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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Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars

When I have a bit of down time in the evenings or on the weekend, I like to make batches of snacks that we can keep in the freezer for hunger-emergencies. These Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars are one of our current favourites.

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We’ve started our climbing strength-training phase again recently. This means a lot of finger-strength training on the hangboard as well as lots of general strength training at the fitness gym (core, pull-ups, squats, plyometric stuff) and general strength training in the van (lifting ceiling panels, hanging cabinets ;)).

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On the days that we hangboard train, we start at the climbing gym to warm up the fingers with 20 to 30 minutes of continuous climbing. We warm up each finger position we will be training afterwards (4-finger half-crimps down to 1-finger hangs) and use this time to work on our movement and general technique. Then, it’s a 25 minute trundle back home to finish up using our hangboard.

During our drive home, it’s often nice to have a little nibble of something to tie us over until all the training is done and we can sit down for dinner. Portable snacks like these cherry chocolate protein bars are often just what we’re looking for. They’re really tasty and give us a great boost of energy.

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There are a few great things about these cherry chocolate protein bars:

  • There is no need for an oven – just an hour or so in the fridge, to firm up.
  • They handle substitutions easily – add your favourite combination of nuts / seeds / dried fruit.
  • They freeze really well – making them a great snack to last you a few weeks.
  • There’s no added sugar, just the sweetness from the maple syrup and dates.
  • They just taste good!!

If you’re in the market for a great snack, give these bars a try. They’re vegan (if you swing that way), gluten-free (make sure to use gluten-free oats), kid-friendly (swap in almond butter, if you’re peanut-sensitive) and fitness friendly (a great source of good carbs and protein). There’s also no added sugar – just the natural sweetness from the dates and maple syrup.

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Hopefully you’ll find these bars as useful to have around the house as we do!

Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the Power Hungry cookbook.
Ingredients
  • 150 g (1 cup) pitted Medjool dates (about 10 big dates)
  • 1 cup of warm water, to soak the dates
  • 115 g (1 cup) large-flake oats
  • 60 g (1½ cup) crispy brown rice cereal
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) dried unsweetened cherries
  • 15 g (2 tbsp) ground flax seeds
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) natural peanut butter
  • 105 g (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Soak the pitted Medjool dates in 1 cup of warm water, until they have softened. This could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how soft your dates are to start.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown rice cereal, walnuts, dried cherries and flax seeds.
  3. Drain the Medjool dates and use a food processor or high-speed blender to process until they are finely chopped. Add them to the oat mixture.
  4. In a small sauce pan, combine the peanut butter and maple syrup and bring to a soft boil over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mix and stir until all ingredients are completely combined. This may take quite a few stirs. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until they are incorporated.
  6. Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper and spoon the mixture into the pan. Press the oat mixture firmly into the pan and smooth the top with the back of a spatula.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until the bars have set and are firm to the touch.
  8. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.
Notes
These bars freeze very well. Cut the bars first, then wrap in saran wrap before placing them into a freezer bag.

Enjoy these Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
These bars are based on the general protein bar format from the Power Hungry cookbook.,
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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!

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Roasted Cauliflower-Chickpea Salad with Tahini Farro

Yes, this title is a mouthful, but this salad is a mouthful – and a tasty one, at that!

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We made this salad the other week, when the weather was fickle – rapidly changing between rainy and sunny, warm and cool. It tasted great as a warm salad, with the roasted chickpeas and cauliflower, and equally grand the next day, straight from the fridge.

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad with tahini farro

Now I know most people don’t need another salad recipe, but we eat salads a lot in the warmer months and all too often, we get into a bit of a salad rut, eating variations of the same one all the time. Browsing through magazines or cookbooks or other online blogs helps alleviate the same-old feelings, and they provide a lot of inspiration: maybe I’ll find a different dressing to make the salad special, or an unusual pairing of flavours we wouldn’t have thought to try.

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The inspiration for this salad came from a Green Kitchen Stories recipe a few weeks ago. They made a beautiful salad, filled with roasted cauliflower and za’tar-spiced chickpeas, but it was the tahini-spiked yogurt that caught my attention.

Our version of the salad is quite easy to make, as most salads are. While the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasting in the oven, the farro can be cooked on the stove, veggies can be chopped, and the yogurt-dressing can be made. With both of us tinkering away in the kitchen, it took 30 minutes to put together, and that included a bit of cooling time (and me taking pictures 🙂 ).

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It’s a salad that tastes really good warm, and equally tasty after it’s had a chance to sit in the fridge, allowing the flavours to mingle. Really, it’s the ideal spring-shoulder-season salad! Also, the combination of chickpeas, farro and avocado give this salad a hefty dose of fibre-rich carbs, tonnes of protein and healthy fats. This salad will definitely keep your body fueled for whatever activities you decide to do this weekend.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Farro
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 - 6 servings
  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 320
  • Fat: 9.8 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 50.8 g
  • Sugar: 9.4 g
  • Sodium: 408 mg
  • Fiber: 13.6 g
  • Protein: 15 g
  • Cholesterol: 1.6 g
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup dried farro, rinsed
  • ½ medium cucumber, chopped
  • 15 - 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Handful of fresh spinach
For the yogurt dressing:
  • ¼ cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lemon, juice + zest
  • Sea salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425F. Chop the cauliflower into large florets. Drain and thoroughly rinse a can of chickpeas, and dry slightly with paper towel. Place both the cauliflower and chickpeas onto baking tray, toss with a bit of olive oil, and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cauliflower just starts to darken and the chickpeas have a bite.
  2. At the same time, cook the farro. Place 2 cups of water into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the rinsed farro to the sauce pan, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the farro is tender, with a slight bite, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the vegetables: cut the cucumber into chunks, the tomatoes into halves, and dice the avocado. Place all into a large bowl along with a good handful of fresh spinach.
  4. To prepare the yogurt dressing, place all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Taste, adding more salt or lemon juice, to your liking.
  5. Toss the yogurt dressing with the warm farro, and add to the vegetable mixture.
  6. Once the cauliflower and chickpeas are roasted, add these to the salad and toss to combine.
  7. To serve, sprinkle with nuts or seeds, if desired.

Enjoy!

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Mint-Chocolate Protein Bars

This past weekend we finished our first full climbing competition, and guess what – we both made the podium! Jonty nabbed first place in Experienced Men, and I came in a close second in Experienced Women 🙂 It was a great day and it pushed me way outside of my comfort zone (in a good way!). We’ve signed up for the next competition in a few weeks time already, if for no other reason than to watch and learn from the younger climbers – watching their grit and determination acts as a great source of inspiration!

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The climbing competitions make for very long days, filled with quite a bit of waiting around. You climb two qualifiers in the morning, separated by at least 1 hour. Then, if you make it to the finals, you wait for another 3 hours, for the final routes to be set. Our adrenaline was running on high for much of the day, as we didn’t really know what to expect, and foods that are easy to eat and digest are key for us.

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These Mint-Chocolate Protein Bars came to the rescue. They are a modification from a recipe out of the Power Hungry cookbook I mentioned a few weeks ago. I made these protein bars the other week, storing them in the freezer for occasions just like this. A secret ingredient gives these bars a great boost of protein and healthy fats, but really, it’s the mint-chocolate that brings these bars into the “super yummy” category.

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And their super-secret high-protein ingredient? Black beans! To be honest, I’ve always been intrigued with the whole “black bean in a baked good” concept. This cookbook called them a Brownie.

Do they actually taste like brownies? Well, you definitely can’t taste the beans, and they have a great chocolate-mint flavour, but I would probably plant these firmly in the bar / cake camp. This is only because I like my brownies fudgy and gooey, and these are slightly more firm.

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We keep them in the freezer and bring them to the climbing gym for after a training session, or in between competition qualifiers. They are nice and portable and, at 10 g of protein in a single bar, are a good way to get a tasty source of protein, without resorting to a store product with an ingredient list full of mumbo-jumbo!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Mint-chocolate protein bars

Whether you’re doing a lot of sport, or just want a healthier chocolate treat to get you through the afternoon, definitely give these Mint-Chocolate Protein Bars a try.

Mint-Chocolate Protein Brownies
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16 bars
  • Serving size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 3.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Sodium: 52.4 mg
  • Fiber: 5.1 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 34.5 mg
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from the cookbook Power Hungry
Ingredients
  • 275 g (1 540 mL can) black beans, drained and rinsed very well
  • 100 g (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 85 g (1/3 cup) skim milk
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) melted virgin coconut oil
  • 5 g (2 tsp) instant espresso powder, optional
  • 1½ tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 60 g (3/4 cup, loosely packed) all-natural unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, fitted with an s-blade, pulse together the black beans, maple syrup, eggs, milk, coconut oil, espresso powder and peppermint extract. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Add the protein powder, cocoa powder, baking powder and sea salt. Pulse until smooth and completely combined. Scrape down the sides, if necessary.
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined baking pan and sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 25 - 28 minutes, until the top is slightly firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool before slicing into squares.
Notes
These brownies freeze well.

Enjoy!

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