Sugar-free Muesli & Bars

Hey there

I just thought that I’d share about my latest food cooking and testing. There’s been a lot of talk lately about sugar and its effect on our health, ranging from what we’ve all known since we were kids = tooth decay, to its impact on blood sugar and its big calorie boost to our diet.

My wife and I are both Type 2 diabetics and have been trying to reduce our sugar intake for some time, with the inevitable “fails”, because hey, it’s still VERY nice? But – we’re now not buying as much food with added sugar and cutting back on the things that used to add the sugar, e.g. icecream and sweets etc, our big weaknesses.

Instead – for sweet treats, we are eating more fresh, dried and canned fruit which, while still having natural fruit sugars also has natural vitamins, minerals and fibre. The fructose, the sugar in fruit is delivered much more slowly, so there’s not that “spike” in blood sugar.

But what do you do when you want something sweet, filling, healthy and convenient?

For a long time muesli bars were promoted as healthy snacks – because of the various nuts, grains and seeds, but in truth were loaded with cane sugar, at levels up to 50%. So I started to wonder – would it be possible to make my own, healthier muesli and muesli bars?

I tried and found that not only WAS it possible – but that it was super easy and inexpensive too! So here’s my very flexible recipe, that takes about 10 – 20 minutes to mix, and with just a quick cook and cool, makes awesome bars or breakfast cereal.

Added Sugar Free Muesli Bars & Cereal

1 cup chopped dried apricots, or prunes, – or raisins, sultanas, or 2 bananas etc (whole).
3/4 cup whole rolled oats or other cereal
1/2 cup raw peanuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts or similar
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds or pumpkin or sunflower
1/4 – 1/3 cup coconut oil or copha or butter (melted) – Note: coconut oil or copha sets bars best
1 Tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest 1 lemon (optional)
1 Tsp Mixed spice or Cinnamon
Pinch salt
3 egg whites – this is high protein and also the “glue” that aids in setting the bars


Preheat oven to 180C.
If using apricots, prunes, bananas or large nuts – chop into smaller pieces in a food processor and place in a bowl.
Mix together the chopped fruit, coconut butter, or copha etc and all other ingredients by hand until combined.
Line a tray or dish with baking paper and pat the mixture onto the bottom to approximately 1 cm thick for muesli bars, or just spread roughly for cereal. If making muesli bars, score while wet into bar shapes.
Cook for 15 mins, turning the tray 1/2 way through the cook.
Allow to cool before placing into fridge.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour before eating, store in fridge.



Garlic and Thyme BBQ Steaks with Chickpea and Capsicum Couscous Salad


4 Bone-in Beef blade steaks



2 soft ripe Roma (or similar) tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
1 tsp Thyme leaves
2 TBS Sherry vinegar
1 TBS Capers
1 TBS Olive oil

Chickpea and Capsicum salad

1 cup Couscous
1 tsp Turmeric
1 red Capsicum – diced
400g Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g baby Spinach
Shredded mint leaves and
Pomegranate seeds to serve


Place steaks in a single layer in a dish

Blend tomato, garlic, thyme, vinegar, capers, olive oil and some freshly cracked black pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour this marinade over the steaks, leave for 30 minutes. Bring 3 cups water to the boil in a medium saucepan, add the couscous and turmeric. Simmer 8-10 minutes or until tender – and then drain, cool slightly and combine with the salad ingredients. Preheat a propane BBQ to medium and cook steaks for 3 minutes each side. Serve with the salad, sprinkled with mint and pomegranate.

Hawaiian Style Lamb Po-Ke Bowl


600g Lamb rump trimmed

2 TBS Soy sauce + extra for drizzling
2 cloves Garlic – crushed
1/2 tsp Sesame oil
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes + extra to serve
1 Cup brown rice
1 green Capsicum – diced to 1 cm pieces
250g Cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 Avocado – 1.5 cm diced or sliced
2 Spring onions – finely sliced + extra to serve
1/2 cup chopped Coriander
Juice of 1 Lemon

Lemon wedges to serve

  1. Combine soy, garlic, sesame oil and chilli flakes in a bowl large enough to hold the lamb. Coat the lamb thoroughly with the marinade and marinate for at least 1 hour – or overnight if possible.
  2. Wash the rice and cook according to the packet instructions.
  3. When ready to cook – preheat a BBQ for 10 minutes; or get it to temperature (if using charcoal). Using a probe or meat thermometer; cook until the internal temperature reaches 55C. Transfer the lamb to a plate and cover with foil to rest for around 10-15 minutes; then slice into 2 cm pieces.
  4. Place the rice into a large bowl and add Capsicum, Tomato, Avocado, Spring onion and Coriander. Drizzle with the Lemon juice and 1-2 teaspoons of Soy sauce. Stir gently and divide into the serving bowls..
  5. Top the bowls with the lamb, sprinkle with the extra Spring onion and Chilli flakes and serve with Lemon wedges on the side.


Aussies = we just LOVE our lamb

Aussies eat around 627 Kg of lamb in their lives. In 2013; we ate 220,000 tonnes – that’s more than the weight of the entire Sydney Opera House! Meat and livestock Australia conducted a poll of 1118 Australians, 70% reported that they believed that lamb was our national meat. And 50% of the Australians polled said that they cooked a lamb roast or lamb chops, once per week.

In 2014 – our national flock was estimated to be 73.1 million head – tipped to rise to 77 million by 2020. Lamb has changed over the years, with new cuts like backstrap, driven by interest from immigrants like the Greeks, Arabians and Persians.

Marketers are focusing on revisions of the traditional lamb consumer message – in a push to improve consumption from a spring only theme; to a year round message.

Cuts – for meat’s tougher times

In the now record beef high price period, beef’s secondary cuts are becoming far more attractive to consumers. Secondary cuts are cuts that have been traditionally associated with slow cookers. But there’s a range that some may have overlooked?

These lesser-known cuts have been enjoyed by Europeans and South Americans for generations and go by the name of: Onglet, Flat iron, Skirt or Flank steak. Take a few extra minutes and ask at your local smaller butcher.

Onglet is well known and popular across Europe. It is best cooked fast (& hot); with a long rest afterwards. Flat iron – is another surpise and comes from the Oyster blade. Once all of the silverskin and gristle is removed – it is delicous and tender (and often well marbled) – and might just give Scotch fillet a run. Best slow charcoal grilled on the BBQ. Grill it to medium – then cut across the grain for a truly amazing taste experience.

And Flank – known in France as Bavette; also needs a good slow char-grill – best enjoyed medium rare to rare. As you can see there is a whole world of taste outside the traditional T-bone or Rump steak?


We spend $46 week on meat….

A new national survey conducted by Galaxy Research, has reported that the average Australian family spends $46 week on cook at home meat. We are still a nation of meat-lovers; spending to $378 Million per week. The breakdown shows that 47% of Australians prefer chicken, 31% beef and 14% lamb.

About half of those canvassed said that they were likely to use slow cookers for cheaper cuts.Aussies are still looking for value without having to compromise. Nine out of ten of those surveyed indicated that Aussie grown meat was important to them.

Beef prices – 25% increase in the past 12 months

Sources monitoring meat prices have noted that beef has risen by as much as 25% in recent times. As a result butchers have noticed a drop in beef sales, as consumers attempt to maximise the value in their meat spend dollar. The Meat and Livestock Association says Australia’s beef consumption has dropped by around 3 Kg per annum.

This has triggered a swing towards the cheaper protein sources – like chicken and pork.  The Australian Bureau of statistics reports beef prices averaging $19.34 per kilogram, compared to $5.30 per kilogram for chicken.

A stand-out – where butchers have noticed an anomaly is in the  sales of cabinet displayed dry-aged beef; where customers will accept prices to $60 per kilogram. These high quality meats also have a “story” and a location that customers can appreciate and will pay more for.