With gyms shut, parks in our area have been full of people exercising, stretching and jogging.
It is great to see so many people keeping fit and the warm spring weather helped.
Now that training in small groups is restarting around the country here are some recipes that will help to keep your energy levels up.
Dates are sticky, which is part of their charm, but it can make them a little tricky to blitz and add to recipes.
I find chopping them into small pieces beforehand and scraping down the sides of the bowl or blender helps.
I generally use a soup gun rather than an upright blender as it is easier to get the sticky bits out of the blades.
Dates vary in sweetness and texture. I am particularly fond of medjool dates as they are plumper than most others.
They are picked when they are ripe rather than allowed to dry and they tend not to have as long a shelf live as other dates, this and the fact that they are labour intensive to farm and harvest makes them a little more expensive than other varieties.
The Toasted Pecan and Oat Bars as well as the Cocoa and Peanut Butter Squares are both dairy-free.
There is gluten in the oats but if you are on a wheat-free diet they should also work for you.
If you feel like a sweet treat post work-out or even after a morning stroll with a cup of tea these bars are packed with flavour.
Toasted pecan and oat bars
80g of dates, destoned and chopped
15g of dried apricots, chopped
100g of pecan nuts, chopped and toasted
130g porridge oats, toasted
50g maple syrup
70g of peanut butter or almond butter
15g of dried cranberries
Line an 8 inch square tin with parchment.
Blitz the chopped dates and apricots until they look like a rough paste.
Stir the pecans and oats together. Mash the dried fruit into the nuts and oats.
Very gently heat the syrup and nut butter and pour this into the other ingredients, add in the cranberries.
Flatten the mixture into your prepared dish and place it into the fridge to harden.
Slice into bars with a warm knife.
Store in the fridge once cut.
Cocoa and peanut butter squares
140g of ground almonds
150g of porridge oats
300g of dates, stones removed and chopped
2 tbs of honey
2 tbs of cocoa powder
4 tbs of salted peanuts, finely chopped
4 tbs of peanut butter
Line a 9 inch square tin with parchment
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz - you can pulse the blender to make this easier and you might need to scrape the ingredients back down towards the blades a few times.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared tin and allow to cool in the fridge for about a half an hour.
Cut it into whatever size squares you like using a warm knife.
Fig and cinnamon squares
160g of dried figs, chopped
100g of medjool dates, de stoned and chopped
175g of plain flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder, sieved
1 tsp of ground cinnamon, sieved
90g of light muscovado sugar
100g of porridge oats
175g of cold butter, cubed
Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 9 inch square tin with parchment.
Place the chopped figs and dates into 320mls of warm water and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the dried fruit has softened completely. Set aside.
Sieve the baking powder and cinnamon into the flour and mix them well.
Add in the sugar and oats and mix these in as well.
Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like rough bread crumbs.
Press half of the mixture onto the tray and spread the fig mixture on top.
Spread the other half of the crumble mixture on top and press it lightly.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Slice into squares once it has cooled.