you are working and exercise becomes a social activity.  

Swing your arms which increases the aerobic benefits of power walking.

Walk with wrist and/or ankle weights - this is especially beneficial if you are petite.

I have recently started using a resistance band.  In the following moves I have double looped my band but you can get mini-bands (Safety note - make sure that your resistance band is in good condition. If it breaks you may fall. Remove the resistance band before changing position to avoid falls. Always check with your doctor before starting a new programme of exercise). 

Lie with your knees bent and place the band around your thighs.  Bring your shins level with the ceiling.  Breathe out, take your knees wide, breathe in release and continue.  After several repetitions remove the band and come to all 4s, placing the band around your ankles.  

Breathe in tuck your toes, breathe out and lift your hips.  Inhale lift your right leg, exhale bend your right knee and round your back bringing your knee towards your right arm. 
Breathe in take your right leg back, breathe out release your foot back to the mat. Repeat second side.  Breathe in drop your knees to the mat.  Remove the band, take your bottom back to your heels and extend your arms forward to rest (place your head on a cushion if necessary). When you are ready come up to standing and place the band around your ankles. 

From standing with the band taut, inhale lift your right leg forward and up, exhale release. Repeat lifting your leg out to the side then back and up.  

On the yoga blog, flexiladiesyoga are some more leg strengthening yoga poses which you might want to practice- 'Yoga for muscle strength-Part 1 Legs'-

Stay strong, stay young 
Janet x 

Meatless Monday: Lentil, black bean and sweet potato enchiladas

Monday, 25 April 2016

This Mexican inspired dish was a big hit in our house!  The cashew nut 'cheese' is a fantastic alternative for vegans - just whiz the ingredients up in a blender for an instant 'cheese' sauce - magical.  Cashew nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants too and they do not have the saturated fat of cheese.

Lentil, black bean and sweet potato enchiladas

Serves 2 
You will need

2 tortillas
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped 
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tsp pink salt in 400ml hot water
70g brown organic lentils
1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped
4 heaped tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp stevia
1 can black-eye beans
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin

'Cheese sauce'
70g cashews
100ml water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Soak the cashew nuts in 100ml water for a few hours or overnight.

Heat the oil and sweat the onion for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue for a further minute.  

Rinse the lentils and add to the onion and garlic along with the pink salt in hot water, tomato puree, stevia, sweet potato, chilli and cumin.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer until the lentils and sweet potato are cooked and the liquid reduced.  
Stir in the black-eye beans.  

Cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish with the sauce.  Place some of the sauce in the centre of each enchilada and fold.  Place the tortillas, fold side down on top of the sauce in the ovenproof dish.  Top with any remaining sauce.  

To make the 'cheese' sauce blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender.  Pour over the tomato based sauce.  

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes.

Serve with a green salad.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog this week is a beginners' peak pose practice. Dancer is an energising pose that helps improve posture and balance- 

In Ayurveda, kapha dosha dominates in Spring. This means that, even at this uplifting time of year we may feel sluggish and prone to sniffles, sinus problems and allergies. These yoga poses on my 'sister' blog will balance kapha dosha enabling you to really enjoy this wonderful time of year -

This week's blog post and yoga video is to help with stress especially in men. 
There are some differences between how men and women respond to stressful situations. Read more on my 'sister' blog by following the link below-

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Four (Guest Post)

Ah, lovely spuds- this everyday staple isn’t too difficult to grow, especially if you pick a variety with good disease and blight resistance. This year I’ve planted a variety called “Arran Pilot”- I’ve heard that it is delicious when freshly picked, so I can’t wait to see how it tastes.

Arran Pilot is a “first early”, which means that the seed potatoes are planted between late February and early May. “Second earlies” can be planted planted from March to late May, and “maincrops” are planted March to March to mid-May. First earlies and second earlies tend to produce smaller spuds, whilst maincrops tend to produce larger potatoes. There are also differences in the time between planting and harvesting- maincrops tend to take a little longer to mature than the earlies.  A final variety, “second cropping”, is planted in early August for an autumn harvest.

A few weeks ago I started “chitting” the seed potatoes I bought from my local garden centre. This just means standing the seed potatoes in egg boxes or seed trays in a bright spot until they sprout. The seed potatoes are stood with the end with more little dents (or “eyes”) facing upwards. This is known as the “rose end”. The seed potatoes need to be protected from frost, so a windowsill or greenhouse is ideal for this.  A few weeks later I have little sprouts from the rose end of my seed potatoes, known as “chits”.

Chitted seed potato

This method helps to boost the growth of your potatoes, encouraging strong shoots to grow. Don’t worry, though, if you haven’t chitted your seed potatoes, as it’s absolutely fine to plant them unchitted. After all, commercial potato farmers don’t chit potatoes- it just wouldn’t be practical in the volumes that they grow.

Seed potatoes in trench

To plant the seed potatoes, I dug a trench in my allotment about 10cm deep. I then planted each seed potato 30cm apart, the rose end facing upwards (see picture). I only had a single row of spuds, but if you are planting more than one row you need to leave 60cm between rows. Then simply fill in the trench to cover the seed potatoes. Potatoes tend to need quite a bit of water to help the tubers to grow, so make sure you water regularly, especially in dry spells.  

Filling in the trench to cover the seed potato

You might also want to check out my earlier post on spring planting:-

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting One:

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Two:

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Three:

Happy planting!

Love, Becky x 

Earth Day 2016

Friday, 22 April 2016

For more ideas on how you can help our beautiful planet please see the blog post I wrote last year for Earth Day- 

Red, white and blue vegan 'cheesecake'

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Our wonderful Queen is 90 tomorrow! 
In celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday, I have made this red white and blue vegan 'cheesecake'.  The red colour comes from the raspberries, the white from coconut and the blue from blueberries (admittedly these can be towards the purple end of blue but they are close!).  The end result is delicious.

Red, white and blue vegan 'cheesecake'
Serves 3-4

For the base 

100g dairy free spread
150g rice flour 
5g stevia
pinch cinnamon
20g hazelnuts, crushed (place in a plastic bag and roll to crush with a rolling pin)

For the middle layer
75g cashews, soaked overnight
1 can full fat coconut milk 
1 sachet vegetarian setting agent
2 tablespoons stevia or to taste
100g blueberries

For the topping 
100g raspberries 
1 tbsp stevia or to taste

To make the biscuit layer, cream the spread and stevia then add the flour and cinnamon and mix to form a biscuit dough.  Add the crushed hazelnuts and work into the dough until evenly distributed.  Roll the dough into a round, prick with a fork and bake at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes. Divide the cooled biscuit round into 3 or 4 and crumble into glasses.  

To make the middle layer, separate the coconut cream off and set aside.  Make the remaining liquid up to 500ml and heat to boiling then stir in the vegetarian setting agent. Remove from the heat, add the coconut cream and cashew nuts and blend on a high speed blender. Divide between the glasses then stir some of the blueberries through the coconut 'cheese' mixture. Leave to set.

To make the topping heat the raspberries with the stevia until the raspberries begin break up. Cool then use to top the coconut and blueberry 'cheese' mixture.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

Meatless Monday: Millet and Shiitake Arancini

Monday, 18 April 2016

Arancini was introduced to Sicily by Arab invaders. It is a delicious way of using up left over risotto.  In this recipe I make a risotto using millet (not just for the budgie!!!) which is available hulled in your local supermarket. Millet makes a creamy risotto without the addition of dairy produce.  It is a good source of magnesium which can help lower blood pressure which in turn helps reduce the risk of heart attack. It also helps reduce the severity of asthma and the frequency of migraine.  Nutritional yeast adds the ‘cheese’ flavour which in non-vegan risotto comes from parmesan cheese. Did you know shiitake mushrooms are a symbol of longevity in Asia?  Apart from enhancing immunity, shiitake mushrooms prevent plaque in arteries and are a good source of B vitamins and iron.  They have a 'meaty' texture and a delicious almost ‘smoky’ flavour.

The risotto needs to cool before using it to make arancini. In this recipe the risotto is 'breadcrumbed' using flaxseeds then baked.

Millet and Shiitake Arancini
You will need

For the risotto
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
125g Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1 tsp pink salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

For the coating 
buckwheat flour 
almond milk
olive oil spray

Fry the onion in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes.  Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further minute.  Add the millet and stir into the mushroom, garlic and onion mixture.  Add the water and bring to the boil.  Reduce to a low heat and cover the pan.  Leave 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Stir in the nutritional yeast.  Leave to cool.  
Form the risotto into balls and coat with flour.  Brush with almond milk then roll in flaxseeds.  Roll in breadcrumbs then place on a baking tray.  Bake at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes.

Serve with a side salad.

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Selfless service means deeds performed for the good of others without any thought of personal gain. 
In our video this week we open our hearts to love and compassion to create a desire to alleviate suffering in others. We end with a loving kindness meditation.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-

Revolved Side Angle is a challenging pose. It stretches and strengthens the legs, opens up the shoulders and stimulates the abdominal organs stimulating digestion and elimination. 
In this last blog post and video of the series 'Back to basics-Standing poses' I show you how to do the pose with modifications to make it more accessible.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-

It is natural for men to be competitive but this is not what yoga is about - rather yoga is a journey of self-discovery. But being competitive in yoga can lead to injury.
In our yoga video this week, we use 'finding your edge' as a way to overcome this on the yoga mat.
Blog post and video on my 'sister' blog-

Spring clean your cleaning products

Many of our cleaning products have potentially harmful chemicals in them.  Here are just a few:-

Chlorine is the main constituent of bleach(which is usually a solution of sodium hypochlorite).  Breathing bleach can damage your lungs.  It is also linked to liver and kidney damage and breast cancer.  It is also added to our water supply to kill microbes.  In drinking water it has been linked to bladder, rectal and breast cancer.

Phthalates which are fragrances used in air fresheners etc which are endocrine disruptors.

PERC (perchloroethylene) is found in carpet and upholstery cleaners.  It can cause dizziness, headaches, respiratory problems and it is carcinogenic.

Triclosan is an antibacterial found in washing up liquids.  It is thought to be an endocrine disruptor and may be carcinogenic.

Ammonia is a common ingredient in multipurpose cleaners, oven and drain cleaners and toilet cleaners.  It can cause respiratory irritation, headaches, dizziness, skin and eye irritation.  

Sodium hydroxide is used in drain cleaners and oven cleaners.  It is extremely corrosive and can burn skin, and cause respiratory irritation.

Below are some suggestions for non-harmful alternatives which are much cheaper than manufactured cleaners:-

Essential oils are a good alternative to air fresheners. Using a diffuser you can change your essential oil to suit your needs. You can also purify the air in a room using a salt lamp. Please see

Lemon juice is a wonderful natural cleaner.  I have used it as an alternative to bleach on stainless steel sinks which have become stained.
You can use it to deodorise your microwave.  Simply place a few lemon slices in water in a microwave safe bowl. Run on high for one minute.  

You can use a mixture of lemon juice and salt to scrub grill and oven racks. The mixture also makes a good scrub to remove scum from shower curtains.  Rinse well.  

Remove scum from baths by rubbing with a cut lemon.

Baking powder and white distilled vinegar are great for unblocking drains. Make sure you put the baking powder down the plug hole first then the vinegar - expect foam!  A quarter of a cup of baking powder and a half a cup of vinegar should be sufficient.  Leave for a few minutes then rinse well with hot water.   

Baking powder can also be used to clean your oven.  Remove the oven racks (see above for how to clean these) Make a paste using baking powder and water and apply to the oven. Leave overnight.  Next day wipe the paste off and spray vinegar on any baking powder residue.  Wipe clean and leave to dry.

White distilled vinegar makes a great window cleaner.  Use equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Use like a spray glass cleaner.  (Note - if your windows are really dirty wash with soapy water first and allow to dry).

White distilled vinegar is also good for cleaning worktops - antibacterial too!  Use 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.

You may also like -'Spring clean your beauty products'-

Janet x

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Three (Guest Post)

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Doris Day might have said “please don’t eat the daisies”, but did you know that there are several flowers that you can eat? Edible flowers make a delicious and pretty addition to summer salads and homemade cakes. This week I’ve been sowing marigolds for eating later in the summer, as marigold seeds need to be planted no later than April. Marigolds not only add beautiful colour to the garden, but they also have a fresh and citrusy flavour.

If you want to have a go, the first thing to do is to check that the variety of marigold you are growing is edible. I probably don’t have to say this, but please don’t eat anything from the garden unless you are 100% sure that it is an edible plant. Read the information on the back of the seed packet carefully to ensure that you have chosen an edible variety.

Marigold seeds 

Once you have bought your marigold seeds, you will need to sow them in seed trays. To do this, fill a seed tray with compost, and then water. You will find that the compost in the trays compacts a little with the watering. This will give you enough space in each cell to place the marigold seeds on top of the moist compost, and then to cover them over with another light covering of compost. Sow 1-2 seeds in each cell- you can always thin out any 2-seed cells later once you are sure that at least one of the plants has germinated. Water regularly with a spray bottle (or a small watering can with a rose attachment) to avoid washing the seeds away. 

Filling the seed tray

Sowing the marigold seeds 

Once the marigold plants have grown to about 6 inches high, you will need to “pot them on”. This just means moving the plants that have successfully germinated into larger pots so that they have more space to grow. When you remove the plants from the cells, be careful not to damage the delicate roots. Marigolds in pots can be planted 4-6 inches apart. If you nip off the flowerheads once they start to fade, the plant will respond by producing more flowers- this is known as “deadheading”. Doing this will prevent the plant from going to seed, giving you lovely flowers all summer long.

You might also want to check out my earlier post on spring planting, Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting One:

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Two:

Happy planting!

Love Becky x 

Meatless Monday : Mexican tostadas

Monday, 11 April 2016

Tostada means toasted. In Mexico the name is given to dishes with a toasted base - although the tortillas for the following recipe are fried.  

If you are short of time you can use bought tortillas.  I used buckwheat flour which makes this recipe gluten free but wheat flour or spelt would be fine if you do not need to be gluten free. If you are gluten free I have a tip that you might find useful -  when baking bread, pizza bases etc add psyllium husk as a substitute for gluten to your gluten free flour.  An additional benefit of this soluble fibre is that it helps lower cholesterol and therefore the risk of heart disease.  

Scale up the quantities if you are feeding a crowd and let everyone choose their own toppings.      
Mexican tostadas
Serves 2

For the tortillas
150g buckwheat flour
2 tsp psyllium husk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
75 ml warm water
2 tsp organic olive oil + extra for greasing the pan

For the refried beans
1 tbsp organic olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp tamari
1 can black-eye beans
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander

Shredded lettuce
Chilli slices (if you like your tostada hot!!)
Avocado slices
Diced tomato
Diced peppers
red onion slices
Coconut cream and fresh coriander leaves to serve.

To make the tortillas place the flour in a bowl with the baking powder, psyllium and salt. Mix the oil with the warm water and add, mixing to form a dough. Knead for 2 minutes then turn onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll out until around 6inches in diameter. Grease a non-stick pan with oil and fry each round for a minute on each side.  Place on a baking tray in a low oven to keep warm while you make the refried beans.

To make the refried beans, fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the beans, tamari and spices and cook for a few minutes until the heated through.  

To assemble place each tortilla on a plate, top with the refried beans then your chosen toppings.  Drizzle with coconut cream and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve.  

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 10 April 2016

All of nature has rest periods and people are no different.

In this week's yoga video we practice a more restful sequence of restorative yoga.

Revolved Triangle opens up the chest, stimulates the abdominal organs, strengthens the legs and improves balance. 

This blog post and video will show you how to do the pose-

Men can be reluctant to own up to depression and seek help. They feel they should be strong, in control. 

In this yoga video and blog post we look at depression in men and how yoga can help-

Spring clean your beauty products

coconut oil is a great natural beauty product

So many of our beauty products are laden with chemicals, many of which are potentially hazardous to our health. Below are just a few of the chemicals that are used in every day beauty products - there are many more.

Parabens - this is often used as a preservative in, facial creams, shampoos, shaving cream and body washes.  It is an endocrine disruptor and may cause allergies.

Parfum - this is added as a fragrance.  Manufacturers do not have to list the ingredients in parfum so potentially this could include any of hundreds of chemicals which could harm health.  Phthalates are just one group of the chemicals used as a fragrance and can disrupt the endocrine system.

Toluene used in nail polishes is associated with breathing problems and immune system impairment.

Sodium laureth sulphate is often used in shampoos to help create a lather.

Triclosan is added to antibacterial soaps, cleansers, antiperspirants, toothpaste because it limits the growth of bacteria but again it is an endocrine disruptor.

Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in nail polishes, deodorants etc but is a carcinogen.

Below are a few natural products you may use as an alternative to chemical laden beauty products:-

Use natural crystal deodorants

Castille liquid soap can be used as a handwash or as a shampoo just don't expect it to lather like shampoo.  You can adapt it to your needs.  For instance if you are prone to dandruff you could add a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil.  If you have greasy hair you could add some lemon juice (be aware however that lemon juice may bring out the highlights in your hair and increase the bleaching effect of the sun)  If you have dry or damaged hair you could add a little coconut oil. 

Coconut oil is a wonderful beauty aid.  Coconut oil is a natural moisturiser but if you are prone to breakouts you may want to use shea butter which is a non-comodogenic natural moisturiser. Coconut oil can also be used as a cleanser. Please see 'Coconut oil cleanser'-

If Spring has a drying effect on your skin you might want to consider this face mask which uses all natural ingredients 'Spring skincare'-

You can also make your own sugar scrub.  Simply use 3 tablespoons of sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil.  I like to add a couple of drops of rose essential oil which helps your skin stay moist.

Now that it's spring you may also like a bentonite clay face mask. Use weekly to detoxify and cleanse your skin, treat acne, exfoliate, reduce pores and wrinkles. Please see 'Detox your skin- bentonite clay face mask'-

So before you buy any more beauty products you may want to consider if there is a natural alternative.

Be a natural beauty,
Janet x

Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Two (Guest Post)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hello lovely readers : ) I’m Becky, Janet’s daughter, and I’m here today to share with you the second of my guest posts about spring planting. The growing season is really getting underway now, and that means rolling up my sleeves and doing some planting.

This week I’ve been planting radishes and parsnips, using a technique called intercropping. Intercropping is when you plant two or more different crops together, so you can maximise the productivity of your patch. A good tip is to plant a fast-growing variety in between a slower-growing variety, so the fast-growing variety is harvested before the slower-growing variety needs the space. In this case, the radish is the speedy customer, being harvested in only three to six weeks from planting. This means that the radishes are long gone before the parsnips mature.

Parsnip seeds

Radish seeds

If you’d like to have a go, dig a small trench, fill with compost and plant your parsnip seeds 9 inches apart at a depth of about half an inch (see pictures). Then put radish seeds in between where you have planted the parsnip seeds at 3 and 6 inches, sowing at the same depth. Cover all the seeds with compost and then water in.

Trench with compost

Planting parsnip seeds 

Planting radish seeds

Another good tip with parsnip seeds is to try cluster planting. Parsnips are slow growing and have to be planted at a fairly wide spacing, so it’s a frustrating waste of space if a seed fails to germinate. The solution is to thinly sow four or five seeds at each position where you want a parsnip to grow, and then when they germinate, just thin out all but the strongest seedling (“thinning out” just means to pull up all but the strongest plants).

Happy planting!

Love Becky x 

You might also want to check out my earlier post on spring planting, Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting One:

Meatless Monday:Vegan gumbo

Monday, 4 April 2016

The word gumbo comes from a West African word for okra but the use of a roux may come from French cuisine. Gumbo was first documented in the 19th century and is now associated with Louisiana cuisine and usually made with fish or chicken and sausage for Christmas and Thanksgiving.  In this vegan version, I am using chickpeas and red kidney beans.  You can use whatever vegetables you wish.  If you are using okra add it near the end of the cooking time.

Serves 2

You will need

For the roux
1 1/2 rounded tbsp brown rice flour
1 tbsp organic olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 parsnip, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, sliced
75g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp chilli (or to taste)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 can organic chickpeas
1/2 can organic red kidney beans
400ml water

To make a roux mix the oil and brown rice flour and heat until the resulting roux starts to brown.  Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook, adding a little water if necessary. 

Slowly add the remaining water a little at a time. Add the vegetables, chilli, oregano, paprika and tamari and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for around 40 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and red kidney beans.  Serve over organic brown rice or with crusty bread.  

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell

This week on Flexiladiesyoga

Sunday, 3 April 2016

We all want to be happy. There comes a point as a yogi when you realise that lasting happiness does not come from material things. 
In this week's yoga video we let go of the burdens we carry from the past and make space in our bodies and minds for positive thoughts. Please see my 'sister' blog-

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch) is a challenging pose but it is a good stretch for the hamstrings, opens up the spine, calms the brain and improves your balance.
This blog post and video on my 'sister' blog will show you how to do the pose and some points to watch out for-

Men tend to be less flexible in their hips than women. In this yoga video we put the hip joint through its full range of motion in order to help increase hip flexibility.
Blog post and yoga video on my 'sister' blog-

Healthy snacks - double choc fruit and nut oat bars

In the last of our series on healthy snacks we are making double choc fruit and nut oat bars which have no sugar added.  The only sugars are natural sugars from the sultanas and you may leave those out if you wish. So many recipes claim to be sugar-free but include ingredients such as honey (not a vegan ingredient), agave syrup etc which are essentially SUGAR.  The organic sugar-free vegan chocolate came from a local health food store (a great find!!) but if you can't find any substitute 2 tablespoons of cacao powder.  The only downside to not having sugar is that the bars tend to be crumbly so leave in the baking tray to cool, cut carefully and remove from the baking tray using a cake slice.  If you do get squares that crumble don't throw them away - they make a good granola or 'trail' mix to carry with you as a snack.

Double choc fruit and nut oat bars
Makes around 12

You will need
200g rolled oats 
70g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
8g stevia
125g dairy free spread
6 squares organic vegan sugar-free choc
1 chia seed 'egg' (mix 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water)
70g sultanas
30g flaked almonds
50g cacao nibs

Mix the oats, rice flour and baking powder. Heat the dairy free spread and chocolate squares and add to the dry ingredients a little at a time while mixing.  Mix in the chia seed 'egg' sultanas, flaked almonds and cacao nibs.  Line a baking tray with baking parchment and press the mixture firmly in the tin.  Place in the fridge for 1/2 hour then bake at 200 degrees for around 25 minutes.  Leave to cool before cutting.

Please see also-

Janet x

Recipe Copyright © 2016 40plusandalliswell