Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flip Flops, Granola Bars and a Good Old Fashioned Arse Kickin'

Happy Tuesday! 

Warm sunshiny days change something about everything, don't they?  Everyone seems just a little bit happier, lighter, and friendlier once that sweet sunshine warms our faces.  It is like a physical weight has been lifted off our shoulders when we shed those winter clothes...and i love it:)   If you live on the west coast, then you know exactly what I mean...holy sunshine!   It has been a glorious few days.

Flip Flops- yup.  I pulled mine out of the closet and slipped them on for the first time, this weekend.  Breathe easy little toes- summer is on the way:)  Flip flops are hands down, without a doubt,  my fave type of footwear and I am sure I am meant to live somewhere you can sport them all year round without being mocked.

Granola Bars.  I mean real, homemade granola bars.  Not that crap you buy in the colourful box with the shiny wrappers and the in-your-face-these-are-so-good-for-you marketing madness trickery.  The more health claims on the box, the worse it probably is for you lol:).  Have you read the ingredients label on that box of 'all natural, high in fibre, low in cholesterol, trans fat free' granola bars?  Do you even know what half of those ingredients are?  Start googling and you will probably want to put that box right back on the shelf where it has the potential to sit without rotting for months, years or maybe even decades.

OK- you want a healthy snack for your kids to take to soccer practice, or to fuel you before your after work run.  Don't believe the hype.  Making your own Granola Bars or your own Granola for that matter, only takes minutes, really is super simple and it will nourish you more and actually cost you less!  Sold?  Saweet!

I have a tonne of favourite bars, balls and portable snacks that I make to fuel before, during and after my endurance sessions.  You can check them out in my little cookbook: NRG: Foods that will move you.  I am always looking for new recipes, combinations and variations to keep things interesting and full fill my passion for baking & whole foods:)  This weekend I tried out a recipe from ELM'er Nicole W for Granola Bars.  She mentioned they were one of her faves because they stuck together so well...and, well, she was telling the truth!  If you like crispy, chewy, granola bars then you will LOVE these.  Here is Nicole's recipe with my personal twists:

Crispy Chewy Granola Bars

Makes 24 small bars or 12 big fat ones
For 24 bars:
127 calories per bar
21.7grams carbohydrate
3.8grams fat
3.6grams protein

*Organic ingredients if possible
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used left over muselix)
1/2 cup whole wheat or other flour- I used spelt
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2cup unsulphered apricots chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dates chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt - optional but great during exercise/recovery
1/3 cup maple syrup or honey- I used organic honey and they were yummy.
2 tbs coconut oil melted
2 eggs
  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Grease a 9*13" pan
  • Mix all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse lightly. 
  • Add sweetener, oil and eggs and pulse until just mixed.
  • Keep some chunks for texture, flavor and crunch.
  • Spread into the pan and press down hard to pack the bars into a dense shape.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool and cut into bars.  Yum!
As you can imagine, the sky is the limit with flavour combinations.  Apples and cinnamon...cherry chocolate...peanut and raisin...you get the idea...

And now for the Arse Kickin' LOL:)  I made a ridiculous late Saturday night decision to head to Powell River on a Sunday morning ferry with my buddy Kelly, to get my butt kicked in the Island Cup XC bike race.  I am NOT a qualified bike racer (and this was a good reminder of that LOL).  Sure, I love to Adventure Race. But Adventure Racers are the Jacks and Jills of 'all trades'.   XC bike racers are an entirely different kind of animal all together.  I have mashed my way through 3 Island Cup races over the past 3 years and I swear they get scarier for me every time:)  Picture metal meets spandex & technical descents meet high seat posts.  Picture a sea of 29'er hardtails (when did THAT happen?), massive quads and odometers.  It is intense out there man!  LOL- good times and great people combined with a fun course and super friendly volunteers made for a great event!

I had a 'test' workout planned for my ankle on Sunday that needed about 2 hours of riding and 2 hours of hard running back to back.  I need to find out what this ankle is capable of and bit by bit I have been pushing up the volume/intensity to see what I can pull off for foot races this year.  The bike race was an awesome way to push my riding pace - and humbled me in the process.  Back of the pack in the 'Expert' (hahaha AKA 3 laps) category and going pretty much as hard as I could (safely:) ride,  I crossed the line with a HUGE grin because, well, because I still had all my teeth, my tubes, fingers and toes:)  Yipppee!  

But the fun wasn't over for me once I got back to race central.  While everyone else was shedding their spandex and cracking cold ones I was switching my helmet for my sneakers, visor and pack and heading back up to the hills for part deux.  After the first few minutes I got my legs and man did it feel amazing to run:)  SO much more relaxing than bike racing!  I felt loose and fast, relaxed and happy during my post ride run in the woods.  I had time to run the 7.5km course twice more before having to call it quits and head back to the ferry. 

When I finally returned to my bike at race central, the park was abandoned, an old man was locking the gate and my little bike was chained to a tree (thanks Kelly:).  Down the hill and back to the ferry I went, where I found the crew of travelling island racers soaking in the sun and sipping on cold ones in the parking lot. 

We sat in the sunshine on the upper deck the entire way home.  Sunglasses, shorts and flip flops.  Yup...  What a great day:)  Time will tell what the ankle thinks about it all...

Let the good times roll,

No comments: