I have to start off by saying THANK YOU.
I just came back from my cookbook tour in London, which is the very last trip I’m taking until the autumn. Now that I have some time to reflect, I have to say how deeply touched and grateful I am to all of you that have showed your support these past few months. Whether you’ve come out to an event, book signing, cooking class, reposted a recipe on your own blog, sent me a love note, or happy vibes through the ether, I have felt it all and will carry the collective experience with me always. I mean it. I am officially overwhelmed with love.
It’s been a very fulfilling time for me, but if I’m being honest, it’s also been a very challenging one. Being on the road and away from my sweet little family has been hard, despite being surrounded by so much goodness. My workload has also been full-on at the same time, so there hasn’t been much in the way of breaks, or breathing, or looking after myself at all. As someone who is perpetually beating the drum of balance, wellness, and self-love, I am beginning to feel like a hypocrite! And how can I expect to be the best I can be for everyone else if I can’t take care of my precious self?
So in the name of practicing what I preach, I’m introducing My New Roots Summer Lights again – all new delicious, healthy recipes, just without the lengthy article. As it takes an average of 20 hours to create a single blog post, shaving a few off of that will give me some time to regain a little more sanity in my life. And maybe even inspire some of you to do the same.
So. These granola bars. They are really, really yummy. Satisfying in all the ways that count; filling without making you feel full, and a salty-sweet flavor balance to make you feel like you’ve gotten everything you need. Maybe more. I have been relying heavily on these to fill the 11am / 4pm gap, avoid late night bad food decisions, and I’ve mowed down a couple (maybe more) for my personal favourite: breakfast-in-a-taxi/airplane/subway/train. Hey, at least I get to sit down.
The matcha green tea powder is what makes the granola bars green. It has a lovely tea-like flavor as it is literally ground tea leaves — a whole food! This beautiful and ancient Japanese tea / tradition is a specialty item that has become very popular worldwide. The quality can differ greatly between brands and styles (culinary vs. ceremonial grade) and I encourage you to look into the process, brand, and source for the matcha that’s right for you and your preferences. Because it is a rarity and a very prized food, it can be cost prohibitive and in that case you are welcome to sprinkle in another kind of superfood powder if you have it (lucuma, maca, baobab, raw cacao -all with their own unique ancestral roots, uses, and traditions), cocoa powder, or protein powder, or whatever else you’re in the mood for. The point is, these are flexible and simple, and a great granola bar base recipe for you to play with. Party on.
The brown rice syrup makes the granola bars ooey-gooey, but because it isn’t overly sweet, I poured in a few tablespoons of maple syrup for good measure. If you are not vegan, you could replace the maple syrup with honey, but I wouldn’t replace the rice syrup with honey because then these would be way too sweet. Just sayin’.
If your tahini is unsalted, add a little more salt to the dry ingredients – I promise that you want the salty-sweet thing going on here. And if you have an allergy to sesame, or feel like something different, use another kind of nut or seed butter instead – hazelnut butter would be divine, pumpkin seed butter too, or combo it up, wild cat!
Matcha Green Granola Bars
Makes 14 bars
2 cups / 200g rolled oats, gluten-free if desired
1 cup / 135g pumpkin seeds
1 ½ cups unsweetened puffed rice cereal (rice, millet, quinoa etc.)
½ cup dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, prunes, goji berries), roughly chopped
¼ tsp. flaky sea salt
1 – 1 ½ Tbsp. matcha green tea powder (to your taste)
1/3 cup / 80ml brown rice syrup
3 Tbsp. / 45 ml maple syrup
½ cup / 125ml tahini
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. Combine oats and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the oats are golden and have a nutty aroma.
2. In a small saucepan combine the brown rice syrup, maple syrup, tahini, coconut oil, vanilla. Whisk to combine. Do not overheat.
3. In a large bowl, combine the cooled oats and pumpkin seeds with the chopped dried fruit, rice puffs, salt, and matcha. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir quickly to mix.
4. Pour the mix into a brownie pan lined with plastic wrap or baking paper. Press the mixture firmly, especially into the corners. Place in the fridge for a couple hours to firm up, then remove from fridge and slice into bars. Keep leftovers in the fridge for up two weeks.
So dear friends, I’m wishing you a very healthy, happy summer full of crazy adventures, (responsible) sun-worshipping, belly laughs, and of course, delicious food.
I love you!
xo, Sarah B