Month: October 2013

White Bean, Kale + Smoked Paprika Stew (GF + Vegan)

smoked paprika stewThe clocks have gone forward so it’s officially time to eat hearty stews (it’s always OK to eat big stews in my opinion)…….like this warming Spanish white bean, kale + smoked paprika one pot wonder. I’m going to do you a favour now cos I’m feeling nice. Here goes – if you don’t already have this smoked paprika in your life then get involved…….immediately.Smoked paprika

It’s Spanish, it’s sweet, it’s smokey, it’s rich, it’s burnt red, it’s magical, like in a transform a mediocre dish kinda way. And it’s just a spice so try it out for an authentic Spanish tasty addition to your fav meals. This sweet variety is not at all spicy but you can buy a hotter version also, cunningly called ‘hot smoked paprika’ – be careful which one you pick up! Smoked paprika is great in stews, in stir fried spanish style rice, dips, sprinkled over potato wedges, stirred into casseroles, in pasta sauce…………yep, La Chinata may turn into your new best friend.A big pot of smoked paprika stew

This white bean, kale + smoked paprika stew is a feel good eat, packed full of flavour, warming, nourishing -hugging you from the inside out……ahhh bless. It’s super versatile so add your favourite veggies and preferred white beans. I would suggest haricot or cannellini to anyone who’s not keen on pulses as they’re no different to the ones in a can of heinz…..this will be a lot tastier though, naturally!process

This white bean, kale + smoked paprika stew really does care a lot, with it’s 6 servings of vegetables per portion and warming smokey tones – it really is the stew that just keeps giving.

Served with socca (of course) but rice, breads or potatoes would be  nice.Smoked paprika stew + socca

White bean, kale + smoked paprika stew

(serves 2)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup butternut squash, cubed
1 tablespoon sun dried tomato paste
1 can chopped tomatoes + 1 can water
1 teaspoon each of dried thyme + smoked paprika
2 large handfuls kale, torn into small pieces
250 grams white beans (haricot, cannellini, butter or chick peas)

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a large pan + gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots, pepper + squash for 10 minutes until fragrant + softened.
2. Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, water, thyme + smoked paprika. Stir + simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add the beans, kale + season to taste. Continue cooking for a further 15 until the beans begin to soften + break down.
4. Serve immediately with warm bread or baked sweet potatoes.

 

Miso + Lime Rainbow Salad (Vegan)

miso saladBig deal, yeah I know it’s only a salad and that’s just it, a salad can be just a plain old salad or it can be a taste extravaganza with multiple layers crammed with texture, colour and a nutrient density through the roof. That’s this one here. A plant based salad in all it’s raw glory, bursting with goodness.

Why oh why is salad often so redundant on the dinner table, an afterthought or something that people feel they should have to add a little colour to the meal. Let’s put a little love and affection into our salads, each and every one.

I hate to see salad as a sad side lined side. This is wrong. And why oh why is salad often seen as freaky boring health food? This is wrong too. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Never. These two salads make a right. Two salads for me......

Salad must be pretty special as it’s the one thing I crave when I’ve been deprived of freshness for a few days, often when travelling. Times when I’ve felt a little sluggish and in need of fresh, raw and nutrient dense food. and it’s always salad I want and need to make me feel alive and healthy again. It’s a huge vibrant bowl of health I crave to offset the white and brown food induced coma that extended travel at times brings! What about a salad buffet…….who doesn’t love a salad buffet? I gotta say my salad building skills are pretty impressive, I’ve even had compliments on my salad engineering before! Well, where there’s salad love, there’s always a salad way. Four words for you: ‘Whole Foods’ salad bar…….enough said. DSC_8196

I do love a good dressing and there’s something about miso paste with it’s rich, salty, earthy flavours. I always roast my seeds, you should definitely too, you wont recognise them, honestly. I always add avocado because they are the best fruit in the world, end of. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate their amazingness……….j’adore. Yummy avocado

It’s so wise to make a huge bowl and keep it in the fridge, easy to dip into and the lime and miso combination will infuse and deepen the flavours further. This is super handy for a lunchtime meal or as a side to some delicious noodles or stir fried rice or stuffed into a soft tortilla wrap and drowned in cashew cream.. Yep, I’m the first to admit this could be neater, more symmetrical avocado pieces but you know what, it’s chopped and it’s really very delicious. Don’t be so superficial, wink wink. You just know that you’ll feel amazing after eating this, it’s bursting at the seems with pure plant giving energy. Yum. Miso + lime salad

Let this be a reminder to us all, never to sell salad short but rather put some love and affection into our next salad creation. It’s so easy, grab a handful of each ingredient, mix it up, pour over dressing, mix it up more, leave it alone for 5 and dress it up!

Salad rocks. A not so boring salad

Miso + lime rainbow salad

(serves 2)

1/2 white cabbage, sliced
1/2 lettuce, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
1 red chili, deseeded + finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 inch piece of cucumber, cut into strips
small handfull fresh sweetcorn
coriander, chopped finely
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

dress it up:
1 avocado, chopped into squares
1 teaspoon miso paste
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Throw all the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Mix the miso, lime + sesame oil together + pour over the salad. Mix thoroughly + leave to infuse for 20-30 minutes.
2. Top with pumpkin seeds + avocado. Eat it all or share it with another.

 

Spiced Pumpkin + Pecan Spelt Bread (Vegan)

pecan & pumpkin loafI’ve decided autumn is definitely my favourite season, the weather, the colours, well everything really – just so beautiful. If I could pause weather, cos I often daydream about this (but that would be too cool), I would pause it on a perfect autumn day – blue sky, crisp air, warm coloured vibrant leaves and comfortable outside temperatures. Perfect. Oh, and the food’s good too, I’m loving all the seasonal veggies at the mo especially the pumpkin explosion.Delicious pumpkin + pecan loaf

It really is all about the pumpkin in October which is OK with me because it’s easily my favourite vegetable after all. I love the fact that this delicious veggie can be dinner or breakfast, sweet and savoury. It’s too impressive, well in vegetable terms of impressiveness that is. Such a good job there’s sooo many pumpkins around at the moment cos I’m going to be making a lot of squash based recipes over the next few weeks, recipes like this vegan spiced pumpkin spelt bread.process 2

I’m not sure if this is pumpkin bread as it’s definitely walking the cake line so we could say it’s a kinda hybrid. Anyway, take 5 minutes out to throw this together and you’ll be rewarded with a lightly sweetened, moist, warmly spiced and very moreish loaf cake.Sliced pumpkin + pecan bread

This was made early saturday morning ready for my Mum and Sis coming round for our group hair cut. My Mum was pulling my leg the other day……saying she sees all this food on the blog which doesn’t quite make it over to her! Ooops, sorry love!Pumpkin + pecan spelt bread

Anyway, we ate it all……..well it wasn’t hard and got our hair cut too. Freshly baked pumpkin bread and a fresh haircut = a good way to spend saturday morning.

Hope you had a pumpkin packed weekend!
Pumpkin + pecan bread

Spiced pumpkin spelt bread

(12 slices)

dry:

1 + 1/4 cups spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda + 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg + ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup crushed pecans/walnuts

wet:

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175ºC  + grease a small loaf tin. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients until combined thoroughly.
2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mixture and combine thoroughly.
3. Transfer to the loaf tin + bake for 50-60 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven + allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Kale, Apple, Raspberry + Goji Green Smoothie

kale & goji smoothieThe power of the green smoothie. After a few instagram postings of my super green smoothies, I now have my Mum making them and dishing them out to anyone that wants them (yep, my 86 year old grandmother!). Proud much.Drink your greens!

I’ve promised myself to keep up my green smoothie habit so the Vitamix is getting a bit of a beating these days. Plus, I’m getting pretty experimental with my concoctions, some of them not as nice as others. I really like this kale, apple, raspberry + goji smoothie so thought it best to share it as inspiration to get creative and make your own.

I pretty much use kale as the main green in my ‘green’ smoothie and for good reason. At the end of the day, it really is all about the kale. I still can’t get over this: 1 cup has 1327% of our daily vitamin K needs. Woah. But in case you were interested in some more in depth reasoning of why you need kale in your life, just check these ten reasons out.  But, but but, kale per calorie has more calcium than milk. Hallelujah. See, kale really is everybody’s friend. Not milk, milk is never your friend. Raspberry, kale, apple + goji smoothie

I’ve never been a massive fan of goji berries, I like ’em just don’t love ’em but I must admit they do have some redeeming features. Chewy, tangy and sweet, they give this smoothie a nice flavour and texture as well as a ramp up on the nutritional front. Like many berries, goji’s have very powerful antioxidant properties and excellent levels of vitamin A, so a great choice to throw into your morning smoothie and pretty tasty on their own as a chewy snack.Blend those greens!Blend it up!

Apple is probably my favourite fruit to throw into a green smoothie as not only does it increase the nutrient density, it makes it richer in fibre and gives a huge whack of juicy sweetness. Yum. I like this smoothie for the light snack that it is but if you wanted to make it more substantial a nut butter, hemp, flax or chia seeds would be great additions. Have your smoothie your way, of course.

What’s your favourite smoothie addition?Drink your greens!

Kale, apple, raspberry + goji berry smoothie

(serves 2)

2 handfuls fresh kale
1 apple, chopped
1 cup raspberries
1/3 cup goji berries
1 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
6 ice cubes

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Socca – One ingredient Grain Free Bread (GF + Vegan)

Socca breadSimple is my new thing.

I’m pretty good at making things more difficult than they need to be, blindly overlooking all short cuts and getting knee deep with the complex stuff. So naturally i’m loving simple, yet rewarding recipes and this socca recipe is right down with this simplicity stuff. ONE ingredient, really, just the ONE. By the way, I’m not counting the water and the salt – I hope you think that’s fair. Oh, and coconut oil too, these extras don’t count, surely.Socca

The one ingredient is gram, garbanzo, chick pea flour – whatever name floats your boat. I like chick pea flour because I’m from the UK and this is what we say. I’ve always perused the bean flours in my local indian supermarket and thought about finding out more about it but never really got around to it. So after some serious googling I found that it’s not just indian cuisine that favours this flour. Chick pea flour is used to make Socca which originates from France and Italy and sold in pizzeries and bakeries throughout. It’s usually cooked in a tin baking pan with olive oil and eaten hot from the oven. In my opinion, this is the best way but I have enjoyed it cold several times. It’s pretty versatile too and i’m certain you could create some seriously delicious flavour combinations. I’m thinking chocolate already………pumpkin maybe?Just one ingredient bread

Anyway, since making this I’m perplexed by a couple of things. Firstly, why have I not come across socca on trips to Italy and France, ever? I’m pretty offended as I was only in France last week and I didn’t see any socca……anywhere. My second trouble is, why don’t more people love the chickpeas? I mean, chickpea curry, falafel, cookie butter, pupadums, delicious dips, chocolate chip chick pea bites and now socca. Where would we be without chick peas? They get a bit of a bad rap and people assume if you eat a lot of chick peas you’re a barefoot, tie dye, free loving hippie, well maybe not but you do know what I mean right? They also have a reputation for producing excess gas……my advice here is to eat beans and lentils such as chick peas more regularly, always chew well and your digestion will soon thank you for eating them.  They’re tasty, healthy with impressive versatility and don’t deserve the bad rap they get! Love ’em.Simple socca

Let’s all get some more chick peas in our lives…..they’re seriously cheap and full of health so you just know I wanna sell chick peas a little more to you. Well OK……….

fibre rich so fantastic for digestive support
scientifically proven to increase satiety and decrease calorie intake
blood sugar regulation
unique supply of antioxidants
lowers cardiovascular risks

So, the take home message is………eat more chick peas and why not start with this simple bread. You cannot go wrong with this recipe and it’s great to experiment with, I often make this soft and bendy and other times I prefer a crisp and snappy socca! I usually bake it in a 12″ square baking dish but by using a smaller dish you can achieve a thicker softer bread and for a crispier version just use a bigger dish or less socca batter. I like to use the same ratio of water and flour but I’ve tried it with more water which works great too for a less dense lighter version.Socca pre slicing

Either way, enjoy this gluten, dairy and grain free bread on it’s own, with a hearty stew, some smoked black beans, topped with peanut butter or humous or used for a simple socca sandwich. I like it with a little cookie butter smeared on top…..a double whammy of chick pea love. It’s the perfect carrier for other flavours so get creative and add your favourite herbs or veggies.

What’s your simple 1 or 2 ingredient go to recipe?

Socca + cookie butter

socca

1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons coconut oil

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 ºC. Place coconut oil in a baking dish + put in the oven to melt.
2. Combine the socca ingredients to form a smooth batter. Leave to sit for 5 minutes to thicken.
3. Remove hot dish from the oven with the melted oil + pour in the batter. Place back in the oven + bake for 30 minutes.
4. Remove  from the oven+ flip the socca. Return to for a further 5-10 minutes or grill on high for 2 minutes for a crispier version.

 

 

Guilt Free Cookie Dough Butter (GF + Vegan)

Guilt Free Cookie Dough ButterBetter than peanut butter, chocolate spread, shop bought cookie dough…actually I don’t think you can buy raw cookie dough in the UK? If you can, it’s definitely better than this. I know this because its flies through the ‘can you eat it straight from the jar’ test.Cookie dough butter!

Whatever, this is a continuation of my sweet chick pea lovin’. I’ve been making little chick pea chocolate cookie bites and I usually end up eating half the ‘raw’ dough before I’ve made them……and then it dawned on me. I couldn’t believe how blind i’ve been – why the hell did I not make this guilt free cookie dough butter sooner?Cookie dough process.....

I hate words like ‘guilt free’ because I don’t think we should let guilt interfere with our enjoyment of food but let’s face it, it does all too often. So calling these ‘guilt free’ is just a way of conveying that this cookie dough butter is unprocessed, low in sugar, protein rich, has zero bad fats but more a big bowl of healthy. It’s hard not to eat the whole jar, I did urge Russ to take half to work to get it out of my reach….he forgot and I finished it….all of it. So delicious, it’s equally dangerous to prepare especially when spooning it into the jar, near impossible to do this without eating some. I’m just trying to tell you how good this is….and good for us, thank the lord it’s good for us. So happy that food like this is healthy cos it sure as hell don’t taste like it.Cookie dough butter

Add a little more or less milk for your desired consistency, I like mine quite thick but a little looser works well poured over ice cream – whatever floats your boat really.

Butter, a dip, dolloped in your morning oats, on cereal or yep…..straight up out of the jar, whatever.

Is it wrong to wanna dip a cookie in this cookie dough butter……I think I’ve answered my own question……no of course not. Enjoy.Cookie dough butter

Guilt Free Cookie Dough Dip

250 grams drained + rinsed chick peas
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla essence
4 tablespoons maple syrup or 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
1/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free)

1. Place all the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Stir through the chocolate chips and transfer to a glass jar ready to dip your spoon into.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container and use within 7 days.

Adapted from ‘Healthy cookie dough dip……..the famous recipe’. 

The Healthiest ‘Cup’ Cake Ever (Gluten Free + Low Carb)

A cake to celebrate!Cake in a mug

Life’s too short not to eat cake. I whole heartedly agree but life’s also too short to eat over processed junk and be unhealthy, sick and unhappy. And there really is no need to be, not when you can actually have your cake and eat it. This healthy coconut, cranberry + dark chocolate mug cake is a nutritious, protein rich, gluten free, low carb, sweet and nutty cake served mug style.

Oh, and it’s delicious, I mean really delicious. It’s the kind of deliciousness where I wish I was eating it, like all of the time. It’s in a mug, there’s a microwave involved so you know that this is minimal on the washing up and pretty quick too. I love baking with coconut flour as its gluten free and high in fibre and lauric acid which is essential for a healthy immune system, great skin and optimal thyroid function.Mug cake in a bowl

The healthiest ‘cup’ cake ever is flavoured with extra coconut, cranberries and dark chocolate purely because I believe this is a perfect combination and essential for my peace of mind! It works, take my word for it, no don’t do that, make it and see for yourself! Any variety of dried fruit, chocolate chips and nuts would work so this is great for adapting to suit your mood or the contents of your kitchen cupboard. I used coconut flour purely because I really do love it and it’s grain free but any flour would work well, as long as a cake batter consistency is achieved. Mug cake = easy

I eat this as part of my lunch when I fancy something a little sweeter, sometimes breakfast and often an afternoon or evening snack. Oh OK, I eat it whenever, because it really is that good, and healthy too, it’s definitely that.

See if you can get it out of the mug without breaking it in half like me – it’s hit and miss! Just grab a mug and have your cake and eat it, a healthy cake at that. Mug cake

Healthy coconut, cranberry + dark chocolate mug cake

(serves just you)

1 heaping tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon dessicated coconut
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup coconut milk (or nut milk of choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon maple syrup
sprinkle of cranberries + chocolate chips (dairy free)

Combine the dry ingredients in a mug + stir thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients and mix to fully combine. Stir through the cranberries + chocolate chips. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Eat from the mug or transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with extra sweetener. Maple syrup is good.

Healthy Black Bean Chocolate Fudge Brownies (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Black bean fudge brownie stack!Because black beans are not just for tacos!

If there’s one bean I favour it’s the little old black bean and I just love everything about them.  I’ve been blind to their amazing versatility as I usually just throw them in a Mexican stew or a big avocado salad, so I was pretty excited to combine my black bean love with my equal adoration of cocoa. I’m thinking, dark, chocolatey, fudge-like, gooey, crumbly at the sides and soft in the middle. I was right, this is exactly how they are…..were.Two black bean brownies......

Traditionally, chocolate fudge brownies are chock a block with bad fats, white sugar, digestive clogging gluten and dirty dairy but these are the perfect example of how something which really is ultra healthy can still be delicious. Let’s change all that, there really is no need to go without or crave junk when chocolate fudge brownies like this are knocking about. That’s good information to have. Make them and see for yourself, don’t take my word for it. If you don’t make them, please do take my word for it!Simple process

To achieve a fudgey brownie like texture I used agave rather than brown sugar and dotted each brownie with dark chocolate chips and pecan pieces for a richer more decadent treat. Scrap that, they’re hardly a treat with an ingredient list like this, more an everyday necessity. The black beans, chia, coconut oil and cocoa make this chocolate brownie a shining example of wholesome goodness brimming with health attributes, a brownie that kicks plant butt and makes you feel better than OK. Oh and don’t worry about eating the raw brownie batter straight off the spoon……it’s all plants so get stuck in. Just as good uncooked?

So, here’s the black bean brownie lowdown:

grain free
dairy free
gluten free
iron rich
high fibre
good source of protein
so delicious

Please try these! Black bean chocolate brownies

Healthy black bean chocolate fudge brownies

(makes 12)

2 tablespoons chia seed soaked in  6 tablespoons of water
230 gram black beans (drained weight)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons almond milk
pecans + chocolate chips to dress

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Add the chia egg to your blender  or food processor + blitz for 30 seconds. Next add the remaining ingredients apart from pecans + chocolate chips + pulse until a smooth batter is achieved. The ideal consistency should be quite hard to pour but not as thick as frosting. Add more milk/water if it is too thick.
2. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the tin + dress with nuts + chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 25-3o minutes. They are ready when the outside of the muffin has come away slightly from the sides of the tin but some softness in the middle.
3. Allow to cool fully before loosening the edges with a fork to remove. They are pretty delicate so handle with care.

Note: The chia seeds can be replaced by 1 egg for a non vegan version. The agave syrup can be replaced by brown rice syrup, honey (non vegan), maple syrup or 1/4 cup regular sugar.

Adapted from Minimalist Baker.

Healthy Dark Chocolate + Salted Peanut Butter Cups (GF + Vegan)

Chocolate + PB cup stackHave your peanut butter cup and eat it, in fact eat two! No guilt required, ever.

I loved Reese’s peanut butter cups when I was a kiddo, definitely one of my favourite chocolate treats growing up. Probably because they are a little bit delicious and I’ve had a love affair with peanut butter my whole life but more so, they weren’t as widely available as they are now. I remember my uncle bringing a suitcase load when he visited from the states, well these amongst many other US candy bars. Pretty exciting times for an 11 year old. The funny thing is now that these are pretty standard in the UK, i’m not fussed about them at all! Just goes to show, when you can’t have something it makes you want it that much more! However, I reckon I’d be pretty bothered by some unprocessed and plant powered PB dark chocolate cup cakes like these bad boys. Chocolate PB Cup

Well it’s the done thing to develop a taste for darker chocolate as you grow older and I have definitely done this! These dark chocolate + PB cup cakes are made with raw cocoa powder, coconut oil and natural sweetener. Unadulterated dark chocolate is a pure superfood and NOT terrible for you, at all…..prayers answered. The fact that we add so much rubbish to the amazing cocoa is a darn shame because this IS bad for us but real chocolate is in no way sinful, but more a healthy indulgent treat. Chocolate seems to come arm in arm with guilt but not for me, thank goodness.

Naturally, these healthy dark chocolate salted PB cups have ‘real’ peanut butter inside, you know – the 100% peanut stuff.  I had to add s a little salt in the PB mix as I’m too in love with the sweet and salty combo. A little nutritional yeast gives the cups a more nutty Reese’s like taste and made the PB mix a little drier, perfect for implanting the dark chocolate. Very simple process!

These truly are a superfood of sorts – cocoa and coconut oil with a slab of peanut butter in the middle. Come on, these are good for you so ditch the guilt and get stuck in. Super quick to make and a pleasure to eat, heavenly really.

What was your favourite childhood chocolate bar?Chocolate PB Cups

Healthy dark chocolate + salted peanut butter cups

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sweetener
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Method:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small pan over a low heat. Once melted stir through the remaining ingredients until a smooth in consistency.
2. Spoon a tablespoon of the chocolate into 8-10 silicone moulds and freeze for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile combine the peanut butter filling ingredients and set aside.
4. Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer. With a teaspoon of the peanut butter mix form a small flat disc and place on top of the set chocolate. Spoon over remaining dark chocolate and freeze until set.
5. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in the freezer for a much longer shelf life.

Chia + Corn Bars (GF + Vegan)

Because runner’s need fuel.Corn + chia energy bars

We live on a canal, well more on the edge of a canal, on land, not actually in it…..and I love to sit outside just watching and listening to life over on the other side. The footpath across the water is pretty busy and these days the majority of traffic seems to be runners. I reckon a runner flies past every 5 minutes, some huffing and puffing, others lightly gliding and many in groups chatting loudly. I love watching and whenever I see them I alway get a pang of jealousy that it’s not me running along, even if I’ve ran that day! Is this weird? I thought this was a normal feeling that all runner’s experience! I just truly love running, actually we have a love and hate relationship but there’s way more loving than hating.Corn + chia bars with PB + banana!

So these simple corn and chia based bars are a celebration of my morning jog in the form of a pre-run energy boost. Because…….apparently, chia will boost my performance so naturally I’m in. I believe anything plant based will increase both performance and recovery but I do love a good theory and there does seem to be some interesting chia data out there. So, chia seeds = faster running, increased stamina+ quicker recovery times. Good job I love these little treasures.Sliced corn + chia bars

I first read about the running and chia connection in the book ‘Born to Run‘, which runner or not is a fascinating insight into the Tarahumara tribe and the powerful effects of food on performance, specifically chia seeds – a runner’s good friend. The Tarahumara people from northwestern part of Mexico are famous for their impressive  long distance running abilities and chia seeds mainly in a liquid form formed a significant part of their diets. To me this is bigger than ‘running and chia seeds’ but highlights more generally just how powerful food can be and what a radical effect it can have on our performance and day to day wellbeing. It was ‘Born to Run’ that first spiked my interest in chia and how plant food in general could in fact help me perform better – aka, a sub 3 marathon. Shame this was after I’d run a couple of marathons…….but now i’m kinda tempted to run another as part of my plant food effects on running performance curiosity. An experiment of sorts.

Easy process for corn + chia bars

Well maybe but  you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy some good, clean plant powered snackage so in the meantime i’ll enjoy these gluten free, dairy free, chia studded energy bars inspired by No Meat Athlete’s pinole recipe. They have a soft and bendy texture that and holds together well in a chia + corn bar sandwich, definitely good snacking material for when you’re on the go.

Chia + corn bars are the perfect canvas for nut butters, jams, fruit or dipped in sticky syrup. Great as post or pre workout fuel for some light but nutritious energy.

What’s your workout fuel of choice?Corn + chia bar sarnie!

Chia + corn bars

1 cup organic corn meal
1/3 cup chia seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons maple syrup /agave
Water (enough to create an oatmeal consistency)

1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Toast the cornmeal for 10 minutes until fragrant. Combine with the chia, salt, cinnamon and maple syrup. Add the water until an oatmeal consistency is achieved.
2. Pour into a greased 8″ x 12″ baking tin and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Slice and store for up to a week. Top with copious amounts of nut butter.

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