Tag Archives: Baking

Playing Catch-up with Baked Goods

21 Jul

I have neglected my posting obligations. Sorry. But it’s been a wild couple of months. There is a much longer post kicking around in here somewhere but it’s so long and unwieldy that I’m going to need to sit with it and then edit it and then sit with it some more before I send it out into the ether. For now, just know this: I’ve spent July thus far withdrawing from coffee (again), gluten (seriously for the first time) and dairy.

After falling off the coffee-sugar-fat wagon back in March, my headaches were starting to get bad again and then in May, I did this fairly long race, and didn’t take any time off afterwards. The spring was super busy and physically strenuous and I totally neglected my nutrition and rest needs. So then I got to the middle of June and all the sudden my body went from just a little tired to pretty much ass out.

Along with the fatigue came that sense of overwhelming dread and dis-ease that has come upon me now three times in the last five years. One fay I feel fine and then the next day I don’t. I’m not sure how to describe exactly what happens without sounding insane and I feel like those details warrant a completely separate post. After all, this post was supposed to be a quick “hi, how are you and here’s a recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookie bars.”

Suffice to say, these “spells” as I’ve started referring to them, are the reason I started doing Bikram yoga back in 2008; why I went through all that vertigo testing last year; why I ended up with the migraine diagnosis; why I stopped drinking coffee and started drinking green smoothies. So I’m trying to look at all of this as a good thing because every time I feel this way, I’m forced to do some detective work and then ultimately, I learn something about how I’m living my life.

But after last year I really thought I’d never feel this way again. And the spring, while super busy and physically strenuous, was also frigging’ awesome. So when I got hit by the brick that is this nebulous state of unwell, with the dizziness and the fatigue and the anxiety and brain fog and the feeling like I’m drunk even though I haven’t downed a drop of booze and the fear of doing things (like running) that I love because I’m worried something “bad” will happen if I do, I got super bummed. Especially because this moment is not the moment during which I want to feel crappy. This is a moment during which I want to feel at the top of my game.

I am also in a strange city, where I know few people and can’t do what I always do: run to my doctor. In a way, this has been a blessing because it’s forced me to deal with what’s going on in a new way. Because, I don’t know if you know this but when you run to your primary care with complaints of “fatigue, dizziness, anxiety and a drunk feeling,” they tend to want to do one of two things: 1) prescribe an anti-depressant or 2) prescribe an anti-histamine. And even when I got to the ENT last year and went through all those tests, the primary option presented to me after the diagnosis was to take a pill twice a day every day indefinitely and when I said I didn’t want to do that, I was accused of being “medicine-phobic” by the specialist who was supposedly there to make me feel better.

So I took the “change your diet” option and I stopped drinking coffee and booze and I stopped eating cheese and I started eating only good things: mostly vegetables and almost all things I made from scratch in my own home. And it helped. In a couple of months, the symptoms were gone and I wasn’t thinking about ever having felt the way I felt. And I trained for a half-Iron and other races and went to Colorado and came back to Miami and worked and trained and had a kick-ass end of the season and the holidays hit and I gained eight pounds because I was drinking and eating crap for an entire month.

But I didn’t care about the weight because I knew I could just pop myself on another calorie restricted diet and lose it in no time. So that’s what I did January and February. I dropped those eight pounds easy living on boiled chicken. Then professionally things started going REALLY well and I was traveling a lot and then I met this guy and doing the things you do when you start dating someone (of course, I mean drinking and eating to excess) but it was OK because I was training for Haines City so I was pretty sure I wasn’t gaining any weight and that’s all that mattered, not the fact that I was consuming all the things that tend to make me feel like shit and I’m rambling. Here’s the bottom line:

THIS IS HOW I’VE BEEN LIVING MY LIFE SINCE 2005.

Eat everything in sight. Starvation diet. Eat everything in sight. Starvation diet.  Don’t drink any booze. Drink all the booze. Don’t drink any coffee. Drink 8 cups of coffee a day.

Over and over and over again and even when I feel “fine,” I don’t actually feel fine because I’ve been complaining about a chronic fatigue for the last decade. The people who know me will tell you that I’m always out there doing stuff and that I have a tendency to exhaust myself, not take breaks, never take vacations and pick sports that require a shit ton of self-punishment and then constantly complain about being tired.

This post is getting too long and too involved. Here’s the end for now: I found an acupuncturist out here who is awesome. I’ll save the treatment plan he’s devised for me for another post but I will tell you that one of the first things he said to me when we started talking was, “How we feel is 90% diet and 10% everything else and it’s important that that diet be moderate and balanced because if it’s not, your poop suffers and your sleep suffers. And if you’re not pooping and you’re not sleeping, then you’re fucked.” That’s a paraphrase.

I’ve always considered myself a healthy person but when I got into a real analysis of my diet and my lifestyle with this guy, it hit me that the last year has been anything but balanced and this last year is really no different from the year that came before it and the year that came before that one. You see where I’m going with this? Well, if you do, will you please leave a comment below? Because sometimes it sounds like I know what I’m talking about, but I really have no Godly idea.

In the meantime:

Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Refined Sugar Free Chocolate Oat Bars

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1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (or any other nut butter you like)
1/2 cup raw honey (or agave for all you vegans out there)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg (or one egg’s worth of egg replacer for all you vegans out there)
2-4 Tbsp of almond milk
2 cups gluten free oat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking pan. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together the oil, nut butter, honey, and maple syrup. Add egg and mix well. Alternately add the dry mixture and the almond milk to the wet ingredients until well combined . Stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. These are a very crumbly cookie and are better if you let them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

 

Fires, Rides and Races, Oh My!

30 Jun

TGI the weekend! Saturday and I finally have some time for an update. We had a couple of small fires in the vicinity this week. Both were put out immediately so that’s a good thing but the whole situation has people on edge. And rightfully so. We also had a fire drill on camp two days ago and were told that Steamboat is now at Level 2 Fire Alert status, which according to the Routt County Office of Emergency Management, prohibits among other things:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, charcoal grill, coal, wood burning stove or sheepherders stove, including in developed camping and picnic grounds. Devices using pressurized liquid or gas are exempted; and
  • Using an explosive requiring fuse or blasting caps, all fireworks, sparklers, rockets, exploding targets and tracers, or incendiary ammunition.

There are a few other banned fire-producing activities that I could care less about (welding, operating a chainsaw without a “chemical pressurized fire extinguisher,” and smoking outdoors), but these two make me very sad. 

Because it’s summer and what is summer without cookouts and fireworks?

OK technically, we can still use a gas grill to BBQ burgers but there won’t be any fireworks this 4th of July and I love the Steamboat fireworks display. It’s not the fanciest show but you can literally get right up under it at Howelsen Hill and feel the ground quake beneath you. This year, instead of pyrotechnics, there will be a Beatles cover band. Great. But you know, it’s all good. Because I’d rather have no fireworks than camp on fire one year before the centennial.

In other news, I am running the 2012 Mountain Madness Half Marathon tomorrow. I don’t quite know why I’m running this race. It seemed like a great idea two months ago. I ran the 10K last year and should have just signed up for that but no, I had to sign up for the half. I think I can still change my registration but at this point, I’m trained for the half, my mind is committed to it and so I’m gonna run the damned race. It will replace my hour hill repeats workout and my hour fifteen base building run that were scheduled for this week. I plan on running this one nice and easy. I will NOT be trying to break any PRs. I just want to run it controlled and happy, like the last one.

The one big snag with this race is that there are only three aid stations the whole distance. So I will be borrowing Danica‘s Nathan Intensity Hydration vest. I’m not a big drinker during races but considering the altitude, the terrain and how hot it’s been lately, I don’t want to take any chances. I haven’t trained in the thing but I’m not too worried since I AM GOING TO TAKE THIS RACE EASY ANYWAY.

Tomorrow’s run will bring to an end Week 2 of Augusta training (I made the above stamp yesterday with some help from our art teacher). So far so good. I am managing to get all my workouts in, save my weight training (which I know I have to get on) and my open water swims (which I have to resign myself to missing until I get home). I biked four times this week! I can’t find a stretch of flat road to save my life. My legs are going to be MASSIVE after this summer.

I’ve decided not to race the Steamboat Lake Sprint tri at the end of July and instead just focus on training for Augusta. I will likely get a sprint and perhaps an olympic in at the end of the summer when I return to Miami but my water lungs are HORRIBLE out here. I seriously don’t think I could swim 800 meters right now even with my wetsuit on and no ocean current pulling me in the opposite direction. I had to cut my swim workout 350 meters short yesterday because I seriously could not continue. I’m thinking I might need to spend the next couple of weeks just upping my endurance, working on lung capacity and form, and trying to right a few muscular wrongs that are holding me back in the pool. Hopefully all of that will lead to major gains when I return to sea level.

Outside of training, things are rolling along. My students out here are all awesome and doing great work. It’s a gorgeous day. Went out for a nice, short tempo ride this morning, ate a delicious breakfast prepared by our new chef who needs to stop baking for us every day, and now I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the afternoon flat on my back with my legs elevated and wrapped in ice packs in prep for the race tomorrow.

It’s not a shabby life I’m living.

The Rest of Sunday’s Baking Extravaganza

13 May

Oh this is a good one. Vegan and Gluten Free. I don’t quite know what to call this because there’s a lot going on. At heart, it’s a pumpkin bread with a lemon glaze. But it’s vegan and gluten free, covered in chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds and fragrant with the scent of ginger and cinnamon. It’s totally not seasonal, I know, but again, I am trying to run through what’s in my pantry and I had what I needed to make this loaf of deliciousness.

This loaf also marks my first attempt at using chia seeds as an egg substitute. I think it worked. I baked a tiny little tasting loaf for myself and the consistency is really killer. It’s moist and dense like a pumpkin bread should be. I think I added just a touch too much ginger but oh well. Next time.

Yeah, I really piled on the nutty topping with this one. It’s just chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds that got nice and toasty in the oven during the bake. The glaze is simply lemon juice and some confectioners sugar drizzled onto the bread while it was still a little warm.

Very excited to cut into this thing later. Here’s the recipe. It’s intense.

The Nutty Pumpkin Lemon Head: a vegan, gluten free production

Ingredients:

2 tsp chia seeds
6 tbsp water
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp xantham gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
chopped cashews and pumpkin seeds for topping
About 4 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Soak chia seeds in water for about ten minutes. Sift together all the dry ingredients and set aside. Mix together chia seeds, sugar, pumpkin, oil, molases and vanilla. Alternately add dry ingredients and almond milk and mix until well combined.

Pour into greased loaf pan and cover with the chopped nuts. Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pan. Remove from pan when still a little warm and place on a wire rack. Mix lemon juice and confectioners sugar until the sugar is totally dissolved. Place a sheet pan or piece of aluminum foil under the wire rack to catch drips and drizzle glaze over the bread.

Not Easy Like Sunday Morning (with Tons of Vegan Baked Goods)

13 May

As far as Sundays go, this one has been a doozy. Not a totally overwhelming doozy but the last several hours have provided me with more excitement than I can normally stand on what is known, in certain circles, as the “Lord’s Day,” or “the day of rest.”

I woke up this morning around 6AM, fully expecting that I’d be out to door at 6:45 ON my bike, half-way to Key Biscayne by 7:15AM and joining up with my crew at Alien Endurance beach by the appointed 7:30 departure time. We had a time trial test scheduled for today, as well as an additional 40 minute easy ride and I thought I’d skip the car and spend some real quality time with Titita today. I sort of got what I wanted but not what I’d expected.

At 6:30AM I went in to pump Titita’s tires and discovered that her back one was flat. Frack. I’ve never had to change a back tire before–in fact, I’ve only (knock on wood SO HARD) had to change my front tire once since buying the bike and that was during a tire-changing clinic. So OK, my back tire was flat. Learning experience if nothing else. And if I could could get in there and get the job done in less than fifteen minutes, I could still keep to the original plan.

I’m so glad it’s seven hours later and I can laugh at this now. I was not laughing at 6:45. By 6:45 I had miraculously managed to change the tire but failed to anticipate how difficult it was going to be for me to get the wheel back on. I thought I had it right then realized I had it really wrong, then realized I had no idea how to do it correctly. Thank God for You Tube. I searched “changing back bike tire” and found a couple of videos that made the process look insanely easy–likely because the stars of said videos were both bike mechanics.

This didn’t go well. It didn’t go at all for a good twenty minutes. By 7AM I was screaming and cursing and covered in grease and dirt. Oh, and blood. Did I mention that while my wheel was lying on the ground I managed to ram my right big toe into the casette? Oh yeah. And it bled. Oh how it bled. A real gusher. Which is actually a good thing because God only knows what sorts of horrifying micro organisms were attempting to enter my blood stream as all of this was happening. Yes, I cleaned and disinfected the wound a little later.

By 7:10AM, the bike was still in two pieces and I knew there was no way I could make it out to Kew Biscayne without my car by 7:30. I took a breath, channeled my inner bike mechanic and managed to get the wheel back in and the tire pumped by 7:16. I paused for a moment and took a glance around: the room looked like a freakin’ murder scene. The floor was covered in blood and bike grease; several black palm prints were decorating one of the walls.I was totally covered in filth but didn’t pause to clean up. I tossed the bike in the car, high-tailed it out to KB and was only 8 minutes late.

The rest of the group started without me but I caught up and got my TT in. Did 2.57 miles in 8:13.76 at the tippy top of Zone 4, for an average pace of 19.1mph with a pretty decent headwind going out. I am pleased with this. It is better than the last one and that’s all that matters. Took the rest of the ride easy and stayed in Zone 3, averaging just around 17mph for a little over 45 minutes. All in all, not too shabby and the ride was a perfect antidote to a stressful start of my day.

And then I came home and got to spend the remainder of the morning doing one of my absolute favorite things: baking up a storm! I’m going to a dinner party hosted by The Vegan this evening and I told her I’d bring dessert. Since I’m shoving off next week, there’s a ton of stuff in my pantry that I’m trying to use up. Plus, I found three really great looking recipes online the other day that I wanted to try/tweak/etc… So I figured the party gave me a perfect excuse to do a little sweet genius work in the kitchen.

First, I made Post Punk Kitchen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles.

These things are the bomb! I tweaked the recipe just a teensy bit and used King Arthur white whole wheat flour and a full teaspoon of both the cinnamon and cayenne. I really prefer cookies like these a little on the soft side, so I under baked them by 3 minutes (7 minutes total) and then let them finish baking on the warm cookie sheet outside of the oven.

I was really surprised that these babies spread as much as they did; came out a little bigger than I’d anticipated. But they remind me of a chocolate version of my mom’s Christmas ginger cookies (can’t keep my hands off those). They are chewy and spicy and chocolatey and pretty much totally dangerous. I had one (gotta test them before I serve them to people, right?) and then immediately packed them up.

Next up, I took this recipe for whole wheat fig bars (also from Post Punk Kitchen) and gave them the multi-treatment. Figs are, unfortunately, a migraine trigger and I know they bother me because I’ve eaten them recently and they, well, bothered me. So I decided to make a dried cherry-cranberry compote and use that as the filling instead. I also used dark brown sugar instead of granulated; ground almonds instead of flax; and white whole wheat again, instead of regular whole wheat.

I think I like these even more than the chocolate cookies. I’ve never really been a big chocolate dessert fan (I’ll take the vanilla, lemon or fruit-themed dessert over the chocolate one any day) so these little berry bars do me just fine.

They almost feel more like a breakfast treat than they do like a dessert because they’re not overly sweet and they have a really lovely earthy flavor–like whole wheat blueberry muffins or pancakes–and a crumbly, crunchy texture thanks in part to the addition to ground almonds and turbinado between layers. I made enough adjustments to this recipe that I’m going to post my version in addition to a link back to the original (above). The final piece of today’s baking puzzle has just come out of the oven so I’ll save it for a separate, much shorter post. It is both vegan and gluten free.

Vegan Berry Bars

Filling:

1 lb dried cranberries and cherries, mixed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup of water

Crust:

2 tbsp ground almond meal
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup canola oil (could substitute coconut oil)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8″ baking pan.

To make the filling, combine berries, zest, lemon juice, sugar and water into a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the berries have plumped up and softened. Monitor this while it cooks as it might be necessary to add a little more water to keep the mixture from burning. Remove from heat and cool. Place mixture in a food processor and pulse until you achieve the consistency of thick preserves. Set aside.

To make the crust, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, sugar, oil, milk and vanilla. Mix until completely smooth. Add dry ingredients until the dough comes together. It will be very sticky. In a small bowl, mix the ground almonds, turbinado and cinnamon together.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle with a third of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and then evenly spread the berry preserves over the bottom layer. Sprinkle with another third of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and then top with remaining dough, smoothing it out with a metal spoon dipped in warm water. Sprinkle what remains of the almond cinnamon-sugar mixture and bake for 30 minutes until the dough puffs up and turns golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely in the pan before cutting. Cut into 15 bars and store in an air tight container.

Feeling Seedy: Chia-Flax Crackers

11 May

These little crispy wheat-free crackers were an idea I picked up from a very smart teammate. They look a little like bird food but I gotta tell you, they’re goooooood. I tweaked her recipe with the addition of pumpkin seeds and some spices but the possibilities are really endless here. I even considered throwing in some shredded apple for a little sweetness but opted to keep these a purely savory snack for the moment. They take a little bit of time but are worth the wait if you’re really craving something salty but not full of nonsense ingredients.

Chia-Flax Crackers

Ingredients:
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
coarse salt for sprinkling
cayenne pepper for sprinkling
garlic powder for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine the flax and pumpkin seeds in the work-bowl of a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse grind. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flax/pumpkin mixture with the chia seeds and water and let the whole thing sit for a couple of minutes until it all gets nice and gluey–sounds delightful, right? Next, add the carrots and mix thoroughly with your hands. Sorry, but hands are really the only way to go here. Spread the mixture into a nice even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, cayenne and garlic powder. It will look like this:

Place on the middle rack of your oven and “bake” for about an hour and change. I’m putting the word bake in quotes here because you’re not actually baking anything, you’re just trying to dry the mixture out.

After the initial hour and change, remove from the oven and cut into squares like so:

At this point, they will still be pliable and a little chewy and not particularly flavorful. Never fear. Give them the biscotti treatment and return them to the low oven for another 40 minutes or so. By then, they should be nice and crispy and will look like this:

They have a really mellow, nutty flavor with just a kick of spice. Actually, and this is going to sound a little bizarre, but they kinda taste like pizza. Must be the garlic powder. They’re about 70 calories per serving (4 crackers) and have 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, are full of good fats and are high in vitamin A and low in sugar. So snack happy! But remember, there’s chia in here so be careful not to go overboard on these things. You may end up where I was a few weeks back before I did my chia vetting.

On the Road and In The Kitchen

7 May

image

That is a a picture of the Blue-Green Smoothie. I’m enjoying it right now.  I’ve been drinking my breakfast for about the last week. Had a long conversation with a very smart person recently about green smoothies and then did a little research, found a few recipes and realized that they sorta make the perfect daily start for me. Great mix of protein, carbs, good fats, fiber, vitamins, etc… This is my recipe for the Blue-Green (and no, it does not contain any pond algae, although that’s probably the next logical step, as you can purchase it in capsule form and it’s very good for you):

Blue-Green Smoothie

1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (soy, almond, cow, etc… are all totally acceptable–your choice)
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (any brand will do)
1 half Granny Smith apple, cored but not peeled, chopped up
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
1 cup raw greens (I used a mix of baby kales but any dark, green roughage would work–again, your choice)
1 tsp chia (yes, I’m eating it again in much smaller doses, and tolerating it just fine)
1 tbsp hemp seed
A couple of ice cubes.

Add milk and chia seeds to blender first and let them sit together while you’re prepping the rest of the stuff. Then just toss it all in and blend until you get your desired consistency. It’s really freakin’ good. This smoothie has limitless variations and I find that the ones I’ve tried keep me full for several hours–likely because it is so full of fiber. Here is the nutritional breakdown:

Almost 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! Plus you get nearly a full day’s worth of calcium and plenty of other good stuff. The fats are all good-for-you plant-based fats and yes, the drink is high in sugar but at least it’s all coming from the fruit and not from anything added. You could add extra sweetener to this but it’s not necessary–unless you’re a sugar junky. Which you shouldn’t be. Anyway…

Yesterday was another massive calorie intake day so I’m hoping that ol’ Blue-Green will help cleanse me of all the crap I ingested.  OK, not everything I ate was total crap, only about, oh I don’t know, let’s say 50%. That may even be too harsh. It was a massive intake day because it was also a massive output day that started at 4AM and ended at 11PM.

I kicked things off with my longest ride to date–50 miles through Jupiter, Florida. What a great ride. There were hills! Florida hills but still, hills. The weather was great–little hot but since we were right on the ocean, there was a cool nice breeze. There was no real wind, except for one long stretch of open highway and even then it wasn’t horrible. We wound up taking just under 3 hours to complete the 50 miles, which ended up as a 17.1mph average. I am happy with that  since we were also supposed to stay in Zone 3 the entire time and not push too hard. If I can ride 50 miles at 17.1mph in zone 3 and still have legs to push the last two miles out at almost 19mph (which I did) good things are happening.

My allergies threw me for a loop on Saturday so I had to take the day off, which meant that I had to make up my run on Sunday. So after that massive ride, I gave myself about six hours to recover and then went out for a 70 minute “easy” run under the mid-Afternoon Miami sun (it was 85 degrees and 55% humidity). Ugh. I knew ahead of time that it was gonna be hot, so I pumped myself full of electrolytes before the run.

Apparently, the calorie burn on a 17mph ride for a rider like me is something close to 40 calories per mile, which equals 2000 calories burned for the ride. That is, of course, not just an additional 2000 calories I get to knock off the top (have to factor what I would have burned in three hours of just existing) but still, it’s a decent deficit. The run was slow so probably not a lot burned there but again, you add that to the ride and that’s a goodly amount of calories out, a lot of carbs used up and some muscles to repair with protein. Most of the calories I took in yesterday came in the form of gels, bars and recovery beverages. So A LOT OF SUGAR. I am definitely feeling the effects of that sugar this morning.

I also made a batch of gluten-free hamburger rolls on Saturday because, well I wanted them. I had some ground turkey lying around and knew there was a burger in the works for lunch but I wanted it on a damned roll. So instead of going out and buying a batch, I made a batch. These were a total experiment based on a recipe I found at FoodSensitivityJournal. These things are killer and were my first attempt at baking with guar gum.

Here they are fresh out of the oven. My recipe isn’t 100% ready for public consumption yet but the experiment was a raging success and I can tell you that I used a mix of brown rice, oat, buckwheat and soy flours; guar gum instead of xantham; honey and molasses as my sweetener and almond milk in lieu of hemp. I also added hemp and flax seeds to the batter and sunflower seeds to the top (as shown).

There’s my burger with salsa,spinach and yes, a slice of American cheese (it’s not a migraine trigger and I wanted cheese. And yes, I know it’s not really cheese but when you have the craving, sometimes you gotta just go with it).

Here’s the burger with a side of my carrot-squash soup (drizzled with a little Cholula). This was the last of the last batch I will make before departing for the summer. Very sad to see it go.

That was Saturday’s lunch. But I made 9 of the rolls and didn’t want them hanging around the apartment so I decided to use them for long bike fuel. I made five sunflower butter and honey sandwiches with them and gave them out to a few of my lucky teammates. I ate half of one during my ride (was great fuel–no stomach issues) and the other half after. Then I had one of the rolls with a veggie burger later in the day. Then I had ANOTHER one at dinner with the neighbor–I put a little goat cheese on them and broiled them for about five minutes. Awesome.

Dinner also consisted of rotisserie chicken breast over fresh baby kale with apples, dried cherries, roasted potatoes toasted sunflower seeds and a dressing I’ve started making with Tofu cream cheese and Dijon mustard. Really nice.

So that all doesn’t sound too bad, right? Yes, but then I had two drinks. The first two drinks I’ve had in two months. After spending several hours in the sun yesterday, a cocktail sounded about right. But I should have stopped at one. The neighbor mixed me up a really nice riff on a drink he’d had at Michael’s Genuine that involves gin, bitters, tonic and not Compari but something similar. It was exactly what I wanted. But again, I should have had one. Immediate headache. Sigh. Does this mean that I really have to give up booze forever and ever?

Then we went to movies. I had popcorn. And a soda. What a splurge. And I think there was ice cream after the movie but I can’t tell you for sure. All in all, not a totally horrendous eating day. Honestly, the only thing up there that makes me sad is the soda. And I kinda hate having to drink all that recovery stuff. But it’s a necessary evil because my body muscles and joints feel perfectly fine today. My liver and stomach, not so much. But that’s what ol’ Blue-Green is for. And yoga. Yoga will right all the wrongs. Peace out!

Recovery Monday Bars Recipe

24 Feb

I’ve decided to stick with the original name for these tasty little things. I made my way through the first batch in a little over a week. I ate them mostly as mid-day snacks and lemme tell you, they totally satisfied for a couple of hours at least. Today, I had two after a long bike and again, felt really full.

I upped the good-fat/protein ante on the batch I made today by adding an egg white and more seeds. The downside is that they are no longer vegan but they’re still packed with good-for-you stuff and have enough bulk to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

I don’t know that I would consume these so greedily if I wasn’t in training but I see no reason why they can’t be a healthy snack for anyone who wants to ditch store-brand and take control of what enters his/her body. They are also so easy to make a mildly impaired monkey could pull them off. Anyway, la recipe:

RECOVERY MONDAY BARS

2 cups oats
1/3 cup soy flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Agave
1 large egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup shredded baking coconut (this stuff is sweetened; you can try this recipe with unsweetened flaked coconut but I’m not sure it would be as tasty. If you do, let me know how they turn out)

Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine agave, egg white, apple sauce and vanilla extract. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. This will be a wet, slightly sticky batter. Add the cranberries, seeds, nuts and coconut and stir until combined.

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden around the edges and set in the middle. Cool in pan for about five minutes. Then cut into bars. Remove bars from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They should be good for about 10 days.