Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Healthy Muesli Bars

Being part of a book club is a great way of reading books I otherwise might not have. And therefore, I was very excited about the book club's choice this month, Sophie Kinsella's "Can You Keep a Secret ?".

Emma is a 25 year old assistant marketing executive in Panther Corporation who aspires to get a promotion soon so that she can prove herself to her parents. Sent to represent her company to finalise a promotional arrangement, she sees this opportunity as a turning point her career. However, the deal falls through and with that, her hope of securing a promotion also comes crashing down and she's left consoling herself with a couple of vodkas at the airport.

Already a little tipsy and terrified of flying, when the plane encounters mid-air turbulence, fearing the worst, she starts blabbering and ends up spilling out all her secrets to a handsome man sitting next to her.

"...put Math GCSE grade 'A' on my CV, when I really only got a 'C'."
"...always have a glass of sweet sherry before a date, to calm my nerves."
"...coffee at work is the most disgusting stuff you've ever drunk, absolute poison."

Basically harmless, but very embarrassing little details about herself. The plane lands safely and she's horrified at having revealed so much about herself, but then she tells herself that she is unlikely to run into that stranger again in her life.

Surprise, surprise - the handsome stranger turns out to be Jack Harper, the founder of the company she works for....who doesn't let her forget that he remembers every single thing she told him on the flight.

Emma's life will never be the same again.....

So what do I say about a book that I read in one sitting, in about 6 hours flat?!

Yes, it was a page turner. Yes, there are some funny moments in the book.

But, it was very reminiscent of Bridget Jones. And though the initial premise was engaging - that of spilling your secrets to a complete stranger, the real plot was extremely flimsy and frankly, quite unrealistic.

Food-wise, there wasn't really too much to be inspired about, but this caught my eye..."I've got some Panther bars for you," I say, nodding to my box. Grandpa is completely addicted to Panther energy bars...."

Now, I've wanted to make cereal bars forever, but somehow, never got into the kitchen armed with a recipe or for that matter, an intention of making them! Cooking for the book club read seemed like the perfect excuse to finally make some cereal bars.

Mixed n matched a lot of recipes that came up after a Google search to come up with this version of healthy cereal bars.


Muesli: 1and 1/4 cup
Wholemeal flour: 1/2 cup
Plain flour: 1/4 cup

Dates: 1 cup, de-seeded and chopped
Apple: 1/2, chopped
Walnuts: 1/4 cup, chopped

Oil: 1/4 cup
Apple juice: 1/2 cup
Juice of half a lemon

Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Grated ginger/lemon rind: 1/2 tsp, optional
Honey/brown sugar: 3 tbsps (I used only honey, but I think a combination of the two would be better)


Place the dates in a pan alongwith the honey/brown sugar, lemon juice and the apple juice. Simmer till the dates turn soft and mushy, about 5 minutes.

Once cool, combine with the muesli, plain and wholemeal flours. Toss in the chopped apple and walnuts, cinnamon, salt and grated ginger and mix well.

Finally, pour in the oil to get a crumbly mixture.

Grease and line a 8" square cake pan with baking paper. Transfer the mixture in to the pan, press down to get an even layer.

Pre-heat the oven for 10 mins at 180 deg C and bake till the top is golden brown and the sides start to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 35-40 minutes.

With a sharp knife, cut into bars. Allow to cool before separating the bars.

Crunchy but not crumbly, soft and not chewy or dense, these cereal bars are a high energy treat. Perfect for a grab and go breakfast or an energy boost before a workout. Something that I am certain I will make more often now!

Here's what the other members made:
Aparna made a 5 minute chocolate cake, Bhagyashri made Shortbread Triangles, Sweatha made Cheddar Cheese Crisps, PJ made Suralichi Wadi, Jayasri made Mango Smoothie and Simran made a Pink Pina Colada.

Our read month is Julie and Julia, write in to Simran - bombayfoodie(at)gmail(dot)com - if you want to join the book club.


  1. Beautiful clicks dear....Bar looks healthy and delicious...

  2. hi Aqua, the bars look so professionally made.

  3. Such a awesome shot. recipe looks delicious.

  4. Great pick to make from the book. Your bars look delicious.

  5. These look delicious!!

    Apu@ Annarasa

  6. Woww healthy and nutritious bars looks awesome..

  7. Beautiful pic and you've sold me on these bars
    ! May not get that book though! Although reading that first paragraph was engrossing! Maybe you should write a book instead!

  8. loved those muselli bars and your book review!

  9. Love the muesli oops I mean panther bars.Healthy and obviously everyone will love these than the original panter bars.Loved the book and yeah the plot is flimsy.
    BTW,Aqua,saw your chicpea chaat and cannot wait to try it.No,I did not receive your comment only the mail you had sent.It happens sometimes but I am very happy and thankful that you visit my site and took time to mail me.
    I sometimes find less time to leave a comment but always read a recipe.Thanks

  10. Hi Aqua, first time here, fell in love with your bars, I felt picking up some before I went to work!!, they are gorgeous!!, healthy and absolutely full of love!!

  11. This is absolutely healthy and yummy bar, eggless too...

  12. beautiful clicks... loved ur presentation... even though the plot for book sounded little filmy but looks like a nice timepass..

  13. Thank you all for your comments!

    Joumana, you made my day :)
    If you know any publishers, do refer them to me!

  14. Gorgeous pic Aqua, the bars look decadent n healthy. I have bookmarked this recipe. Thanks


It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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