by CycleChick on May 18, 2012
You may find this hard to believe, but in between cocktails I am pretty particular about the kind of food I put into this well-oiled* machine I call my body. Nutrition is an important part of training, and lately I have become increasingly aware of the extra sugar and unnecessary crap that comes in most over-the-counter energy bars.
*100% potato chip oil
I am also consistently appalled at having to shell out ridiculous amounts of cash for energy bars – money that would be far better spent on life’s necessities, like carbon fiber bottle cages.
Over the winter, a top-secret lab at Cycle Chick Headquarters was transformed into a test kitchen for the purpose of trying out energy bar recipes garnered from sources far and wide. An army of dedicated soigneurs toiled tirelessly to find a recipe that was the perfect blend of tasty, nutritious, easy to make and portable. I guess they got sick of cleaning my jerseys with pockets full of melted chocolate.
Hey! You, in the fourth row – back to work!
I like this recipe for the taste and texture – not too sweet, dry or goopy. I also like the fact that it is extremely customizable with whatever you happen to have in the house – within reason of course. The soigneurs reluctantly agreed to share the recipe. They said it was so easy, even I could do it. Whatever.
2 cups of your choice of sweetener/binder:
(maple syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, or Blue Agave Syrup)4 cups large flake oats4 cups cereal of your choice (go nuts, but maybe stay away from Fruit Loops or Count Chocula)3-5 cups hippy fillers of your choice:
(eg. nuts, raisins, currants, coconut, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries – a handful of chocolate chips makes it feel a bit naughty)1 ½ cups all natural peanut butter (Natural, only because regular peanut butter has a bunch of added sugar and we’re trying to cut that shit out)3-5 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder (optional)
salt to taste
1) Put the sweetener and peanut butter into a saucepan. I’ve tried all of the sweeteners and have to say I like the brown rice syrup best. Until recently I didn’t know it existed, but like honey or maple syrup, it is a natural sweetener – unlike agave syrup or nectar, which, in spite of all its organic hippy claims, is a highly processed form of fructose.
Gross. You’d think that considering you just paid eight dollars for a jar of fucking peanut butter, the least they could do is stir it for you.
A good tip from the Gospel According to Martha: when you’re measuring out something sticky, give the measuring cup a good blast of non-stick spray first. Your soigneurs will thank you later when they have to do the dishes.2) Gently heat the mixture over medium heat, giving it a good stir once in a while so it doesn’t burn.You may be tempted to stop here and just eat this as is. Try to resist.
3) Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl – oatmeal, cereal, and your selected hippy fillers. I used a combination of muslix, puffed brown rice, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, raisins and flax seed.I bet your cholesterol dropped just looking at that picture. Feel free to experiment with adding other things. I used to chuck in a few scoops of chocolate whey protein, but my boobs did not get any bigger so I stopped.
4) Combine the hot sticky stuff with the dry hippy mixture. I do this right in the pan, which has also been given a healthy blast of non-stick spray.Start mixing them together with a wooden spoon, otherwise you will burn the shit out of your hands like I did. The soigneurs must have forgotten to warn me about that.
At some point you will need to switch to your hands to really get everything worked together. I won’t lie, this part is messy. Not as messy as cleaning your drive train in white leather pants – but certainly stickier.
5) Make it flat. Once everything is mashed together to your satisfaction, start to pat it firmly down into the pan with your hands. Get it as smooth as you can, then use a piece of wax paper to really get it flat. This part is hard because while cyclists have large, powerful legs, they have wimpy and underdeveloped arms, kind of like a tyrannosaurus rex. Rest often, or as needed.I have a small cutting board I use to finish the job.Voila! Nice and flat and even.6) Put the pan in the fridge for at least an hour or two to firm up. That’s just about enough time to do a hard interval workout, or perhaps give your legs a nice, close shave.7) Cut into squares. Since I usually make these at night, I leave them in the fridge until morning. Which is good, because cutting the chilled squares will once again tax your poor little t-rex arms and you’ll need the recovery time from #5 above.
If you cut them into 2 inch squares you should get 24. Each square has about 250 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. I have no idea how much they would cost, but I will assume they are less than the highway robbery of store bought bars. And you’ll know exactly what’s in them, even if it’s amaretto and cat food.
I wrap up each one in some wax paper and put them in a tupperware container. This way I can keep them in the freezer and grab them when I need them for pre or post ride or workout – or to shove in my jersey pocket for along the road.
The offspring like them too, probably because they don’t know they’re healthy. Keeping them frozen also ensures they don’t disappear too quickly, because they are hard as rock and completely inedible until at least partially thawed.
So there you have it. Cycle Chick’s Healthy Homemade Hippy bars. Give them a try, I’ve even made a handy PDF version of the recipe you can download here: