As Jackie mentioned in our previous post, we both have been busy lately. Yet, I am ecstatic to be back sharing our culinary adventures with all of you.
|Tour of California: Stage 3. The main peloton ascending Calaveras Road in Milpitas, CA.|
In mid-May, the Tour of California rode through the San Francisco Bay Area. The Tour of California is an eight-day event featuring elite professional teams and athletes from around the world. Top professional cycling teams compete in a challenging 800-mile course through scenic California highways and roadways. I was excited to spectate for my second year in a row. The night prior to spectating Stage 3 in San Jose, I debated on baking a batch of granola. The first time I made granola, I found that toasting the oats in the oven took a significant portion of the cooking time. Additionally, the clean up consisted of too many bowls, spoons, and spatulas. Thus, I decided not to make granola again.
However, months later as I browsed through my daily reads, I stumbled upon an article at Bicycling.com that caught my attention, "A Recipe for Homemade Energy Bars for Cyclists by Cyclists," by Neil Bezdek. Though the instructions seemed easy to follow, I was hesitant on how well the granola would taste because the recipe used only a few ingredients.
Since the recipe did not involve any baking, I took a risk and decided to try it out. I packed up the finished products for the 46-mile bike ride with a buddy of mine whom I race with to follow the pro peloton* from San Jose through Milpitas. I found the bars kept their shape while remaining soft and gooey on the inside. The peanut butter added a good amount of savory flavor while the trail mix gave variety to each bite. After only the first mouthful, I knew that these home-made granola bars were podium worthy.
Each 2x2 square packs an energizing blend of simple sugars (sweet stuff), and complex carbohydrates (oats and whole grains,etc.) to keep you trucking along the trail. The granola squares are small enough to pack in a backpack or pocket, and provides about 250 calories in each delectable morsel.
Thank you, Bicycling.com, for a great granola recipe!
Cycling Bites: 30-Minute Granola
Makes eighteen 2"x2"x1" 250 calorie squares.
4 cups whole oats
4 cups cereal (e.g. Special K)
1 cup each of filler (e.g. a trailmix. Or, nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, etc.)
2 cups sweetener/binding agent (maple syrup or brown rice syrup)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
Salt to taste
- Line two (2) 8"x8" pyrex dishes with parchment paper.
- Warm sweetener and peanut butter over medium heat in a nonstick pan for 10 minutes.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Once the sweetener and peanut butter are warmed (approximately five minutes), give it a good mix with a spoon/spatula.
- Pour the warm sweetener and peanut butter into the dry ingredients. Add salt to taste. Stir well.
- Lay the mixture into a large square pan. I used two 8"x8" Pyrex dishes. Let it cool for 5-6 hours on the counter top or 2.5-3 hours in the refrigerator. Slice each batch up into 2"x2" squares.
- "Each of which delivers about 250 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate, a perfect dose of energy for 60 minutes on the bike." (BEZDEK)
- A trail mix is an easy way to add a mixture of nuts and other dried fruit.
*Peloton: A densely packed group of riders, sheltering in each others' draft. In a mass-start race, most of the competitors usually end up in one large peloton for most of the race. The word is French, from a term that means rolled up in a ball. (https://www.google.com/url?url=http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_p.html&rct=j&sa=X&ei=gge_T7zXI4WaiAKlv_DUBw&ved=0CEQQngkwAQ&q=peloton&usg=AFQjCNGflCE3pMs6J0xRKQ8F1p65GAts6w)