An Active Month
Finally it is June! The rain has stopped, the hills are green and it is time to get outside. Living on the Central Coast I grew up hiking, biking, and surfing. These all-day adventures require snacks that travel well to keep your energy up!
There is nothing better than snacking on a homemade oatmeal bar with fresh fruit and local hand-picked ingredients after a hike or getting a quick pick-me-up before a beach run with my protein flan. Don’t worry; I also made sure to include a gluten free active bar that will keep you energized for a day at play.
My home town is Los Osos, California. Los Osos has the second tallest summit on the Central Coast, Valencia Peak. This beautiful mountain overlooks about fifty miles of coast line! The chance to sit on top watching the waves crash below is my motivation to hike this trail. I never forget to bring my Cardamom and Fruit Oatmeal Bars. I use fresh fruit with fresh local honey from The Avila Barn and dehydrate it myself. I suggest bringing two of these bars, they are so yummy! Since we don’t add any preservatives, you can feel good about splurging on these, unlike those store-bought ones. For readers who are on a gluten-free diet I included a recipe for you using gluten-free chocolate chips and all-natural peanut butter. Believe me, you won’t feel like you are missing out on any flavor with this recipe!
June also brings beach days back! I like to make a whole day of it; first I go on a nice long beach run on the beautiful six mile stretch between Morro Bay and Cayucos. Beach runs are my favorite because you get the fresh breeze cooling you off, the soft coastal sand under your feet, and the sound of the ocean. Before I leave the house I like to have a little snack to boost my workout, since a necessary part of exercising is fueling your body. My protein flan is perfect for a quick snack on your way out the door. You can use whatever protein powder or whey you like and whatever kind of milk you prefer.
Cardamom and Fruit Oatmeal Bars
2 cups rolled oats
1 ½ tsp cardamom
6 T butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 T honey
½ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
½ cup dried fruit*
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix dry ingredients into a bowl including nuts and fruit. Heat the butter, sugar, and honey on low heat. Once the butter mixture is combined, remove from heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix the two mixtures together and press into a greased baking sheet. Bake thirty minutes or until golden brown; let cool and cut.
* I dehydrate the fruit ahead of time, but you can buy dried fruit if you prefer. Use whatever is in season… right now we have stone fruit and cherries locally!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Bars
1 cup corn syrup
¾ cup natural peanut butter
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips, divided
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup chopped cashews
2 cups gluten-free oatmeal
2 cups crispy rice cereal
⅓ cup flaxseed meal
Mix corn syrup and peanut butter over low heat until smooth. Stir half the chocolate chips into the mixture to melt. Mix remaining chocolate chips with almonds, cashews, oatmeal, cereal and flaxseed in a bowl. Pour peanut butter mixture over nut mixture, mix well and pour into greased pan. Let the bars set about two hours before cutting.
1 cup milk (you can use almond, soy, lowfat, whatever!)
1 cup protein (whichever one you prefer)
1 ½ tsp gelatin
Heat the milk, add protein/whey and gelatin and pour into a mold of your choice. I use greased silicone molds and refrigerate the flan overnight, and sometimes put them in the freezer for a bit before I take them out to serve.