Bites of Energy so your afternoon doesn’t bite

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I like looking at my stats.  They make me feel very global.  I have views from five, that’s right, FIVE continents.  And I only know people living in three!  What’s up, Asia & Europe, how you doin’?  Thanks for making me feel special.  Africa, OZ, and North America, you make me feel pretty special too, though damn if I don’t know who you are usually.  You never know, I could have a follower in Morocco that isn’t my best friend.

Anyway, I’ve been working on some healthy recipes for post-workout snacks/recovery meals.  It was hard, but I just had to sample them all.  Quality control, you know?  Michael used his rock powers for good and had a little 5k race for charity and asked me to supply some goods.  So I diligently (AKA the night before) worked on getting something together for people to eat after their run.  Now Michael requested these bacon jalapeno muffins I made for us when we hiked the AT.  So I made them, with the adjustment to Juli’s recipe being I used jalapeno instead of chives, because I LIKE THE SPIIIIIICE.  So do other normal people.  Juli also makes a shrimp/jalapeno version for anyone that likes shrimp.  Alas, I do not.

But after running 3.1 miles on a hot humid day – I personally do not want to eat muffins or baked goods.  So I sliced up some fresh watermelon and pineapple.  Refreshing AND thirst quenching.

In addition, I’ve been obsessing over small bites of high-protein, low-sugar food.  I work 6-8 hours twice a week over 400 degree griddles, and when I get five to ten (usually three) minutes of time to grab some “lunch” I want instant food belly gratification.  I want tasty, but I need efficient.  In the past I have relied HEAVILY on Clif bars.  They are delicious but have a lot of sugar.  A chocolate chip peanut crunch Clif bar has A LOT of ingredients listed on the back, not to mention 21g sugar.  Woah.  I’m trying to get through my day, not climb a mountain.  But I like the idea (and many of the natural ingredients) so I made my own version.  Now I’ve looked at a lot of “Clif” bar recipes, but what it basically comes down to is throwing your favorite things in a food processor, processing it until it forms a nice crumbly consistency, yet sticks when you roll it into a ball, and then trying not to eat it right out of the bowl.  Nom.

The two I came up with?  (Also Cynthia as she assists me at 9pm on a weeknight while I crazily make batches of food)…

Chocolate Coffee and Almond Cranilla.  Oh that coffee gives a nice zing when 2pm hits and you haven’t eaten AND you’re exhausted AND have a headache.

Chocolate Coffee Bites 

1 c. dried figs (remove & discard stems)

1/2 c. dates

1/4 c. almond butter

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1/4 c. almonds

1 tbsp. espresso powder

1/4 c. vegan chocolate chips (optional)

1/4 c. ground coffee (optional, for outside)

Process figs and dates until in tiny pieces and forms a ‘ball’ of ‘dough’.  Add almond butter and process until blended consistency.  Go ahead and throw in your cocoa, espresso, chocolate chips, and almonds.  Process until mixed and almond chunks are desired size.   Pick up a handful of the dough and roll into ball.  Repeat with rest of dough.  Roll finished bites in coffee grounds (optional).  Freeze for ten minutes then pack away in an airtight tupperware and store in fridge.

I went ahead and threw in a few tablespoons of hemp seed – you can add whatever seeds/nut butters you prefer, substitute sunbutter or peanut butter instead if you like.

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Almond Cranilla Bites

1 c. dried figs (remove & discard stems)

1/2 c. dates

1/4 c. almond butter

1/2 c. craisins

1/4 c. almonds

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. flax seed meal (optional)

Process figs and dates until in tiny pieces and forms a ‘ball’ of ‘dough’.  Add almond butter and process until blended consistency.  Go ahead and throw in your vanilla, craisins, cinnamon, and almonds.  Process until mixed and almond chunks are desired size.   Pick up a handful of the dough and roll into ball.  Repeat with rest of dough.  Roll finished bites in ground flax seed (optional).  Freeze for ten minutes then pack away in an airtight tupperware and store in fridge.

You can add honey if you want them to be a little sweeter – or more cinnamon/vanilla if you like either a lot.  If the dough does not stick to form in balls, add just a little walnut oil, or nut oil, and process until it starts to form a ball.

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So that’s it.  Really simple and there are a million and one other recipes out there for these types of things.  I just had to go ahead and put my two cents in.

Ciao ciao,

JT

The Pacific Northwest – Seattle

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Seattle, Washington

We arrived, by bus, in Seattle around noon.  Unable to check into our hotel, we hit up Top Pot donuts, as recommended by my brother, Matt, who also happened to be in Seattle.  This is where the donut binge begins.  I just noticed begin and binge have the same exact letters.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We enjoyed a Maple Bar and two lattes with rice milk.  Yum.  The coffee and donuts were fresh and so so so good after getting off that bus.  You can stand in the back of Top Pot and watch them knead the dough.  Awesome.  Any time I go to a place like this I’m like, “I want to work here!  I want to learn to make delicious yeast risen blob donuts yum!”  Because I have a problem and that is being obsessed with food.

Michael has been to Seattle probably like ten times via the job so he took me on a tour of all the things he wanted me to see.  The Pike Place market, the OG Starbucks, the gum wall, etc.

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We met up with Matt and Sabrina for dinner at this amazing Italian place Sabrina picked out called the Pink Door.  Yes, it’s door is actually pink – it’s only indicator of the restaurant as there is no signage.  Whew!  What an amazing dinner we had with some of my favorite company :).  After dinner we wandered the city a bit, popping in and out of different bars for drinks, and ended our night at the Five Point Cafe for a little diner food.  Yum, this place is great!  And we got an awesome night view of the Needle!

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Thursday we slept late.  Like, later than I would ever sleep on an exploring vacation.  Woops.  No problem, we headed off to the EMP Museum to check out their new Nirvana exhibit.  If you love music like we love music, you have got to go to this museum.  Their exhibits are really cool, and there is an entire room where you can interact with different instruments.  You can learn to play them, or go into a recording room and record a song.  It’s AWESOME.  And the Nirvana exhibit was pretty amazing.

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We walked to the Space Needle, which is like right next to the museum, and debated paying good dollars to go up in it and decided against it.  Thought about going to see the Chihuly exhibit but decided against that as well.  We followed Matt’s recommendations and headed down to the pier to walk around and ride the giant ferris wheel instead.  WORTH IT.

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Michael then took me to get his favorites snacks in the city.  This included: a vegetable piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky in Pike Place (really delicious fillings folded and baked inside a buttery-fluffy roll); a SALTED CARAMEL and coffee ice cream cone at Cupcake Royale; and macarons, which aren’t really his favorite but I found them and you all KNOW how I feel about macarons.

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We met up with Sabrina for sushi at Umi Sake House.  Can I just say, that this place has the best sushi I HAVE EVER EATEN.  We ate at Morimoto in Philly recently, and while their sushi/sashimi was a force to be reckoned with, Umi’s rolls are just creative.  Spicy and sweet with amazing flavors INCLUDING blood orange and cilantro.  So so so good, and thank you Kelly for the recommendation.  The Moonraker roll was phenomenal.  Ok.  Rave over.

Friday morning we ate breakfast at Serious Biscuit which serves, you guessed it, biscuit involved items.  Frittata, fried chicken, fried catfish, PB and banana, egg and cheese.  Again, amazing food.  Another place I was like “Think of all the biscuitty goodness and crazy arugula combinations I could make working here!!”.  Then we spent some time in Green Lake – a neighborhood MDK frequently stays in while in Seattle.  It’s a cute area, filled with a lot of college kids from the U of W.  There’s a lake with a nice path around it, so we walked off our breakfast, or at least tried.  Then, because we are gluttons, we ate at Mighty-O donuts.  Yes.  More donuts.  Mighty-O happens to make cake donuts, which, let’s face it, I totally love.  I had the Raspberry Riot and MDK got the French Toast, and then we were given a free mini Coco loco donut.  Really.  As if we hadn’t consumed enough donutty goodness.  Good thing we were about to get in the car to sit for five hours for the drive to Portland!