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Sunday Bake Series – Granola Bars

4 Nov

I feel I have been neglecting my Bake Series as well as my conviction against buying and eating processed food. I’ve been working so much that when I do my groceries I really do not feel like going home and preparing some kind of homemade snack. So I’ve had this obsession for ClifBar granola bars. ClifBars make energy/protein bars that use mostly natural ingredients but I would prefer to have made my own in the end.

This morning is the perfect Sunday for baking. Mark is starting night shift tonight so he was up all night so he can sleep during the day. I woke up extra early because of the time change – which I don’t mind. I thought it was 7am, but it was actually 6. So what a great day to make some homemade granola bars to bring to work as a snack?!

Ingredients

  1. 1/4 cup oil
  2. 2 cups oats
  3. 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  4. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 1/2 cup honey
  6. 1 tsp flaxseed
  7. 1/3 cup chopped almonds, cranberries, and any other nut/dried fruit you like (each)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F, mix oil and oats. Roast oats in oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients.
  3. When oats are roasted, lower oven to 350F. Mix in oats to the rest of ingredients. Stir until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes.

Unfortunately they are not as crispy as I would have liked, but they will do for this week.

I have a weak spot for historical fiction. Last week I finished The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon. I had previously read her last book The Golden Mean and in 2010 spent a week in Athens with the author and a group of 30 odd people from university. I was so surprised when I saw this in her acknowledgement:

I was really not expecting to receive that acknowledgment. It’s funny because I almost didn’t visit the Lyceum – it was an optional evening tour. I remember it was our first day in Athens, I was exhausted but riding a great travel high. My roommate Anna convinced me to come on the walk and I’m glad I did. We snuck into the archeological grounds. It was a recent find which meant no signage so no tourists were interested in it. We snuck into someone’s back yard and climbed a fence to get in. But it was worth it. We were walking around Aristotle’s Lyceum. Here is the group of trespassers back in 2010:

Annabel Lyon is second from the left. I am farthest on the right with my eyes closed… That Greek sun is bright!

Finally I want to send a shout out to Natalie. She is running her first marathon in Hamilton today. I wish her all the best of luck!

Sunday Bake Series: Chocolate Chip Zucchini loaf

1 Oct

Ok, I promise that I will not only be posting once a week with Sunday Bake Series posts. I’ve just been in a slump for the past week over an injury that will not heal this close to the marathon. I don’t even know what the injury is to take the proper precautions towards healing it. It’s in a bizarre spot: the tendon on the inside part right behind my knee. I think I talked about it last week. Well, it’s the same one. I’ve resorted to swimming so I can keep up my aerobic capacity. I swim over 2kms a day and pray that my leg will heal in one week. I would like to get one more 25km run in before the 21st of October. My last big run was 33km on September 14th. I can’t have over 4 weeks off before a marathon and I’m afraid that running just won’t cut it. I know the day after the marathon will hurt because my muscles will not be as prepare as I would have wanted them to be.

Also, not running the marathon is not an option. I’ve put too much time and sacrifice into this that I will not back out now. Despite this crummy situation, I am still determined!

This week I made a chocolate chip zucchini loaf and it was sooo good! Mark was skeptical about the zucchini but found himself pleasantly surprised! I was glad he liked it – just goes to show that you can get your dose of vegetables in any form. I took this recipe from LooneySpoons.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and cinnamon (each)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups packed, grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In one bowl, combine both flours, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon.
  3. In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs, apple cause, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir in zucchini and mix until everything is moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Spread batter evenly and bake for 50 minutes. I recommend using two smaller loaf pans for this recipe. Otherwise it will take close to an 1hr 30minutes and you will have 1 BIG loaf –  which is what I did without realizing.

October’s goals are: heal my knee, complete my marathon and have fun doing it, and post more!

 

Sunday bake series: Baked nectarines

23 Sep

I took the day off from running and actually had a great day all by myself. Mark was at work so I was free to do things at my own pace. I walked around the farmer’s market, watched a movie and had a whole afternoon of cooking. I made a sweet potato soup, roasted vegetable tart and, for dessert: baked nectarines.

(That blob in the middle is yogurt that was engulfed by the soup)

These baked nectarines are super easy and can be made with peaches too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 nectarines
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1 egg white
  • handful-ish of sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Cut nectarines in half, removing the pit. Place halves in a baking dish, drizzle with honey and some water. Bake at 425F for 30min.
  2. Mix oats, cinnamon, egg white, and almonds in a small ramekin.
  3. When nectarines are baked, place oat mixture in oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Place a spoonful of oat mixture on the nectarine, drizzle with extra honey if desired and serve.

It’s so easy and kind of a healthy-ish dessert.

This weekend was the town’s annual fall fair so Mark and I checked it out. We rode the ferris wheel and were amazed by the farm animals – we’re such city folk. One work horse in particular was very pretty. Mark snapped a photo of her and it almost seems as though she is smiling.

We sat through the end of the truck pulling competition. Mark wanted to see the demolition derby but the country girl inside me has limits.

Now it’s time to enjoy a beautiful, sunny Sunday.

Sunday Bake Series – Oatmeal Banana Bread

10 Sep

While I’ve been away for the last two weeks I really had to continue with my bake series. But I have an excuse for not fulfilling my blogging duty yesterday: I was exhausted from a 30km run. I normally do my long runs on Saturday but when I woke up that morning it was pouring rain. There was no way I was going out for a 3hr run in the rain. Now this wasn’t just a drizzle, it was big ol’ fat rain and lots of it. So I decided that I would have to switch my run to Sunday.

While it was a good run, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it. My last two weeks haven’t been completely faithful to my mileage due to travel. But I did try to run every day and that was pretty successful at completing various distances. Anyway, my body did pretty good for its first 30km. However, by about 23km my hip was really sore. I stopped running to take my gel and when I re-started to run, it was reduced to a limpy run while I got back into a groove my hip was comfortable with. I struggled with it, it disappeared for a bit and when I got closer to home the pain came back. My muscles and aerobic capacity was not a problem throughout the run which gave me a big amount of confidence. Now, I just have to nurture this hip. I’m going to swim at noon before work for some low impact exercise.

For today’s baking I made a loaf of banana bread from a recipe I got from Sarah Cupcake. I’m trying to free up space in the freezer and fridge by using left overs and all our produce. I’ve noticed lately that we’re wasting some food and I want to stop that. Last night we made Veggie Soup with all kinds of veggies. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can put in any kind of vegetable.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 large bananas, ripe
3 tsp canola or walnut  oil
1 large egg
2 medium egg whites

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″x5″ loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil, egg and egg whites and mix thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.

Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes.

Sunday bake series: Citrus raisin scones

19 Aug

I’ve decided to start a series of posts called the “Sunday bake series.” I do most of my baking on Sunday to prepare for a week of lunch snacks. So I’d like to share those recipes and ideas with you. The first installment of the series will be a bit different from what I envision because I actually did my baking yesterday (for company) and we only need snacks for a few days as we leave Wednesday for B.C.

Yesterday, a family friend of Mark’s visited our new apartment. It was my first time meeting him so I wanted to make a good impression. So, of course, I baked! I made scones to pair with tea or coffee and they turned out absolutely fantastic.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp of lemon or orange zest (I used lemon)
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour (I mixed half with all purpose and half whole wheat)
  • 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1/3 cup of plain yogurt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 raisins or currants

Directions:

  1. Mix sugar and lemon/orange zest. Keep 1 tbsp aside.
  2. Mix sugar mixture with flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. Cut in butter. Stir in yogurt, egg whites and raisins/currants until you can form a dough ball.
  4. Knead dough on lightly floured surface.
  5. Place dough on un-greased cookie sheet and pat into 8″ circle.
  6. Cut into 12 wedges before baking.
  7. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar/zest mixture.
  8. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes.

Don’t they look delish?!

In other news, training is going very well. I had an other 26km run yesterday and it instilled a lot of confidence. It was a little windy so that made the run a bit of a battle but I beat last week’s time by a few minutes and I didn’t walk as much. My knees also felt a lot better and didn’t slow me down as they did last weekend. One of my toe nails is discoloured, however. I had developed a blister under the nail about 2 weeks ago and now it’s purple. I’m not sure if it’s getting ready to fall off or what… It doesn’t hurt, it’s just really bizarre.

This week is going to be a little hectic. I leave for Ottawa Tuesday afternoon to attend a meeting on Wednesday. Mark will be meeting me in Ottawa Wednesday evening and we fly out to B.C. Thursday. I also have to find time to go on a few runs during the week so I don’t die on my 28km run on Saturday in Penticton.

I will be updated the blog while in B.C. but there won’t be a Sunday bake series post next week. On the other hand, there will be an Ironman race report to look forward to from Mark.