Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Power Hungry

I'm not running these days, thanks to a stupid stress fracture in my right foot. That means the half-marathon I was planning to run in October is probably off. And it means that I don't have carte blanche to eat dessert. I've been trying to eat extra healthily because I'm simply not burning the calories I do when I run.

But I am working out. I'd go crazy being totally sedentary since I spend most of my days working at a desk. Yoga, low-resistance on the stationary bike, arm weights, crunches, balance ball, and even bicycling around town are still on my can-do list. And even though I'm not burning even half the calories that I was before my injury, I still need power snacks to get me through workouts.

Enter Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook, a new mostly vegan/totally vegetarian cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury. There has to be about 100 or more homemade energy bar recipes in this book, and as someone who relies on multiple bars each week, this is a godsend. I used to spend SO MUCH on Larabars, Clif Bars, Vega Bars, you name it. For about a year, I've been making my own and stashing away that extra cash money.

But to be honest, I'd gotten into a homemade energy bar rut as of late, and I'd been relying solely on coconut butter-stuffed dates to fuel workouts. And while those are delicious, even stuffed dates can get boring after a time.

I had a hard time deciding what to make first from Power Hungry. I was especially intrigued by the Super Natural Knock-Offs chapter, which includes recipes for homemade facsimiles of the bars sold in stores. There's a recipe for Clif-style bars, Nature Valley-style bars, Larabar-style bars, and even a knock-off endurance chew similar to Clif Shot Bloks.

Other chapters feature recipes for between-meal snack bars (there's a recipe for Crispy Kale Bars!!) and bars for sustaining long endurance workouts (Quinoa Chia Apricot Bars, Pumpkin Pie Power Bars).

But I finally settled on a recipe from the protein bar chapter — 5-Minute Protein Truffles.

These are so easy and yet so delicious. They're made with nut butter (I used Justin's Maple Almond), agave (I used Wholesome Sweetener Maple Agave), and vanilla protein powder (I used Veggie Protein Vanilla). You roll that into a ball, and coat with all sorts of toppings. I went with sesame seeds on half the batch and raw cacao on the other half. These have a soft and slighty flaky texture (similar to that of sesame halva), and just one ball has been sufficient to power me through an afternoon workout at the gym. When I start running again (soon I hope!), I would guess I'd need two.

I've gotten permission to share the recipe for the 5-Minute Protein Truffles, so here ya go! Note that I only ran the vegan ingredient list. Though many of the recipes in Power Hungry are naturally vegan, some call for items like honey or whey protein, but Camilla always includes vegan variation instructions.

from Power Hungry by Camilla V. Saulsberry
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut, cashew, sunflower, or tahini)
3 Tbsp agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup all-natural, sweetened vanilla or chocolate vegan protein

Suggested coatings for your truffles (optional)
— Miniature semisweet chocolate chips or cacao nibs
— Unsweetened, natural cocoa powder
— Unsweetened flake or shredded coconut, plain or toasted
— Finely chopped nuts, toasted or raw (think almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts)
— Toasted or raw seeds, finely chopped if needed (sesame, chia, pepitas, hemp hearts, or sunflower are good options)
— Finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., cherries, raisins, apricots, or blueberries)
— Matcha powder
— Quick-cooking rolled oats

1. Mix the nut or seed butter, agave, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Add the protein powder, stirring until completely combined (mixture will be firm).
2. Protein powders vary in terms of their dryness. If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more protein powder (or ground oats or flaxseed meal) until it comes together as a dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add milk (non-dairy) or water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together as a dough. (Optional texture tip: Mix up to 3 tablespoons of any of the suggested coatings directly into the dough instead.)
3. Scoop about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into your hands and shape into 1-inch balls.
4. If desired, place one or more of the suggested coatings in small shallow dishes. Roll each ball in the coating, gently pressing to adhere. Place the balls in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator (up to one week) or freezer (for up to three months). Thaw for 15 minutes.


Dana said...

those look really yummy! i'm sorry your injury derailed your training. josh and i are trying to train and stay healthy, but we haven't started upping mileage yet. i hope you heal up. come run the little rock half in march!

Bianca said...

Dana, I was actually looking at that!! I might! We have one here in Germantown in March I'll do one or the other.

Laura said...

Thanks for the review - I'm going to have to add this book to my collection. And I hope your foot heals soon!!

dreaminitvegan said...

I've back to blogging finally and you look amazing! Congrats on your cookbook. Wow I've been gone for too long. Great looking snacks thanks for sharing.