by Jodi Sabra, aka Psychlo-Mom
That was our sexy MAC cyclocrossers warming up! We’re three weeks away from ’cross season … so boys are crashing through city parks and then running from the cops seconds before they get told to leave. You can feel it now, right? What you eat matters, and now is the time to start experimenting with what goes down easy and stays down, what keeps you going and what revives you so that you can get up and do it all over again the next day. So, I’m baaaaack, because what you eat, when you eat it and how it performs occupies so much of my brain space that I thought I might as well get it out here with the only other people I know who aren’t on Weight Watchers: cyclocrossers.
Wanna know what’s cooking right now in my kitchen, just about a week before another Elite Swiss rider moves in to share our table and our lives for ’cross season? Granola. Wait, before you say, “I can buy that dry horsefeed at some crunchy granola store?” This recipe is like riding a brand new bike that has been in a shop for months waiting to be owned by you … it’s perfect. And it’s made with raw honey and nuts and coconut, which are some of those secret weapon foods that you should know about. If you didn’t read it, there’s a great article in the last Outside Magazine on power foods that you should read.
FYI, most of the articles and recipes I feature are very much in line with the regimen suggested in that article. Here’s the gist: Nourish your body with powerful foods every few hours. Make what you eat work for you energetically, mentally, cyclocross-ically; and make it super yummy. Eat well, my loves … cyclocross is calling! May your season be muddy and blessed.
(Say that six times swiftly!)
- 3/4 c. canola or grapeseed oil
- ½ c. real maple syrup (not that nasty fake stuff!)
- ¾ c. raw honey (if you have regular honey, that’s fine, but raw honey is the best.)
- 1 tsp. vanilla (treat yourself to the real stuff here, too. It’ll make everything tastier.)
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 3 c. oatmeal (We love to support Bob’s Red Mill cuz they love cyclocross)
- 1 ½ c. sliced almonds (Trader Joe’s carries those nice toasted nuts; another secret weapon food.)
- 1 c. toasted pecan pieces
- 1 c. Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets (or any other bran-like cereal) OR 1 c. wheat germ or ground flax seeds (great source of essential fatty acids, kids.)
- 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes (If you only have the sweetened flakes, go there; if you want to ride faster than the other guys, schlep to the health food store and get some of the unsweetened big flakes.)
- 1 teaspoon of good cinnamon (another one of those secret nutrition weapons)
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves (makes this smell like Christmas when it’s baking)
- Optional: 1 c. dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries or golden raisins…or, I put in a cup of Golden Graham cereal last time. Yum. Get creative.
1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, stir together the oil, honey, and maple syrup. Place over low heat and bring just to a simmer. Do not boil! Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except for the cranberries/raisins if you’re adding them). Pour the warm honey mixture over the top, then toss to coat the grains and nuts. Divide the mixture onto the cookie sheets. Flatten the granola with the back of a spatula.
3. Bake the granola for 20 minutes; remove the pans from the oven and stir. Spread the cereal again and bake 20 minutes more until golden brown. Cool the cereal completely on the pans so it becomes crisp. Stir in the cranberries if you’re going there. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle over the yummiest yogurt you can find. Add fresh fruit for extra antioxidants and scrumptiousness.
Bring some to your next race to bribe the officials and attract bees.