So for those of you who don’t directly know me or Monsieur From Scratch, currently one of the major all consuming elements of our life together is the Ironman. No, that’s not code for the wedding, and no, I am not talking about the Robert Downey Jr. films. I am talking about the Ironman Race. The ultimate triathlon: a 2.4 mile Swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run (yes, that is a marathon). In one day. In fact in 17 hours or less. Before you go off on a crazy tangent thinking I am taking on an Ironman let me quell your fears and reassure you I am not. I am just a wonderfully supportive observer. It is Monsieur From Scratch (let’s just shorten that to MFS for now) who is taking up this mantel a mere month before our wedding (we like to cram things in at From Scratch Headquarters). Why am I telling you all this? Well as you can imagine training for something like this changes the way you eat, and I am being ultra supportive and healthy and in fact training for my own sporting feat – a half marathon in June ( I am raising money for a charity based around cake – one of the most beautiful things in the world – if you want to sponsor me, that would be amazing and you can donate here) – our diet at home has been slowly shifting. Hence the lack of posts. Basically we are eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. However it has not been the main meals that I have been itching to revolutionise, it has been the post workout snacks. Usually after a long run both myself and MFS go straight for the fruit, or in MFS’s case some Banana Soreen and a For Goodness Shakes. He has also been chowing down on cereal bars, energy bars and other snacks to get the good stuff back into his body. Our food bill has significantly increased. So in a bid to get more variety, lower the costs of our average weekly spend on cereal bars and, heck because it was a Saturday, I decided to experiment.
Now I know you may be thinking, I am not planning on running a marathon any time soon, I don’t own a bike and you will not find me swimming down a river in the North of England in this lifetime, why do I care about post workout snacks? Well these treats are delicious, they are the perfect afternoon treat, an ideal travel snack and just a lot of goodness in one place. Oh and did I mention they are incredibly simple to make? I mean you can be pretty darn lazy and come out with some fantastic treats.
I road tested them on a couple of hungry footballers and they seemed to go down well so they are also ravenous male approved! Hurray!
So even if you’re not in training and exercise is only on the to -o list I definitely recommend giving these a whirl.
With out further ado I give you my classic cold pressed chocolate orange bar:
350g Mixed Nuts – I went for walnut, almond, cashew and coconut, but seriously you can pretty much do anything you fancy
20 Medjool dates
40g Cocoa Powder
Zest of 1 Orange
1 tbsp Orange Juice
¼ tsp of Vanilla Extract
a pinch of good quality Sea Salt – I used Maldon sea flakes
Method (you are seriously going to love how easy this is)
- Firstly prep your tin, by lining a square or rectangular cake tin about 8inch by 8inch with greaseproof paper ( you will want to skip this and do it later, this is what I did, it wasn’t fun, my hands were covered in chocolate mixture and I got it everywhere in an attempt to line my time without spending 5mins throughly removing mixture from my hands – do this now!)
- Place your nuts in a food processor and pulse until they reach breadcrumb stage, don’t worry if there are still some larger pieces a mixture is fine – and you don’t want to end up with nut butter. Place your now chopped nuts into a large bowl
- Pit your dates and place them in the processor, add the Cocoa powder, orange zest, Orange juice, vanilla extract and salt in and pulse until they form a big chocolaty dough ball
- Remove this from the processor and knead into the nut mixture – this takes about 2-3mins of kneading to combine – you will think you have two many nuts but you don’t it will work
- Once combined place in your tin and flatten down. Move to the freeze and let this set for about 30 mins, Alternatively you can move to the fridge to set for about 1.30 to 2hrs
- Once cooled cut into bars and wrap up in cling film ready to go. These are best stored in the fridge and will last about 2 weeks
Obviously you should leave out one to try immediately and thoroughly satisfy your taste buds. And that is it a great healthy after-exercise refuelling treat. These things are so good they might be the only motivation you need to hit the gym!
Next time on Fuelling an Ironman we will explore the wonderful world of Mango Bites!
Oh, and if you want to sponsor the lovely soon to be Ironman MFS here is his Just Giving page.