Cashew Caramel Go to Bars

Well, it’s 2018 and it’s time to start back on this bandwagon – the food wagon, that is! Yes, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe, but we’ve been so darned busy with Moby (the van conversion), and winter in Vancouver doesn’t exactly scream “easy, breezy daylight photos”. So let’s kick off the new year with a new food post, shall we? I started making these Cashew Caramel Go–To Bars last fall, and they’re still a hit on the snack front.

If you have a food processor, these bars are really easy to make. They also don’t require the oven – just a bit of fridge time – which can sometimes be a bonus. Actually, the bigger bonus of these guys is that they freeze really well, and they can even be eaten straight from the freezer (sometimes a girl gets hungry, and needs food pronto!).

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I’ve made a few snack bars over the years (here and here and here) and, regardless of what kind of nut / seed / fruit combo I use, the biggest key to the success of these bars (i.e. not having them fall apart) is to make sure the ingredients are finely chopped. This is especially key for any nuts that you use. Give them a good run-through with your knife (or use the food processor again) to make sure that the pieces are about the size of a kernel of popcorn.

Other than that, anything goes, really! The Medjool dates in these bars give a hint of a caramel taste and provide your body with so many good things (vitamins, minerals, fibre). We love peanut butter in our household, but feel free to change to a different nut or seed butter, if you need to.

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Keys to making these Cashew Caramel bars easy:

  • Line your tray with a piece of parchment paper. It makes removing the bars much easier, and it keeps your pan clean! You can also use the same piece of parchment to wrap the bars in for storing.
  • Use very wet hands to mix the ingredients together. I started with a spatula, and eventually gave up and went with wet hands. Much easier.
  • Try using the flat bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press the mixture into the pan.
  • Remember to chop up your nuts and dried fruit. The smaller the pieces, the more you will guarantee to have a bar that won’t crumble on you after it’s set.

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We love having bars like this handy during our climbing days and training days. They make the perfect snack to nibble on, and Jonty thinks the flavour combination is probably one of his favourites.

Cashew Caramel Go To Bars
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These no-bake Cashew Caramel Go-To Bars are healthy, vegan and easy to make. Recipe adapted from Power Hungry cookbook.
Ingredients
  • 200 g (~12 large, 1 cup packed) pitted large Medjool dates
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 80 g (1/3 cup) natural peanut butter
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 200 g (1⅔ cup) large-flake oats
  • 80 g (2/3 cup) dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) raw cashews, finely chopped
  • 25 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Soak the pitted dates in 1 cup of hot water, for 10 to 15 minutes, to soften. Drain the water from the dates.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the dates, peanut butter, cinnamon and salt until the mixture forms a thick ball.
  3. In a large bowl, add the oats, coconut flakes, cranberries and finely chopped cashews, and date mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined. TIP: use very wet hands to mix.,
  4. Firmly press the mixture into an 8x8-inch tray lined with parchment paper. TIP: use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the mixture into the pan, in order to get it very flat.
  5. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the tray and cut into squares.
Notes
These bars freeze well. Wrap in parchment paper and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.

Enjoy these Cashew Caramel Go–To Bars!

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier).

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I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch!

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I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch.

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The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.

We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
Notes
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans!

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Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Turmeric and Toasted Cashews

Does the state of your fridge dictate what you’re going to have for dinner? We generally like to eat up most things in there before filling it again, so if there’s something in there that needs using up ASAP, there’s a good chance we’ll be cobbling together a meal out of it. Our fridge is usually filled with a stock-pile of veggies, so you can guarantee that the “something that needs using up” is either the root veggies that are getting soft, or the peppers that are losing their lustre. In this case, it was the small age spots on the cauliflower.

Instead of roasting the veggies, like we do 9 times out of 10 (we’re often not that imaginative during the week), we decided to do something completely different. And our cauliflower rice pilaf with turmeric and toasted cashews was born!

A few years ago, we went through a phase of making cauliflower rice. It’s full of fibre and low on the carbs, if you’re wanting to cut down on the standard starchy rice. Then the price of cauliflower increased to an absurdly high amount ($8 a head?!), so we stopped buying it.

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Fast forward a year or so, the price has come back down, and I get all over excited and buy 2 large heads because it’s so cheap! This meal is the product of Jonty’s idea and execution. I had a quick search for what’s in a standard rice pilaf, and then winged it from there.

This is a super easy, really flavourful side dish, that we will totally make again. We ate the cauliflower rice pilaf with homemade fish tacos, instead of usual coleslaw. Yup, this meal was totally out of left field, but it ended up being really tasty!

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For our version of cauliflower rice pilaf, we added diced onion, carrot and red pepper. A healthy dash of turmeric and a handful of chopped cilantro really make the colours of this dish pop, and add a great flavour too. Because cauliflower is mainly water, you don’t need to add much additional liquid to cook the rice. We dissolved a bit vegetable bouillon paste in a bit of water, and used that to add more flavour to the meal.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Cauliflower rice pilaf with turmeric and toasted cashews

If you’re looking for a new way to use up that gigantic head of cauliflower in your pantry, give this cauliflower rice pilaf a try. It’s an easy, flavourful and healthy side-dish that is quick to make on a weeknight (just take a look at the nutritional power of this meal!). It’s fantastic on its own, or wrapped into a taco with fish or chicken or tofu – ah, the options are endless 🙂

Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Turmeric and Toasted Cashews
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower (~650 g), chopped into florets and processed into rice
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium chicken or veggie bouillon
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
  • ½ lime, zest plus juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into large florets and add to a food processor, fitted with the S-blade. Pulse until the florets turn into small rice-sized pieces.
  2. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet, over medium heat, and add the diced onion and carrot. Saute until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the diced mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the red chili flakes and turmeric and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Let the mixture cook until the spices become fragrant. Add the vegetable or chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the cauliflower rice and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if you desire.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro and lime juice and zest. Cover and allow to steam until ready to eat.
  6. At this point, toast the cashews in a hot skillet or under the broiler until the nuts become fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Roughly chop them once they are cool enough to handle. Sprinkle the cashews over the cauliflower rice pilaf when ready to serve.

Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Turmeric and Toasted Cashews
 
Author: 
Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Turmeric and Toasted Cashews Recipe Type : Dinner Author: Moira Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 25 mins Total time: 35 mins Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower (~650 g), chopped into florets and processed into rice
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium chicken or veggie bouillon
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
  • ½ lime, zest plus juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into large florets and add to a food processor, fitted with the S-blade. Pulse until the florets turn into small rice-sized pieces.
  2. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet, over medium heat, and add the diced onion and carrot. Saute until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the diced mushrooms, garlic and ginger. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the red chili flakes and turmeric and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Let the mixture cook until the spices become fragrant. Add the vegetable or chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the cauliflower rice and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if you desire.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the chopped cilantro and lime juice and zest. Cover and allow to steam until ready to eat.
  6. At this point, toast the cashews in a hot skillet or under the broiler until the nuts become fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Chop them roughly once they are cool enough to handle. Sprinkle the cashews over the cauliflower rice pilaf when ready to serve.

Enjoy this cauliflower rice pilaf with turmeric and toasted cashews!

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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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Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad

I had never eaten a fresh fig until a few years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted any from her neighbour’s tree. “Yes!”, was the obvious answer! Fresh figs are a wonderfully tasty fruit, especially when their skin starts to give way and a bit of their nectar seeps out. And when a fig is perfectly ripe (or over-ripe!), it has a sweetness that pairs perfectly with a little spice. Case in point is this Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad.

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The idea for this salad came about after a trip into Whole Foods, where they had strategically placed the best looking figs right at the entrance to the store. They were staring me down, and I was sucked in immediately. Good thing they are in season right now, because they were actually a reasonable price, so I couldn’t refuse!

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There are only a handful of ingredients in this salad – a few tangled carrots are tossed with a spicy vinaigrette and the wheat berries give a nice nutty chew and a bit more substance to the salad. I really think the spicy vinaigrette brings out the best of the sweet fresh figs!

Like most of our salads, the recipe here is a general guide. If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the chilies. If you have other veggies in you fridge, feel free to use them up. We like adding grains like farro or wheat berries to our salads, as they hold up well in the fridge over a few days, and keep us feeling full well into the afternoon.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Spicy carrot and fig salad

So if you’ve never eaten a fresh fig before, make friends with a fig-laden neighbour, or grab a pint of them at the store while they are still in season, and make this salad! 🙂

Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired in part, by the Marrakesh Carrots in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon cookbook.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry wheat berries (or farro or other grain)
  • 3 - 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and grated or spiralized
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 4 fresh figs, sliced
  • 2 red Thai chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, if you want a milder heat)
  • 1 good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 good handful fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse the wheat berries under running water. Place in a medium sauce pan and pour enough water in to cover them by at least 5 cm. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until tender to the bite, about 25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool before adding to the salad.
  2. While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Place the carrots, shallot, green onions, dates, fresh figs and chilies into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the lime juice and zest, the olive oil and fresh cilantro and basil. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric and ground nutmeg. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
  5. Serve the salad with added sliced fresh figs on top, if desired.
Notes
This salad tastes very good after sitting for a bit. It will hold up well in the fridge for at least 2 days.

Enjoy!

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