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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Multi-Seeded Bread

I try to bake bread once a week, often on a Monday when I’m not in the office. There’s something really great about easing into the start of the week with a home smelling of freshly baked bread, I urge you to try it sometime, perhaps as a New Years goal? It doesn’t even have to be on a Monday! 🙂

I was all ready to go with the bread baking last week: the mixer was out, the oven was pre-heating and I started to weigh out the ingredients for my go-to marbled rye bread, when alas, I realized we didn’t have anymore yogurt!

We needed bread, and I didn’t want to run down to the store for more yoghurt. So I begrudgingly picked up my bread book, in a pouty attempt to find another loaf inspiration (yes, a somewhat first-world problem I admit).

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The bread gods must have sensed my pain, though, because the book magically opened to a recipe for a multi-seeded bread. And, aside from a few seed swaps, I had everything I needed! Phew!

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but all of the breads I make can either be made in one sitting, or can be split over a few days. While I often choose to make a loaf in the morning, you can easily mix up the dough the night before and leave it in the fridge (up to 4 days) until you’re ready to bake. It’s a great way to make bread, if you’ve got commitment issues 😉

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This particular loaf has all the health benefits of whole-grain rye flour, as well as enough seeds to make it taste interesting. I used a combination of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and poppy seeds. I think next time I make this I’ll try adding a few walnuts into the mix too.

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And then as soon as the multi-seed bread was cool enough to slice, I slathered it with homemade peanut butter and raspberry jam, and all was right in my world again!

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Multi-Seeded Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This gives a nice, soft sandwich loaf. It tastes great toasted or as it is! Recipe adapted slightly from Artisan Breads Everyday.
Ingredients
  • 325 g (~2.5 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 45 g (~1/3 cup) rye flour
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) sunflower seeds
  • 15 g (~1.5 tbsp) flax seeds
  • 15 g (~2 tbsp) poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 7 g (1¾ tsp) instant quick-rise yeast
  • 30 g (1.5 tbsp) pure maple syrup
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) lukewarm water
  • 85 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) lukewarm milk (any kind, or more water)
Instructions
  1. Toast the seeds in a dry skillet or under the broiler, until they become fragrant. About 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients and mix with the dough hook attachment, until just combined (about 2 minutes). Stop mixing and let the dough sit for 5 minutes, to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
  3. On medium-low speed, knead the bread with the dough hook attachment for 3 or 4 minutes, until the dough starts to come together into a smooth ball. Add more flour, 1 tbsp at at time, only if the dough is very sticky. You want the dough to be soft and supple and slightly tacky (so the dough just sticks to your finger when you press into it).
  4. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead by hand for a few minutes. Add flour, only when necessary. You should have a nice soft, smooth ball of dough at the end.
  5. Place the dough in a lightly-greased, clean bowl. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until the ball has doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Prepare a 8x4-inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the bowl and pat it into a rectangle shape. At the short end, tightly roll up the dough into a log shape, pinching the seams together. Gently place the dough, seam-side down, into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Let the dough rise at room temperature, until it just starts to dome over the edge of the pan (about 30 to 45 minutes).
  7. About 15 minutes before you plan on baking the bread, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the bake time. When cooked, the top should be a deep golden brown, and the bottom of the loaf should sound slightly hollow when tapped.
  8. Leave the bread to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
This bread freezes very well. Once it has cooled completely, slice up the entire loaf before placing in a tightly-sealed freezer bag.

Enjoy the Multi-Seeded Bread!

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Climb Eat Cycle Repeat | Seeded Pecan (Raincoast Crisp!) Crackers

Homemade Seeded Pecan Crackers

First question: Have you ever made homemade crackers? I must admit, it does take a bit of work – not hard work, but waiting work, planning work. I must admit also that, as most homemade food goes, they do taste better than store bought, and I think we appreciate them more, knowing the time it takes to make them.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Homemade seeded pecan crackersSecond question: Have you ever had Raincoast Crisp Crackers? They are crunchy, biscotti-like crackers that are quite addictive and quite expensive – $8 for a box… a small box!

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These homemade crackers are basically very similar in style to Raincoast Crisp Crackers. If you google a recipe for these crackers, most websites all seem to point back to this one, and for good reason – this Canadian makes some pretty great, fool-proof food!

You start by making a quick bread in loaf tins. Add whatever goodies you might fancy – nuts, seeds, raisins or dried fruit… anything is fair game! If you have a favourite cracker flavour, now would be the time to recreate it! I went  the Pecan-Raisin route 🙂

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Once the loaves have cooled, slice them up as thin as possible and then bake the slices until crisp. I usually stick the loaves in the fridge or freezer for awhile, which makes it much easier to slice the bread without it crumbling too much.

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Even thought the crackers do crisp up once they have cooled, they should still be fairly firm when taken out of the oven.

They do taste especially good with a glass of nice red wine and an assortment of quality cheeses 🙂

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Happy nibbling!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Homemade seeded pecan crackers

Homemade Raincoast Crisp Crackers
 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: ~8 dozen crackers
  • Serving size: 1 cracker
  • Calories: 29
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.3 g
  • Sugar: 1.7 g
  • Sodium: 41.5 mg
  • Fiber: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.1 mg
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Recipe adapted from Dinner with Julie
Ingredients
Dry ingredients
  • 1½ (180 g) cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (60 g) spelt flour
  • 2 tsp (10 g) baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup (70 g) raisins
  • ½ cup (60 g) chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup (30 g) pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup (30 g) sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup (30 g) sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup (30 g) ground flax seed
  • ¼ cup (45 g) packed brown sugar
Wet ingredients
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup (85 g) pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and spray two 8"x5" loaf pans with oil or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and maple syrup. (If you don't have buttermilk on hand, place 2 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice into the bowl and make up the remaining 2 cups with milk of any kind. Stir and let it sit for ~ 5 minutes before using.)
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Divide the batter equally between the two oiled loaf pans.
  6. Bake for ~35 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown and slightly springy to the touch.
  7. Remove from the pans and let cool completely.
  8. When ready to make the crackers, pre-heat the oven to 325F. Using a serrated knife, slice the loaves as thinly as possibly.
  9. Lay the crackers flat on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for another 15 minutes, until they are firm and crisp.
Notes
If you don't have spelt flour, feel free to use all all-purpose flour.
These loaves freeze very well, so I will often make one loaf into crackers and freeze the other loaf for another time.

Enjoy!