Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars

I was having a clean-out-the-pantry moment a few weeks ago. We have a glorified closet that I like to call our pantry. It’s quite deep, and sometimes things get lost back there, not often, but it happens. In this purging moment, I found some brown rice crisp cereal, a bag of unopened flax seeds, and a jar of peanut butter. How the peanut butter escaped us, is beyond me! But out of these few ingredients, came these protein bars. Jonty and I have coined them as Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up bars. And they are true to their name! | Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars

Truth be told, the real reason I was “cleaning” was because I wanted to make some post-climbing and mid-training snacks, and I really didn’t want to have to leave the house for ingredients. Thank goodness for long-lost jars of nut-butter! We’ve been entering local bouldering competitions over the last few weeks and it’s great to have bite-sized snacks to munch on when we feel the need for a little boost of energy. I don’t like buying protein bars because (1) they’re often super expensive, and (2) I can usually make something equally tasty!

These bars are perfect for our needs. They don’t require baking (just a stove-top, for bringing a few ingredients to the boil) and they keep really well in the freezer. We absolutely love the flavour of them, and they pack a great energy-boosting punch! | Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars

The perks of these Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up bars:

  • Boost of energy: Oats make up the bulk of these bars, providing lots of fibre and slow-burning carbs for when your energy is running low.
  • Lots of seeds: Chia, pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds pack in a great boost of protein, fibre and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
  • No refined sugar: Only pure maple syrup and dried cranberries in these bad boys.
  • No baking required: Total bonus, when the oven is being used for other important things.
  • Easy, portable snacks: Cut them into bars or roll them into balls. | Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars

I’ve made these several times this season, and they don’t disappoint! They’re great to keep in the freezer, for those times when you need a quick afternoon snack, or fuel for a great climbing session.

Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars
Recipe type: Snacks
These bars are based on the general protein bar format from the Power Hungry cookbook.,
  • 180 g (1½ cups) large-flake oats
  • 40 g (1 cup) crispy brown rice cereal (likethis)
  • 55 g (2/3 cup, lightly packed) unflavoured protein powder
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) chia seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) flax seeds
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) dried, unsweetened cranberries
  • 155 g (1/2 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) smooth, unsalted, natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cereal, protein powder, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and dried cranberries.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the maple syrup, peanut butter and milk. Whisk occasionally until the mixture just starts to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the peanut mixture over the oats mixture and mix very well until everything is completely combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a parchment-lined 9x9-inch square pan and use the back of a spatula to spread out the mixture and flatten until it is smooth on top.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until firm and set. Cut into squares.
These bars freeze very well and do not require any thawing before eating.

The bars are quite sticky at room temperature, so it is best to keep them in the fridge or freezer. If they will be at room temperature for a long period of time, individually wrap them in parchment or waxed paper.

Enjoy the Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars! | Chewy Peanut Protein Pick-Me-Up Bars


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Saturday Snippets: 03.December.2016

Happy birthday to our favourite middle-M nephew today! We can’t believe you’re 3 years old already!

Has winter officially hit any of you yet? The temperatures are dropping in Vancouver this week, but we still have rain (so much rain!), which means all the local ski hills are happy! The local climbing crags, not so much 🙂

Here’s what caught our eye in the online world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 03.December.2016.

On Climbing:

  • We’ve entered in another bouldering competition this weekend. Actually, by the time this is posted, our session will be over! The last one went better than expected, and the prize was generous enough to cover our registration fees for at least the next two comps. So, we’ve got no pressure 😉

On Eating:

On Cycling:

  • What do you think of this commuter bike? I find it amusing that they’ve taken their design inspiration from the Lamborghini, which is really the ultimate commuter vehicle 😉
  • Vancouver officially launched their bike-share program a few months ago. The question is: Do they actually work, to get more people cycling? The short answer – yes, maybe.

On Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • We had a dry enough day early in the week, and were able to hoist the mega-heavy battery box into the van. Jonty CNC’d some little mounts to attach the battery box to the L-track, and that sucker’s not going anywhere! | Sprinter van conversion update - mounting the battery box to L-Track | Sprinter van conversion update - mounting the battery box to L-Track

  • He also figured out a good way to mount the electrical board to the wheel well box, and we’re pretty happy with how it turned out! | Sprinter van conversion update - mounting the battery box to L-Track

  • I started making a few simple privacy curtains to hang up in the van, until we get some of the expensive electrical parts hooked up and covered. | Sprinter van conversion update - sewing privacy curtains

  • Next up, is getting more of the electrical work done – mounting the inverter, breaker boxes, etc. We’d like to start getting more of the insulation done, but the weather has been so cold and wet here, that it’s been proving a bit difficult! We will do as much as the weather allows. If anyone has a big, tall, empty garage, let us know! We can pay you in homemade bread and cinnamon bus 😉

Happy Weekend!

Monthly Word: December 2016

Woah, we’ve officially entered the last month of 2016. Time, you are a quick one!

My month of GEOMETRY has come to and end, and we’re onto something new. The other day, I was thinking about my monthly word series, and how it always takes me a week or so to get into the groove of a new month. For the first few days, my eyes are still looking for the previous month’s prompt, and it’s not until the third week I feel like I’m finding my groove. A friend of ours told me she was loving my Geometry pictures – I have to agree, I’ve loved that prompt, too! I’ll share the full November photo round-up in a few days time.

December Month of MERRY

It’s December, and for many of us, that means a month of parties and celebrations and lights and food and family. What better way to celebrate, than to capture all things MERRY!

Our calendar is filling up already. We’ll be hunting for the best Christmas lights in the city, and enjoying gatherings with friends and family. We’ve got trips planned out of the city and out of the province. We’ve got our eye on good food and drink, and we’re looking forward to it all!

Thus, I’m dedicating December to my month of MERRY, and I would love to see how you’ll be enjoying the season, as well. If you’d like to join in, please do – the more the merrier! (see what I did there?)! I’ll post my findings on various social media places – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter,  tagging #MyMonthOfMerry and #MyMonthOfDecember | December 2016 Photo Challenge - Merry

Here’s to a month of MERRY!

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread

Over the last few months, Monday’s have become my bread-baking day. They have also become our mid-morning walk day, enjoying the parks and beaches of Vancouver for a few hours when most of the world is at work. It’s a good way to start the week!

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I do love baking, and I think that baking bread (and working with yeasted dough in general) is probably one of my favourite ways to spend time in the kitchen. I love the way the dough smells and, to me, there’s always something magical about pulling that golden-crusted loaf of bread out of the oven. Seriously, I smile every time!

I first started making this version of a marbled rye sandwich bread a few weeks ago. I was looking through one of my go-to bread books and Jonty spied a picture of a marbled, swirly loaf, and asked if I could give that one a try. At first glance, I thought it might take a lot longer to make, as it called for making two batches of dough, one for the light rye and one for the dark. I couldn’t be bothered with that, so, in true Moira fashion, I’ve made a few modifications to the original recipe.

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My version is actually fairly easy to do. I’ve used my cheaters method again of adding yogurt to the rye dough, as a substitute for making a sourdough mother starter, which means you don’t have to start a bread recipe more than a week in advance. And once the dough is kneaded for a few minutes into a shaggy ball, I simply split it in half and knead cocoa powder into one ball (for the dark rye), and leave the other as it is.

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After the two balls of dough have risen, they’re split equally again, so there are two balls of each colour. Pat each of them into a rectangular shape, stack them on top of each other, then roll the entire stack into a log-shape, pinching the seams together. The log hangs around in a loaf pan until the dough just starts to dome over the edge of the pan. In a nice warm house, that will probably happen in about half an hour. Easy peasy 🙂

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Like all bread, you really need to let it cool completely before slicing into it. With the wonderful aroma of this freshly baked bread, wafting through the apartment, the wait can be hard; this is usually when we leave the apartment and enjoy a walk around town.

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By the time we get back the bread has cooled enough to slice, and the apartment smells fantastic.

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Oh man, those swirls get me every time! Jonty thinks this is one of the best toasting breads I’ve made: the bread is nice and soft, yet the crumb is dense enough that it doesn’t fall apart if you like to slice your bread fairly thin, like we do. As usual, we slice up the entire loaf and pop it in the freezer, so we can take out a slice or two whenever needed.

Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the rye sandwich bread recipe from Artisan Bread Everyday
For the starter:
For the dough:
  • 190 g warm water
  • 15 g molasses
  • 30 g vegetable oil
  • 1⅛ tsp instant yeast
  • 340 g unbleached bread flour (we prefer Anita's Organic Mill)
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the rye flour, yogurt and water. It will be very thick and resemble modeling clay. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, molasses, vegetable oil and instant yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, to allow the yeast to bloom.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour and salt. Drop the rye starter, by the spoonful, into the bowl and add the yeast mixture.
  4. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on low until the dough just starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn the mixer off and let the dough stand for 5 minutes, to fully hydrate.
  5. After this wait time, continue to knead the dough with a dough hook until the it starts to look like a smooth ball. The dough will be quite sticky. Using wet hands, remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into equal halves (use a scale, for precise measurements). Place one half of the dough back into the stand mixer bowl, along with 2 tbsp of cocoa powder, and knead on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the dark rye ball into a clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  6. Return the light rye dough ball back into the stand-mixer bowl and knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is very smooth and only slightly tacky. Place the light rye ball into a second clean, lightly greased bowl and place in a warm area to rise.
  7. Once the dough has doubled in size (this may take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how warm your kitchen is), split each ball of dough in half, so you have 2 light rye balls and 2 dark rye balls. Flatten each into a rectangular shape, about 8 x 5 inches. Layer the dough in alternating colours and press each down quite firmly onto the previous layer, to avoid big air bubbles forming during the rise. Tightly roll the dough into a log shape and place, seam side down, into a parchment-lined loaf pan for a second rise.
  8. About 15 minutes before the bread is ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. When done, the loaf should be a golden brown on top and should sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom. Let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
This bread freezes very well. Simply slice the bread up completely before placing into a freezer-proof ziplock bag.

Enjoy the Marbled Rye Sandwich Bread!

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Saturday Snippets: 26.November.2016

As we get towards the end of the year, I feel like every week just passes by even quicker than the last! This week was filled with travel and training and Christmas events (if you live in Vancouver, and have a chance to see this play – definitely go – we thoroughly enjoyed it).

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 26.November.2016.

On Climbing:

On Eating:

On Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • It’s still electrical news on the Sprinter front. Is anyone getting bored yet? Jonty has finished getting the batteries into the box and securing all sides with some foam. It’s solid!

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  • He also spent some time back at MakerLabs this week, starting to get many of the electrical components organized and secured onto a board. The plan is to have the battery box sitting on the floor, between the rear wheel wells. These components, along with the inverter, will be secured between the battery box and the wheel well.

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  • The next step is getting this into the van and securing it into place! A minor lower-back tweak for Jonty at the gym yesterday has delayed this process (we need to be in tip-top shape to move that beast of a battery box!), so here’s hoping the tweak is short-lived.

Happy Weekend!