In keeping with the Olympic theme, I want to introduce to you another food. A couple of posts ago, I gave you the recipe for stuffed grape vine leaves, to help get into the spirit of the Olympics. Now we're going to get into the feel of the athletes.
So, introducing, (drum roll and and national anthem, please, after all this is a gold medal recipe!) Yum Bars! The ultimate Power Bar!
It's an amazingly easy recipe to create, but you have to be a little particular about the wet versus dry ingredients.
If you find the mixture to be a little wet, simply add a little more flaked quinoa. If you find the mixture to be a little dry, at a little bit more agave syrup. If you don't have any flaked quinoa, try finely milled or instant oatmeal. Just keep the ingredients as natural as possible. If you don't have any agave syrup, try a brown rice syrup or maple syrup. Again while trying to keep the ingredients as natural as possible, I would avoid things like corn syrup. Agave syrup is far sweeter, so you don't need much.
And don't forget to use parchment paper to line the loaf pan because it makes cleanup and removal of the bars that much easier.
3 dried figs, finely chopped
3 seeded prunes, finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped dates
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, unsalted
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup flaked quinoa
1/2 cup dried blueberries, or other dried small fruit
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/2 cup medium unsweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Put the first five ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until soft. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Firmly press the mixture into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan. This is where little bit of practice comes in handy. If the mixture feels quite soft, try adding a little bit more quinoa. If it seems to be a bit crumbly, mix in about a tablespoon of agave syrup.
Chill in the refrigerator until cool and firm. If you don't notice the texture isn't quite right until after it comes out of the refrigerator, simply warm it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds and correct it again. Once you're happy with consistency, cut them into small bars wrap them in plastic and keep them in the freezer, for a quick snack that drives off hunger for a long time.
Food is often featured prominently in my books. While some authors barely mention it and their characters work through the story without even taking a bite, (gasp!) my characters, like me, stop and eat. A lot. In my book, Hard Target, because it is set in Bolivia, there's lots of coca tea drunk, and the strong coffee is served in teapots that have no lids! But considering they're all served with delicious alfajores and other warm pastries, my characters, like me when I went there, never bothered to ask.
In my book, Deadly Trust, my hero eats mostly fast food in his car. My heroine generally eats only gourmet food, but by chapter 2, she has an irresistible craving for hot french fries. (I wonder why?) So food is important. it connects people, feeding not only the body, but the soul, too.And I hope you'll try these power bars, and find them worthy of your Olympic athlete in training, (you, that is!) and you enjoy them as much as I do.