Chia Power

So, I know I said I was going to stay away from quick bars for a little while, but I just couldn’t help myself.  As always, I’m looking for things that are easy to prepare and fun to eat, with a lot of staying power to keep me moving through my days.  What else can I say…?  I’m a sucker for quick protein snacks and these fit the bill.

There’s a few awesome things about these.  First, they take about five minutes to prep, even with blending the oats and buckwheat into flour.  All you do is mix the dry ingredients together, and add water…easy!  Second, they are vegan and gluten-free, if you are looking for an option that won’t make you feel too bloated.  Third, they have a good dose of protein, which will fill you up for a few hours and keep you going through a tough practice, or give you a little pick-me-up snack after you’re done.

The other nice thing about these is that you can play around with the ingredients, using different flours and nuts and seeds to vary the flavor.  They offer a variety of options, and keep well in a baggie as a quick snack for any busy day.  You can add avocado or hummus, even toast them and try them with a tasty jam.

Super Power Chia Bread*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds*
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats, ground into a flour (or more oat flour)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. (I used a round glass pie dish, because I didn’t have a 9×9…and ended up adding a few extra minutes to the bake time)

2. Add rolled oats and buckwheat into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms.

3. Add all dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well until combined. Stir in the water until combined. The mixture will be very watery and runny at first, but it will thicken up fairly quick.  Scoop it into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary. Sprinkle the bread with Herbamare or fine grain sea salt before going into the oven.

4. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

5. This bread keeps for 2-3 days max – any longer and it gets gummy in texture. You can try freezing it…and toasting it straight from the freezer.

*Recipe from http://www.ohsheglows.com

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For the Last Minute…

I know a while ago I promised more ideas for my vegetarian and vegan friends; I’ve been trying to include recipes and options that are friendly to both carnivores and herbivores alike.  The truth is, a lot of folks who spend time recommending such things, recommend a plant-based diet as the answer to reducing the collateral damage we’ve done to our bodies over years of eating the “Standard American Diet” (or, appropriately enough, the SAD).

My personal opinion is that it is all, indeed, very personal.  What works for me might not work for you.  What I find delicious and nourishing might make you feel like caca.  So, I try to cover the gamut; a smoothie here, a breakfast there…maybe an energy bar to keep it real.

Speaking of which, I found in my cyber-travels a great recipe that is both quick and vegan.  Not just quick to eat, but quick to make and simple to boot.  The whole thing takes about 15 minutes, and that’s including the freezer time.

Last-Minute Energy Bars

1 c. rolled oats
1 c. brown rice crisp cereal
1/4 to 1/2 c. protein powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. brown rice syrup
1/2 c. sunflower seed butter
2 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips

–Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
–Mix the brown rice syrup and seed butter together in a medium bowl. Heat 45 seconds in the microwave and then add the vanilla.
–Add the wet mixture to the dry, and mix well. You might have to knead it.
–Using slightly wet fingers, press the mixture into a pan and roll out smooth. (You might want to line the pan with parchment paper.)
–Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and spread in a thin layer over the top.
–Freeze for 10 minutes, then cut into bars and store.

A few notes: You should look for a really mild protein powder to use; some of the powders can be really chalky, and that will show up in the flavor if you aren’t careful. Try some of the rice protein powders; they seem to have a less powerful flavor than whey or soy.

You can also use other nut butters if you choose; just be sure they are somewhat drippy. If they are of a more solid consistency, you will have to use more syrup, which is fine, too.

Honey can be used in place of the brown rice syrup; I actually used this because I didn’t have any brown rice syrup on hand. You could try agave nectar or maple syrup, but they might not bind as well.

You can also sprinkle sesame seeds or chia seeds on top before freezing…your choice!

Enjoy!