Screw Powerbar, Make Your Own Energy Bar

Great article from roadcycler.com.  These bars cost about 50-65 cents each to make, a lot more affordable than the $2 powerbars in the stores.  Makes a GREAT dessert if you have a craving for chocolate after dinner

We break the bars into quarters as that seems to be enough fuel for us.  If you make full-sized bars, the nutrition breaks down to the following:

  • 472 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 13.7 g protein
  • 54.25 g carbs

In our second installment of the ongoing “Screw [insert big corporation], do it yourself” articles, we will break down a few ways to make your own supremely healthy energy bar. I have scoured the internet for recipes, and fired up the oven to test out the best way to make a good energy bar on your own. There are a lot of good recipes to chose from, but I have done a bit of modding to make the ultimate bars.

Let’s start off with a simple, but fantastic recipe. For those of us who like to keep it simple, this one is great. It requires very little time, or cooking skill.

Start off breaking up your favorite dark chocolate bar (70% cocoa or more) into tiny chunks. Then mix 1 cup of natural peanut butter and 1 cup of honey in a non-stick pot under medium heat. Cook this until fully mixed, and slightly runny. Next, add 3 cups of old fashioned uncooked, non-instant oatmeal and mix well. Take this off the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Add the dark chocolate to the mix while still warm. Press this into a 9″ x 13″ pan. Put in the fridge until completely cool, and cut to desired bar size. Enjoy.

This bar is so beautifully simple and tasty. It is one of my favorite quick bars. You get good fats and protein from the peanut butter, some good fiber from the oats, a quick boost from the honey sugars, and some antioxidants and caffeine from the chocolate. Beautiful.

Easy No-Knead Bread

I was reading an article by Michelle Gienow in this week’s Orlando Weekly about SOLE food.  She mentioned a wonderful recipe for no-knead bread, and the following recipe comes from the New York Times.

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Irish Lamb Stew


Here’s an excellent slow cooker recipe from EatingWell.com

Lamb stew is Irish penicillin: a rich stew full of potatoes, leeks and carrots that’ll cure whatever ails you. In traditional fashion, nothing here is browned first, just all stewed together. To keep it healthy make sure to trim the lamb of any visible fat before you cook it.

  • 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 3/4 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 large leeks, white part only, halved, washed (see Tip) and thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Combine lamb, potatoes, leeks, carrots, celery, broth, thyme, salt and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the lamb is fork-tender, about 8 hours. Stir in parsley before serving.

266 Calories; 7 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 65 mg Cholesterol; 27 g Carbohydrates; 23 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 427 mg Sodium; 803 mg Potassium

Tips & Notes

  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Equipment: 6-quart slow cooker
  • To clean leeks, trim and discard green tops and white roots. Split leeks lengthwise and place in plenty of water. Swish the leeks in the water to release any sand or soil. Drain. Repeat until no grit remains.

Potato and Spinach Soup (Cream-Free)

Here is a wonderful creamy potato recipe that’s super easy and very clean.  A variation from potato and leek soup, for one reason only: Publix was out of leeks, my most favorite vegetable in the whole wide world!  We were pleasantly surprised that the spinach did not overpower the dish and left us with clean palates.

Recipe for 3-4 servings.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 russet or white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or broth
  • 1 handful fresh spinach, stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent and garlic becomes fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Do not brown veggies.  Toss in the diced potatoes and stir a few times.

Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Once the potatoes are tender, using a ladle, remove about 1/3 of potato and stock and purée in a food processor until smooth.  Add back to soup and continue to reduce the liquid for another 15 minutes.  If soup thickens too quickly, add water by 1/2 cups at a time.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 minutes prior to serving, roll up spinach leaves into a bundle and slice into thin strips. Stir into soup and let simmer until wilted, about 4 minutes.

Serve immediately with a fresh, crusty baguette.  Enjoy!

 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Thank you Gretchen Kennedy!

  • 2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw/natural sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; toss well.

Spread chickpea mixture on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put in over, roasting 20-25 minutes; toss mixture halfway through. Remove from oven when chickpeas as dark brown in spots and cool.  Enjoy and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Herb and Endive Salad with Lime Sauce

Discover a new light salad that leaves a very fresh taste on the palette.

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup packed small basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed 1-inch chive pieces
  • 1/2 cup small mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
  • 2 Belgian endives, separated into leaves or halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • Chive or sage blossoms, for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the lime juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the herbs with the endives. Add the dressing, toss and garnish with the chive blossoms; serve.

Courtesy Food & Wine Magazine.

Food of the Month – Belgian Endive

endive-ju7z

Each month I make the commitment to vary my diet and experience new, or, more likely, forgotten foods that are tasty andoffer added health benefits.  This month I have decided to focus on the Belgian Endive.  Endives are high in dietary fiber and vitamins A, C.  Endives are gradually gaining popularity in the US now, and are usually easy to find at the grocery.

Here are some facts from Charles Stuart Platkin of DietDetective.com, including pairings, selective and storage tips:

Belgian Endive

Appearance: Long, textured, broad, thick leaves. Lighter green at the core end, darker and somewhat leafy at the tips.

Taste: Slightly bitter, with a crisp and sturdy in texture. “It can be blanched to make the taste more delicate. Use endive with other, sweeter ingredients, like citrus and apples, to counteract its natural bitterness,” Mullins says.

Health Perks: Good source of vitamin A. Also has potassium, calcium, iron and zinc.

Nutrition Stats: (1 cup, chopped) 8 calories, 0.1g fat, 1.67g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 0.62g protein, 1,084 IU vitamin A, 3.2mg vitamin C, 26mg calcium.

Use: “Belgian Endive is perfect for a salad that lacks texture. It is excellent for warm salads because its sturdy leaves won’t easily wilt,” says Mullins.

Purchasing: Available year-round. “Always purchase the palest color endive you can find because the paler the color the less bitter the flavor,” says Mullins.

Also make sure the heads are crisp and firm.

Storage: “Endive grows best in darkness and should be kept away from light even in the refrigerator. Store in a brown paper bag in the veggie bin. If your head of endive looks weak, strengthen it by placing the head in water,” Mullins says. Make sure to rinse in cold water prior to use.