Valentine’s Day is not a big day for me. I have been in love for the past 16 years with the same gorgeous man and I do my best to show to him every single day what he means to me. How is it going? To be honest, not always great. Between his endless hours at work and my exhausting full-time motherhood (and try to be a blogger) situation, we see each other at 10:00 at night and we are in such deplorable condition that we barely can speak to each other. Then, there is that magical moment no matter what, where, when I realize that my life would have been so empty, pointless, petty, and hollow without that man. This is my Valentine’s moment and I celebrate it in my own personal, emotional, crazy, unconditional way. This way includes neither flowers, nor fancy dinners, nor sugar, chocolate etc.
I really don’t intend to offend those you like flowers and those fancy dinners. God knows how much I need a fancy dinner right now. Alone with my man in a nice restaurant, eating a QUIET childless dinner. Really? Count me in! Not in Valentine’s Day though but the day I feel like. Do you know what I mean?
What’s this obsession with sugar on February 14th? Why should we celebrate with sugar instead of …let’s say…salad! Imagine feeding each other veggies and smoothies instead of candies, cookies etc. All kidding aside, we can make better and healthier options and still celebrate an event or a day.
That’s is exactly the purpose of this post. I would like to propose an alternative to all that sugar, chocolate, and candy feast. It is called sesame honey bars which is actually a confection of sesame seeds and honey pressed into a bar or any other shape we prefer. I chose some of my sesame treats to be heart shaped as the symbol of the day….cutie or what?
“Pasteli” is as old as the Greek civilization itself and it contains only two ingredients: sesame seeds the basic one and honey that binds everything together in a perfect tasteful culinary harmony. Cinnamon, orange or lemon and cloves give their own magic touch to that recipe. You may add nuts like almonds, pistachio but this recipe is the basic one.
Don’t let the simplicity of the ingredients fool you because the recipe I share is going to satisfy your sweet tooth in the most tasteful way and provide proteins, calcium, iron and the good fats your body needs. That’s why pasteli is also called the “Greek energy bar”. Do I have to mention that kids love it? Do your kids a favor and make that snack for them. I assure you that they are going to love that sweet portable treat in their lunchbox.
The one and only tip is not to overcook the sesame seeds or they will become bitter.
Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
- 1 ½ cup sesame seeds
- ¾ cup honey
- Orange or lemon peels
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cloves
- In a pan, cook sesame seeds over low to medium heat. Stir continuously for 5 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and stir some more until seeds cool down.
- In a small pot add honey, orange or lemon peels, cinnamon, cloves and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove peels and cloves and mix well seeds with honey.
- Line a lightly greased parchment paper, pour the mixture and place another greased parchment paper on it (like a sesame sandwich). Place the mixture in silicone molds (providing cavities are not big) or on a pan or on a table using a rolling pin to spread it out.
- Let it cool for about half an hour and carefully remove the top sheet. Use a knife to cut in shapes you prefer. Store them in airtight food container preferably with parchment paper between them.