My life in 5 (cent) pieces

(Banana, cashew and sesame flapjacks)

Recently while trying to reduce the clutter in our house, I found the coin pig which B keeps his change in. He has a thing for not carrying spare change around. I have a thing about clutter. We don’t actually own that much stuff (aside from (ahem) cookbooks) but the truth is, my brain has a crazy way of coping with stress. When stressed, some people shop. I declutter.

So I made it a mission to get rid of every single coin and for the past week have been walking around with an extremely heavy wallet, slightly fearing that I would be caught out on a lie if anyone were to ask me for spare change. Interestingly, I’ve discovered that :

1) A friend will hear of my plan for total spare change dissipation and call it crazy. Why don’t you just take it to a bank? Well I could.. but how boring is that?

2) Twenty 10-cent pieces buys you a pretzel from the Swiss Bakery on Oxford Street. But I have a strange propensity towards apologising when paying in small currency (why? It’s still legal tender) so I’ve given up buying pretzels for the time being.

3) The local newsstand seems to welcome spare change, so I guess I’ll be getting the newspaper from them more often.

4) When a scruffy lady approaches you with a request for a donation to a charity you hadn’t heard of before and you offer her your 5-cent pieces, she will say no thanks and walk away. B says this only further confirms his theory that carrying too much spare change makes you a social leper.

5) Twenty 5-cent pieces also buys you bag of rolled oats from the supermarket. But the lady behind the counter will inspect every single coin closely and hand back to you the rogue New Zealand coin lying innocently in the pile. Once you’ve gotten over the embarrassment however, you can use the bag of oats to make Dan Lepard’s halva flapjacks. Trust me, after you make these, you’ll never use or want another flapjack recipe ever again.

For my flapjacks, I used roasted cashews and whole dried bananas (chopped) instead of the dates and walnuts. The lovely sesame flavour and chewiness of these flapjacks reminded me of Jupiter Caramel Bars (for those of us who are of an age substantial enough to remember those..). Spare change never tasted so good.

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  1. Reemski said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

    I have to admit, we just deposited almost $400 in change. They now have these machines that you just dump the coins in and then it spits out a receipt. You then take the receipt to the counter and either collect it in paper/plastic money or deposit it into your account.

    I loved Jupiter bars, and am still very partial to sesame bars

  2. Lucie said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    Haha! I always apologize when I pay with small changes as well! Your flapjacks look like a perfect tea-time snack πŸ™‚

  3. Wei-Wei said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

    Reemski – $400, in spare change? Daaaaaaaaang. I feel sorry for the clerk, actually. But it makes me nervous to have lots of little notes in my wallet because it feels much less substantial than several 100 RMB notes. πŸ˜€ BTW: Flapjacks are sort of like granola bars, right? They look yummy.


  4. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    I hoard like no tomorrow but in neat piles, my partner de-clutters. He doesn’t carry change either, choosing instead to put it in a change jar (which he frequently accuses me of stealing from). Only when I need a coffee though! And then it’s justified.

  5. Rosa said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    Lovely flapjacks!

    My apartment is also full of clutter! ;-P



  6. Gummi Baby said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    Great piece and, as usual, you managed to make your flapjacks so much better than the original! I must admit though that the name “flapjack” threw me as I’ve always pictured flapjacks as being like pancakes or hotcakes, who knew? I love Jupiter Bars too! πŸ˜€

  7. Y said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

    Reemski/Wei-Wei : Crazy isn’t it? I can’t even begin to imagine what $400 looks like in change!

    Gummi Baby : Funny, I’d totally forgotten about flapjacks also being pancakes. These flapjacks are more like oat bars. They were one of the first things I ever baked as a kid – but those then, weren’t half as good as these ones.

  8. Adriana from Baking Powders said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    my goodness! i’ve never made flapjacks and i love bananas… well all know that means I need to make this! they look delicious!

    btw, i always carry quarters around. if i get a coffee and i have to tip the waiter, i keep the quarters, give away something else… they are meant for laundry, even if sometimes i could do 10 loads of laundry with the amount of quarters I carry around…

  9. Trissa said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    The bus drivers used to love the spare change… until they stopped taking cash! I’ve never tried flapjacks before – my tastebuds are very intrigued!

  10. Caitlin said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

    Ah, the non-American version of flapjacks – yep, my first reaction is that they’d be pancakes, but these look wonderful as well. As for the change thing, the fiance makes fun of me because my wallet is incredibly heavy due to all the change in it. But you’re right – what’s the fun in just taking it to the bank? Especially when 4 quarters buys me a cookie?

  11. Phuoc'n Delicious said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    I remember in Netherlands we had to buy 2 tickets to Amsterdam, each ticket was about 18EURO. The machine we were buying it from accepted coins or cards. Our cards didn’t work so we had to pay with coins. Who would carry 18EUROS in coins? ARGH!

    Btw, these flapjacks look great. I’m so making some soon, they’ll be great for snacking on. Were these soft or crunch?

  12. Nat Kringoudis said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

    I love jupiter bars! I love small change… its especially good for those days when you haven’t any money on you but desperately need milk!
    And Im going to make these flapjacks – they look awesome!

  13. penny aka jeroxie said,

    August 3, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

    Not made flapkacks before. And Love the story. When I was at uni, to save up to get a ticket home, I will save gold coins in a bottle.

  14. Laura said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:31 am

    I wish I would get into a decluttering mode when I am stressed, my house would be completely organized.

    I loved the story of the charity lady, money is money, right?

    I have meant to try these delights for a while, now I have a recipe thanks to you. Have a great day!

  15. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:36 am

    Hehe I get like that too. My wallet cannot fit in much change and I’m forever trying to refuse change from shops. I think that’s why I pay for everything I can with credit card!

  16. Asha@FSK said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:48 am

    Y, this is an awesome post.. I am laughing so much!! I guess I am boring.. I HATE carrying change and embarrassed enough to use it that I just go to the bank when have a sizeable amount :))

  17. Claire said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:17 am

    When I was seven, I walked into a store and bought a $7 toy with pennies. ALL PENNIES! I literally stood there for ten minutes at the cash register, counting my pennies, while the people in line behind me gnashed their teeth. I was a cute kid though, so I guess that’s why no one bit my head off. πŸ™‚

  18. Helene said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:21 am

    This is a great post. I do find change all over the house all the time. I’ve never had flapjacks before. This looks like a great treat.

  19. Maki said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 2:29 am

    I MUST make these. I too got confused by the term “flapjacks” since we use it for pancakes here.

    I apologize when using coins but only because it takes me forever to count it out. I often feel the customer’s eyes behind me, giving me the death glare, to hurry the damn up! We’ll be social lepers together.

  20. cakebrain said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    I use my spare change for parking meters now. That, and I give my 7 year old’s allowance in spare change. yeah, I always thought flapjacks were a type of pancake too! live and learn! looks yum!

  21. Anh said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Such a cute story, Y. I always try to use up my coins, so no prob here. The problem is in my messy home! Want to declutter some days, soon…

  22. faithy said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

    LOL! Ok..i shop whether i’m not stressed and i shop when i’m stressed too..

    You’ll like to hear that i’m the recipient of spare change from my boss..he “throws” all his spare change to me whether i like it or! i guess a bit better than Daniel in Ugly Betty where in that show, the throws away his spare change into the bin!

  23. grace said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    hey, money is money! i once knew a person who threw away pennies. yes, i occasionally rummaged through her trash can and collected them. πŸ™‚
    lovely flapjacks–money well-spent!

  24. Amanda said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    oh dear, I didn’t realise that familiarity with jupiter bars could indicate your age…Lucky they were tasty!

  25. Shaheen said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

    Couldn’t stop giggling! You are so funny. I share the stress-buster of cleaning up the house. My mom’s one happy lady.

  26. shaz said,

    August 4, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

    Ah, I too though flapjacks were pancakes (too much American TV growing up). These ones look really healthy.

    Awesome you actually got to use your 5cent pieces, even vending machines and parking meters won’t take them. Um, next time you’re feeling a bit stressed, want to swing by my place? ;P

  27. Mary said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 11:58 am

    Number 4 made me laugh a lot. Everyone hates five cent pieces.

    I also say ‘sorry’ when I give the cashier/checkout person lots of coins too. I don’t know why. Turns out that they are usually more than happy to take the coins.

  28. cakelaw said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    These look great! I love Dan Lepard’s recipes – I have so many of them bookmarked that it’s not funny anymore.

  29. Anita said,

    August 5, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the laugh Y πŸ™‚
    I needed that, light sense of humour – to try and clear my head before bed.
    I also need to get rid of my partners jar of coins – but I think I’ll make him carry it to the bank πŸ™‚ hahaha (it’s too heavy for me)

  30. Honey @ honeyandsoy said,

    August 7, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    Spare change actually has its uses when you least expect it. Soy and I recently turned up at the markets with… no money… smart huh? And so, lazy to drive out to an ATM, we scrounged around our change compartment in the car and came up with $50! All the week’s shopping done, and then some! Luckily, no one seemed to mind the change, though I was also apologising for it…

  31. Big Boys Oven said,

    August 9, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

    It’s coffee break can I have some of your flapjacks!

  32. Su-yin said,

    August 14, 2010 @ 7:09 am

    Ahhh I have several tubs of 2p, 5p and 10p coins… I tend to use them when I’m buying something that costs less than Β£1. But of course this has to be pre-planned, which is why those tubs are still full.

    On another note, these flapjacks look amazing. Tahini and cashews? Definitely gonna make this.

  33. K said,

    August 16, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

    “Whole dried bananas”? I’m guessing these are different to dry banana chips… where do you buy the whole ones from? Can’t wait to try your version, it looks delicious!

  34. Y said,

    August 17, 2010 @ 6:52 am

    Hi K! I got them from a health food store – prefer them to the chips because the whole dried ones are nice and chewy.

  35. K said,

    August 18, 2010 @ 9:02 pm

    AH! Will definitely go scouting for them soon. Thanks!

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