Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars

In these last few weeks, we have been treated to some gloriously warm weather. We’ve been able to get out climbing every few days and enjoy warm bike rides in the sun – it’s been fantastic! With these days filled with activities, it’s always nice to keep some extra snacks in the freezer for when we know we’ll be doing a lot. Enter our latest granola bar rendition – Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars. This tasty, portable snack has kept us fueled through our first few climbing days of the season.

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These cranberry chia endurance bars have a few great attributes:

  • No refined sugar: These bars use a combination of super sweet Medjool dates as the sticky base, along with dried fruit (cranberries, in this case) and coconut for added sweetness.
  • Good carbs and protein: Rolled oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre, as are the chia seeds. Both help to ensure your energy levels stay high throughout the day.
  • Anti-cramping secret: Coconut water!! We love this stuff. It’s a great source natural of potassium and electrolytes, and we’ve found it helps us avoid leg cramps after a big day of exercise.

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So here’s the deal with these bars:

You start off by soaking some Medjool dates in the coconut water until they’re really soft (maybe 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how soft your dates are to start). Then you give them a good whiz in the blender or food processor until you end up with a sticky date paste.

Throw in the chia seeds and let that mixture gel while you’re prepping the rest of the mixture.

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For the main granola bar ingredients:

Grab some oats (large flake or quick cook), seeds (I used pumpkin) and nuts (I used walnuts and cashews). These get toasted over a medium heat until they start to get nice and fragrant.

Then, into a bowl they go, along with some dried fruit (cranberries and coconut are always a good pair) and the chia-date puree.

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I’ll say a few things about these bars. If you’re looking for a crunchy, stick-together granola bar, this is not the bar for you. Even after baking, these cranberry chia endurance bars are still fairly soft and, depending on your ingredients, have a tendency to crumble. This is not a deal-breaker in my book, however. We pack these into a small tub and nibble away at them throughout the day.

If you want a nice neat bar, just make sure to chop up your nuts and seeds so they are fairly small in size. This will definitely help make the bars stick together.

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Hopefully you’ll enjoy these bars as much as we do! They also make a great pseudo granola – just crumble them over your favourite yogurt for a little breakfast treat.

Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the Power Hungry cookbook.
Ingredients
  • 125 g (3/4 cup, about 8 large) soft pitted medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • ⅔ cup coconut water
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 165 g (1½ cups) rolled oats
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds
  • 45 g (1/2 cup) walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) cashews, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 30 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened flaked coconut
Instructions
To make the chia-date puree:
  1. Place the chopped pitted dates and coconut water into a high-speed blender and allow them to soak and soften for at least 15 minutes. After this time, puree the mixture until smooth.
  2. Add the chia seeds and vanilla extract and pulse briefly to combine.
  3. Let this mixture set for 10 minutes, to gel.
To make the endurance bars:
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the coconut oil until melted. Add the oats, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cashews and stir to combine. Toast the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant. Add the cinnamon and salt and stir briefly.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oat mixture, cranberries, flaked coconut and chia-date puree. Stir to thoroughly combine.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 9 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  4. Spoon the oat mixture into the prepared pan and press it down firmly to flatten. You may want to use a wet spatula to firmly press the granola mixture down.
  5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the mixture looks dry and lightly browned.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely, in the pan.
  7. Once completely cold, remove the bars from the pan using the edge of the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into the size of your liking.
Notes
For bars that stick together very well, make sure to chop all your nuts and seeds into small pieces.
These bars freeze very well. Cut them into bars, wrap well with parchment paper and store them in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag.

Enjoy these Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars!

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Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats

I know I’m late to this party, but until a month ago, I had never tried overnight oats. Oh, I heard people raving about them – how quick they are to prep the night before, how easy it is to switch up the flavours. But I was firmly planted in my green-smoothie-breakfast. That was, until the motor died on our Blendtec, and we were without its pulverizing force while waiting for a replacement to come in the mail. FYI, when this company says it offers an unlimited 7-year warranty, they really mean it!

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I need something in my tummy in the mornings, and we had a bag of Rogers Steel-cut Porridge Oats in our pantry that have been staring me down for quite some time. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and try this overnight-oat thing – and you know what? I’m officially on board!

This recipe is nourishing, full of fibre, and loaded with heart-healthy and antioxidant-promoting ingredients. It’s really a powerhouse of a breakfast and can easily be modified, depending on what’s in your cupboards. I’ve been eating this often during the week and it totally hits the spot. It should go without saying, but if you’re gluten-free, make sure you choose a certified gluten-free oat blend. If you’re vegan, use a non-dairy milk. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit 🙂

In case you haven’t heard me lamenting over the very wet, very grey autumn we’ve had on the west coast, I’ll say it again: this autumn feels gloomier than most. It’s a good thing that one day of blue sky (which we had the on Monday this week), can generally elevate my spirit for a few days 🙂

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Another way I get through these dreary months is by filling our fridge with tonnes of citrus fruit. How can a person feel glum, after biting into a ripe orange, or tasting the juicy crunch of a little pomegranate aril! I think that’s why this version of Pomegranate and Coconut overnight oats is hitting the spot for me at the moment. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts, for a bit of extra crunch, too. And, with a good cup of coffee, it’s perfect.

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So if your breakfast is needing a change-up, or you’ve never tried this type of oatmeal before, give this Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats recipe a try. Hopefully it boosts your morning, like it does mine 🙂

Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
No cooking required, and five minutes of preparation the night before, will make sure you have a very tasty and filling breakfast in the morning.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup large-flake oats (I used the Roger's Steel Cut Oat Porridge blend)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces, broken up into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Instructions
  1. In a 250 mL glass mason jar (with a lid), combine the oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, pomegranate arils, large-flake coconut and walnuts (if using). Put the lid on, and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of milk of your choice, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Stir the contents to combine completely.
  3. Place the lid onto the jar and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. In the morning, enjoy cold or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is enough for 1 person. Modify the quantities to feed more hungry tummies.
If you like your oatmeal dense, use 1 to 2 tbsp less milk., If you like your oats with a lot of extra liquid, either add more the night before, or top with additional milk when serving.

Enjoy!

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Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake

I know the words Healthy and Cake are often mutually exclusive. But in this case, I’m going out on a limb and stating, for the record, that I think this Carrot-Cranberry snacking cake is a wonderfully healthy cake. We’re not vegan or vegetarian (although this cake falls into both categories), and we don’t completely shun the sweet treats (although we’re pretty good at limiting those to the weekends). However, every now and then, it’s nice to bake something that we can nibble on during the week that is healthy yet feels like a treat.

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This cake has no refined sugar and relies mainly on the natural sweetness of the fruits and vegetables you put into it. I made this a few weeks ago, sliced it up, and tucked it away in the freezer to nibble on when cravings strike. It’s lasted beautifully and, dare I say, the flavour even improved as it sat!

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With every bite, I’m sure I sound like a broken record, repeatedly telling Jonty that I still can’t believe there is nothing “unhealthy” in this cake! I first saw this in the My New Roots cookbook. If you don’t have it, I would urge you to give it a browse. There are so many great recipes in there, all plant-based, but easy to modify if you want to include other meat additions.

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In the cookbook, this was intended as a loaf. Aside from turning it into a snacking-cake recipe, I also decreased the amount of maple syrup and added toasted coconut. Both were well-received 🙂

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We love a nice tart treat, thus this snacking cake was an instant hit: the balance of the sweet and tart being just right, when you think the fresh cranberries are going to be too sour, you get a hit of sweetness from the roasted carrot and maple syrup. Being chock-full of vitamins A and C and numerous health-promoting antioxidants, doesn’t hurt, either!

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I tell you, this is most definitely something you can eat for breakfast and not feel guilty about! Let us know how it turns out for you 🙂

Carrot-Cranberry Snacking Cake
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Based on the Carrot-Cranberry Loaf from My New Roots
Ingredients
  • 14 g (1 tbsp) chia seeds
  • 80 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 55 g (1/4 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 120 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 180 g (1½ cups) sprouted spelt flour
  • 50 g (1/2 cups) large-flake oats
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground, dried ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 140 g (1½ cups, or 2 medium) grated carrots
  • 80 g (3/4 cup) fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)
  • 15 g (1/4 cup) large flake coconut, toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 360 F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and milk and leave to sit for 15 minutes or so, until the mixtures starts to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking powder and sea salt). Add in the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Pour in the chia seed and milk mixture and whisk to combine.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Add in the fresh cranberries and toasted coconut flakes and mix.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared 8 x 8 inch pan.
  7. Bake at 360 F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle, comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the par 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
I baked this cake at 360 F, because our oven runs cool. If you bake at 350 F, you might have to increase the bake time slightly.

This cake freezes extremely well. Allow to cool completely, then cut into slices, wrap well and store in the freezer in a sealed ziplock bag.

Enjoy!

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Beet Green Smoothie with Mint and Chia Seeds

We eat a lot of beets around here, quite often on the form of this tasty dip. We eat them raw or roasted, quite often in salads, but I have never thought to have them in a smoothie before… until now!

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A few months ago, I saw a recipe for a Beet smoothie in a Bon Appetit magazine edition, and it was this gorgeous deep-purple colour. That version does not include any greens, but mine sure does 🙂

The smoothie is packed full of the good stuff – beets and a banana give it a touch of sweetness, kale for the greens, mint and a healthy squeeze of lime juice to give it a nice kick.

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With the addition of greens, I wasn’t sure if the smoothie was going to keep its vibrant colour, but it definitely did! It’s amazing how much one very small beet will turn everything a deep purple hue 🙂 And the taste was quite refreshing – it will not have the sweetness of an all-fruit smoothie, so I would suggest adding a small amount of maple syrup until you’re happy.

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Aside from having this vibrant colour, this green smoothie boasts a great list of health benefits.

Big Beet Benefits:

  • High in nitrates, which help increase the blood supply to hard-working muscles, especially during those long, strenuous workouts (hello, climbing!)
  • Great for lowering blood pressure
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • High in anti-oxidents, vitamins and minerals (hello, iron, calcium, vitamins A and C!)

So whether you’re drawn to the colour, or drawn to the health benefits, both roads lead you to the same answer – you should make this smoothie! 🙂

Beet Mint and Lime Green Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 large smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 225
  • Fat: 4.1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47. g
  • Sugar: 20.4 g
  • Sodium: 86.2 mg
  • Fiber: 11.9 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 55 g (1 small) red beet, chopped
  • 75 g kale
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
Instructions
  1. In a high-speed blender, blend together the beet, kale, mint, chia seeds and water.
  2. Add the frozen banana and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  3. Add maple syrup, if desired, and blend again.
Notes
For a cold, thick smoothie, make sure the banana is frozen.
Depending on how sweet your beets and banana are, you may need to add a bit of maple syrup, to taste.

Enjoy!

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Sunday Smoothie: Week 5

Well, we’re officially at the end of January and, holy moly, the month seems to have gone by in a blink of the eye.

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I’ve loved doing the Green Smoothie Challenge for January but, if I’m honest, it really wasn’t much of a challenge! Once I got into the hang of preparing everything the night before (or freezing multiple days worth of fruit at the beginning of the week), I found it wasn’t time consuming or difficult. Also, all the smoothies tasted good and kept me full until lunch-time, so a win all around 🙂

These last two smoothies I’m going to share with you, hit the taste-bud mark for me.

The Green Nutter Smoothie

You can’t go a full month of smoothie drinking without adding a nut-butter to at least one smoothie! I added peanut butter to this one, because that’s what we had in the house, but almond butter would be great, too. There’s something very satisfying (and somehow decadent) about tasting the peanut butter. When Jonty was mixing one of them up for me in the morning, he said “Ohhhh, peanut butter!”, and I’m pretty sure he was slightly jealous he wasn’t drinking one, too 🙂

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The Crazy Carrot Smoothie

This was the only smoothie I made during the entire month that added veggies (other than the greens) to the mix.

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I wasn’t sure how it would taste but, as I’m learning, when you have sweet fruit in a smoothie (like pineapple and oranges), you can add almost any type of veggie you like and you will most-likely just taste the sweetness from the fruit. In the future, I would definitely be inclined to add more veggies to my daily smoothie!

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Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my Sunday Smoothie session in January, and perhaps been inspired to try incorporating some into your weekly routine!

Some of the benefits:

  • It’s an easy way to increase the amount of fruits and veggies in your diet.
  • One smoothie can keep you remarkably full for a few hours (I drink half a smoothie around 7:30 am, and finish the other half around 10:00 am). It’s always something I look forward to having.
  • Adding a spoonful of chia seeds or flax seeds can give your diet a boost of protein, fibre and good omega-3’s without much effort.
  • They just taste good 🙂

The Green Nutter Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 260
  • Fat: 11.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36.9 g
  • Sugar: 16.4 g
  • Sodium: 70 mg
  • Fiber: 8.5 g
  • Protein: 8.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 70 g spinach
  • 1 medium banana, frozen
  • 1 tbsp nut butter (I used peanut butter here)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Blend together the spinach, chia seeds and coconut water, until smooth.
  2. Add the frozen pineapple and the nut butter, and blend until completely smooth.
Notes
For a cold smoothie, ensure at least one fruit added is frozen.

Crazy Carrot Green Smoothie
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1 smoothie
  • Serving size: 1 smoothie
  • Calories: 198
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.5 g
  • Sugar: 27.1 g
  • Sodium: 112.1 mg
  • Fiber: 8.8 g
  • Protein: 5.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 70 g spinach
  • 160 g pineapple, frozen
  • 1 small mandarin orange
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Blend together the spinach, flax seeds and water until smooth.
  2. Add in the orange, carrot and pineapple, and blend until smooth.
Notes
For a cold smoothie, ensure at least one piece of fruit is frozen.

Enjoy!

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