Here in California, spring is in full swing, which means that weekends are filling up with big training rides, runs, and adventures in preparation for summer efforts and events. I‚Äôm sure that all of you athletes around the country can say the same! With that ramp up in training hopefully comes a welcome hunger ‚Äì for performing at your best, which requires fueling your body properly, with ingredients that taste good and work WELL for you!
A couple of weekends ago, I had the pleasure of riding with a team of 6 women in the second annual Rapha Women‚Äôs Prestige here in San Francisco; an unsupported, unsanctioned, 123-mile tough-gals road race complete with 13,000 feet of elevation gain, off-road sections, and a myriad of weather conditions. The biggest challenge? We would need to tackle each obstacle, each element of the course as a team and cross the finish line together and without the help of all of those amazing significant others, friends, and loved ones that had gathered along the route to cheer us on. We received the details of the course on Tuesday (previously undisclosed) and by Wednesday morning all six of my team members and I were engaged in a full-fledged conversation about what we would EAT along the ride and how we would carry it. We figured that we‚Äôd be out there for 8+ hours at our best, and that‚Äôs a long time to be eating gel, or other endurance products. On race morning, one teammate brought sweet potatoes, another a case full of her favorite energy bars, blocks and gels. I pulled out a batch of these power-packed ‚ÄúPeanut Butter Beast Bars‚Äù as I like to call them, which have quickly been receiving acclaim in my riding and training circles so that we could enjoy a little food-that-looks-like-food along the way as well. Frankly, we didn‚Äôt even touch those energy bars and instead managed to house a whole pan of these instead. AND, we took third place that day. A delicious way to start the season!
This wasn‚Äôt the first time I‚Äôd whipped out this recipe; a few years back, when Ironman training and its hunger were bringing me to my knees each day at 2:45pm, I created this recipe as a quick afternoon snack, and one that I could wrap up individually and take with me wherever I was running/riding/traveling. The oats, peanut butter and a little bit of honey prove to be well balanced, tasty fuel whether you‚Äôre eating them for breakfast, on a ride, or as a recovery snack. I hope that you enjoy them as much as we did most recently!
The ingredients are simple and might already be in your pantry, and the actual preparation couldn‚Äôt be easier. I like to whip up a batch on a Thursday night in preparation for weekend activities and the batch will last me through most of the week (that is, unless I invite friends to share my stash.) You could experiment with other nut butters and fruits to your liking here ‚Äì make it a snack that sings to your cravings and fuels your ride. Train well, eat well out there!
Peanut Butter Beast Bars
1/4 cup unsweetened big flake coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds (or other toasted nuts)
1/2 cup raisins (or cranberries, blueberries or cherries)
2 cups quick oats
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup creamy roasted peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lightly grease an 8√ó8 inch baking pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sunflower seeds, nuts, raisins, oats and puffed rice. Set aside.
In a microwave-proof bowl, or a small sauce pan, gently warm the syrup, honey and the peanut butter. (About 2 minutes in the microwave.) Once the honey/peanut butter mixture is warm, stir until rather smooth and homogenous. Add the vanilla.
Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until all of the dry ingredients are well coated. Next, press the mixture into the prepared pan with the back of a spatula. Coat with waxed paper and let cool completely in the refrigerator. Once cool, slice, wrap individually and eat eat eat!