Quest for Energy

Originally posted 09.07.2016

My walking group and I decided to switch up our Saturday morning walk and began cycling instead.  It had been years since I had ridden much, yet it was a bit of surprise to learn that my body took longer to adapt again to this activity!  This in itself has been an exercise of mindfulness to move past the discomfort, trusting that my body to adjust and for the muscle memory to return.

To beat the summer heat, we start at 7 a.m. in the morning.  All great…. except that I discovered, I needed more energy before and during the rides.  Back to my old quest to make my own power bars.  The guiding criteria being easy to package and carry, reasonable cost, quick to make,tasty, and clean ingredients.

There is something about working with nuts and oats that is fulfilling.  I can feel myself become more focused and relaxed as I go about measuring the ingredients, processing the nuts and stirring it all together.  When I am extra conscious, I can drop into my yoga mindset and breathing as I work.

I feel content knowing I have bags of these clusters at hand to grab as I head out the door to meet my friends for 7 a.m.

Granola Clusters

Tools

  • Food Processor
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Cookie Sheet – large, rimmed
  • Parchment Paper
  • Sandwich sized ziplock bags

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces or pistachio nuts or pecans
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup dates
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin/pepita seeds
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup tahini

Preheat your oven to 275F.  Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Process ½ cup of the whole almonds in the food processor until you have a fine meal (similar to the texture of cornmeal or sand).  I find that it isn’t always consistent and it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in the formation of the clusters.

Place the ground almonds into a large mixing bowl.

Take the remaining ½ cup almonds and all of the walnuts/pistachio/pecans and process in the food processor until they are finely chopped.  This mixture also goes into the bowl.

Also add the rolled oats, dates, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt to the bowl and stir well.

In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil and tahini.  Use a whisk to combine these wet ingredients.  Sometimes I quickly heat this in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds to make it easier to combine.   When it is a consistent mixture, stir into the dry ingredients.  Stir well until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.  Make sure all the little bits at the bottom of the bowl have been covered too.

Spread the mixture onto the parchment covered baking sheet (approx. ½ inch thick) and press down lightly to assist in the binding.

Bake at 275F for 20 minutes.  Rotate the pan and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes.  Watch and remove when you can see the beginnings of a light toasting on the bottom.

Be sure to cool for at least an hour before attempting to break it into clusters and store in bags.

Enjoy during our favorite exercise activity.  Makes about 6 cups of clusters.

(adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Vegan Recipes To Glow From The Inside Out)

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