It’s off season! Break your pattern and try some new cooking.
Version française à venir.
Winter can be hard for cyclist lovers… In Canada, you must train inside and most of the time alone. It’s cold, it’s dark and everybody gets sick! But these conditions also make it perfect to cook! What’s better than food to comfort you and put you in a chill mood. You can’t deny the wonderfulness of the smell of a good meal getting ready in your slow cooker or some hot muffins/cookies coming out of the oven!
It’s been a while already that I wanted to start cooking my snack and nutrition for my bike rides and triathlon races. There are many reasons and benefits to it: cost efficiency, sustainability and most likely healthier for the body (for a lot of products at least).
My first rainy Fall & Winter in Vancouver seemed the perfect timing to test some recipes and find my favorites ones for next Spring/Summer. Nutrition being so popular and trendy these days, it is easy to find books and websites to be inspired from.
My criteria to help you a pick a good recipe/snack on a bike:
- Easy to manipulate and store on the bike or yourself. You want to stay safe on your bike while grabbing/opening it!
- Easy to chew. We’ve all tasted one of these bar that you can’t breathe anymore making so much effort to chew and swallow!
- Easy to digest and therefore relatively low in fiber, fat and protein. You want that energy quickly available, so your legs can keep pushing!
- Not too many ingredients. To be cost efficient but also to be cooking efficient…I hate having 33 containers or bags on my counter just to be able to cook one tiny bar!
- Freezable for 3-6 months. You don’t want to spend ALL your week-end cooking and that way you can stock in advance!
- Tasteful!!! Well, we are not going to do these efforts and not eat the thing because it tastes awful, right?
My winner: CAPPUCCINO BARS*
- 2 cups of quick cooking oat
- 1 ¼ cups crisp rice cereal
- ¾ cup walnut halves, chopped
- ¾ cup whole almonds, chopped
- ¾ cup unsweetened flake or shredded coconut
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Use a baking span with foil parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread the oats, walnuts, almonds, and coconut. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, shaking halfway through, until golden.
- Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the rice cereal.
- Combine the maple syrup and sugar, water, espresso powder, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.
- Immediately pour syrup mixture over the nut mixture, mixing with a spatula until coated.
- Transfer in a pan. Use a large piece of parchment or wax paper atop the bar mixture to spread, flatten, and very firmly compact the mixture evenly in the pan.
- Cool at least 1 hour until firmly set.
- Cut into 16 bars.
- Tightly wrap the bars individually.
* Adapted from “Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook” by Camilla V. Saulsbury
What I like about it:
- It’s like having a coffee ride. I love the coffee flavour.
- No cooking really except for the nuts roasting.
- Pretty quick to cook!
- A good balance between protein, fiber and carbohydrates.
- Can be kept 2 weeks in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
- A variety of taste and texture with the nuts and rice cereal.
- You can easily substitute some of the ingredients to your own preference!
How about you too take some time to cook for yourself this Winter? Gather your bike partners on a weekend day and make it a cooking day! You girls are going to be so happy and proud next summer when you’ll be eating your own delicious homemade bar!! This is what the community is about…spending time together on the bike, but also all year long off your bike!
Joanie Bouchard, RD, proud ambassador of the PEPPERMINT Collective