necessity is the mother of invention {& that's why we're here, friends} we dance to the music, we play in the kitchen & sometimes that means one of us breaks the wine glasses {we're not saying who} the cook is a cubicle-warmer/learning & development specialist by day, & a writer/photographer/kitchen goddess by night who has fun inventing healthy things she can actually eat we seriously both need capes & a kick-ass theme song & the baker is a catering delivery superhero; no job too big or too early or too floral not to come home & make magic with a mixer & an oven we are always gluten-free, dairy-free, & magically delicious now, somebody turn up the music! we're about to get our dance on!

18 May 2008

hiking food

Today, the playful cook is going to take you a bit off the beaten path. Sis & I are going to take advantage of the glorious (in the 80s!!) weekend weather and go for a hike today. So the question is: what kind of food does the playful cook and her babe-a-licious baker sister take when they go for a hike?

homemade energy

Incidentally, this post is being written on my back porch with a steaming cup of the Pike's Place blend coffee. I'm overlooking a yard that, covered in snow 6 weeks ago, has now exploded in green. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and there's a gentle breeze stirring those lush green leaves to motion. It's supposed to be in the low 80s again today. Mary Poppins is going to show up at any moment, I just know it!!

This isn't a meal so much as it is a homemade energy/breakfast/whenever bar, something good for when you need to pack a lot of energy punch into a small amount of food. Nuts and seeds are good calorie-dense foods that help sustain for the long term. And dried fruits provide a quick burst of energy to burn and get you going.

As with any recipe posted here, I fully encourage you to make it your own. You can use any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits that you like. It's all about playing and loving the results!

Here are the ingredients I used:
Dried cranberries
Dried apples
Slivered almonds
Raw (unroasted) cashews
Sunflower seeds
Brown rice syrup

And there's so much good stuff packed in these ingredients!!
{i'll summarize, click on the links to read more}

Cranberries: Vitamin C, fiber, reduces the risk of urinary tract & kidney infections, has antibiotic properties.

Apples: Fiber, Vitamin C, flavonoids. The insoluble fiber in apples latches on to the "bad" LDL cholesterol in your digestive tract and escorts that bad stuff out of your system. Pectin does the same for toxins like lead and mercury.

Almonds: Manganese, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium (Vitamin K), riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Monounsaturated fats help reduce risk of heart disease, lowers LDL cholesterol. Magnesium protects blood vessels, potassium is essential for healthy nerve function.

Sunflower Seeds: Off-the-charts with Vitamin E and thiamin (Vitamin B1). Loaded with magnesium, manganese, Vitamin B5, folate, and tons of other good stuff.

Flaxseeds: Check out those Omega 3s!! 2 tablespoons contain nearly 150% of the daily recommended value. Also chock full of manganese, fiber, magnesium, and folate. Rich in ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is a precursor to the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in fish oil. The magnificnent human body can convert ALA to EPA. Also provides anti-inflammatory benefits, protects them bones, and helps defend the body against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Brown rice syrup is is an all-natural sweetner the consistency of honey. Brown rice is boiled down until those complex carbs are simplified. What's great is that this sweetener is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than sugar, meaning that you don't get that sugar spike like you do with traditional sweeteners.

Other ingredients you might want to try:
Dried fruits: apricots, dates, raisins, blueberries, cherries, papaya, mango
Seeds: pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sesame seeds
Nuts: peanuts, pecans, walnuts
Other wild ideas: Sweeten a bit with orange juice or lemonade concentrate, add a little shredded coconut

True to form, I really didn't measure anything here. It's hard to mess up something like this, so trust yourself and just eyeball the proportions.

All you really need to do before mixing all the ingredients in a bowl is to chop the dried fruits as small as you can (which is a difficulty, because they are super-sticky). A food processor comes in handy for jobs like this one!

In a bowl, combine:
Nuts, seeds, dried fruits

Pour brown rice syrup over the fruit/seed/nut party-in-a-bowl and stir until the whole mixture is coated with syrup and sticks together. I'm guessing that I used about 1 c. of the syrup, maybe a little more. You want the entire mixture to be well-coated and pretty sticky, but not dripping with the syrup.

Pour mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and press out flat (I used the back of a spoon, but a rubber spatula would also work). Bake in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.

It will still be fairly crumbly when first out of the oven, but feel free to press and spread out the mixture some more until it's nice and flat. Allow to cool for a for a few hours (ideally, overnight). Once cooled, it'll be nice and hard and sticking together like good hiking bars should be.

Cut into whatever size you like. Grab and go!!

Now if you'll excuse me, sis and I have to go trail test these babies. Because that, my readers, is exactly how much we care about you: that we would spend this cloudless and sunny and warm weekend out on one of our favorite Pacific Northwest trails stretching our legs and taking in the views.

See ya!!


Christianne said...

so fun, and this sounds yummy! i'm thrilled that you've got the weather you do up there these days. hope you enjoyed the hike!

Anonymous said...

Hi! (I'm Beth)

Your food looks delicious and you have great musical taste! I'll definitely be trying some of your recipes!



Anonymous said...

hey girls!
well i just found this blog,
she is a Naturopath out here in Sudden Valley, looks pretty interesting, and right up your alley...

kirsten said...

christianne - the hike was awesome!! such a gorgeous day. we're back to rain now, but it's the warm spring rain (as opposed to cold & driving rain), so i'm okay with that.

hi beth - thanks for stopping by!! glad you enjoy the tunes & i hope you enjoy the treats, too. ;o)

hi sara - so glad you found us here!! jean's blog has been a tremendous resource, especially since she's local. thanks for stopping by!!