Mineral-Rich Energy Bars

Creating a nutrient-dense, delicious energy bar

This month I started a new yoga program and realized I needed to make some nutrient-dense snacks to take with me. I remembered Jessica Porter’s classic recipe for Crispy Brown Rice Bars (a healthy, macrobiotic version of Rice Crispy Treats), but wanted to add some extra goodies to make them more hearty:

  • pumpkin seeds or pepitas (high in potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc)
  • unhulled sesame seeds (high in copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and more)
  • dulse flakes (high in iodine, protein, Vitamins B6 & B12, and more)
  • almond butter (high in protein, fat, magnesium, calcium, and potassium)

These healthy, mineral-rich energy bars are a great post-workout snack and help to boost the thyroid, build bone density, and increase minerals in the diet.

Choosing the right brand of brown rice syrup makes a difference

Make an effort to find the special brown rice syrup I recommend in the recipe— Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar. It is available online and in various natural foods stores. I used to be able to buy it in Austin but now I have to order online.

Suzanne’s brand is much more clean tasting and delicious than other brown rice syrups (such as the Lundberg brand which is more bitter), as it is made through natural fermentation rather than a chemical process.

You could try making this recipe with another sweetener, but you may need to adjust the other ingredients due to viscosity and sweetness (honey is much sweeter and maple syrup may be a little too thin to hold the bar together).

Mineral Rich Energy Bars (V, GF)
 
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These no-bake energy bars are the perfect post-workout or lunchbox snack. They are packed with nutrients including complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, and many trace minerals.
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 bars
Ingredients
  • ½ cup organic brown rice syrup (Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar recommmended)
  • ⅓ cup organic almond butter
  • a few grinds Himalayan sea salt or a large pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil (optional)
  • 1½ cups crispy brown rice cereal (One Degree or Erewhon brands recommended)
  • ½ cup organic green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • ¼ cup organic raisins
  • 1 tablespoon dulse flakes
  • 1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 piece parchment paper
Instructions
  1. In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat brown rice syrup, almond butter, and salt over low to medium heat until bubbly and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil if the mixture is too thick (depends on the brand of syrup you use).
  2. Add cereal, pepeitas, raisins, and dulse flakes to the almond butter mixture and fold in until well combined using a heat-proof rubber spatula or wooden spoon coated with a little coconut oil.
  3. Lay piece of parchment paper on a flat surface (large cutting board or countertop).
  4. When mixture has cooled to the point you can handle it without getting burned, and turn mixture onto parchment paper. Moisten fingertips with a little water, and press down into an even layer, about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and lightly press down.
  5. Using a sharp chef knife, cut into bars or squares.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or refrigerate if storing more than a few days.

Be creative!

Be creative and try different combinations with what you have on hand. Some other ideas for add-ins to replace pepitas, raisins, dulse, and sesame seeds: sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, candied ginger, or chocolate chips (freeze ahead and make sure mixture is cool before pressing into the bars). You could also try tahini (sesame butter) in place of almond butter. 

Interested in learning more? I offer cooking classes on demand at my home or yours in the Austin area. 

And please drop me a line to let me know how your bars came out!

 

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Southwestern Salad is one of my favorite salads to bring to parties and potluck gatherings. This salad is vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy, but also rich in flavors, colors, and textures.

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Southwestern
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sweet corn (fresh cut off the cob or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground New Mexico chile pepper (or other mild ground chile)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large avocado, sliced or cubed
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup pepitas, toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper (if desired).
  2. Toss together corn, olive oil, ground chile, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl. Spread evenly onto sheet pan. Roast corn for about 15 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking to prevent burning. Corn should be just starting to brown a little. Remove to a plate or bowl and allow to cool while prepping other salad ingredients.
  3. On a large platter or salad bowl, layer lettuce, roasted corn, cucumber, bell pepper, avocado, tomatoes, and pepitas.
  4. Serve with Cilantro Lime Dressing.
Variation
  1. Slice 3 or 4 fresh corn tortillas into ½ " x 1" strips and pan fry in a little olive oil until crispy. When cool, use as an additional salad topping.

Want to learn how to make delicious, healthy food while meeting new people? Chef Rachel’s current class schedule is available here. 

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Here is one of my favorite salad dressings that I use on simple garden salads, buddha bowls, and even tacos! It goes especially well with any dish including avocados, such as my Southwestern Summer Salad! Cilantro lime dressing is best made in a blender to get a smooth texture and beautiful green color.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cilantro Lime Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: Southwestern
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet white miso
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi (ume plum) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari, Eden brand recommended
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • spring or filtered water
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients except water in blender until smooth.
  2. Add water one tablespoon at a time if a thinner dressing is desired.

Want to learn how to make delicious, healthy food while meeting new people? Chef Rachel’s current class schedule is available here. 

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil

creamy butternut squash soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup… this is what talked me into becoming a macrobiotic chef! It is sweet, savory, comforting, and delicious! As a child, the only way I saw butternut squash cooked was in a baked casserole with sour cream, onions, and a corn flake topping. I didn’t like it. But when I tried this soup, I was in heaven! I have recently revised this recipe to include a long, slow caramelization of onion, carrot, and celery (mirepoix) at the beginning, which gives the soup a very sweet, complex, and delicious flavor.

By Pigup – I made the mirepoix at home and took a picture of it on my cell phone., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18688674

Creamy vegetable soups help stabilize blood sugar levels, so help prevent sugar cravings when eaten regularly. When using organic squash, there is no need to remove the skin. This makes it much faster to make, and adds beneficial dietary fiber. These days, finding food that is naturally sweet and nutritious is so important, to nourish the body while curbing cravings for refined sugar. I recently listened to a news story on NPR’s “Here & Now” about how the food industry engineers processed and prepared food items (including pasta sauce, yogurt, and other processed foods not thought to be “sugary”) so that they reach a person’s “bliss point.” Children are especially susceptible to getting hooked on these foods since they are naturally attracted to the sweet taste (which is needed for growth in mild, natural forms). Try making this soup for your children, and try substituting other vegetables for the butternut squash, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, or sweet potato. It makes a great kids’ lunchbox item when carried in a thermos.

The only trick with making this soup is learning how to cut the squash without cutting yourself. You need a good, sharp chef knife and a large cutting board. I suggest trimming off the stem, cutting off the “neck” of the squash, then cutting the resulting pieces (neck and bulb) in half so that you have four pieces you can put down flat on the board. From there you can remove the seeds from the bulbous part of the squash and chop the squash into small pieces.

Enjoy this soup and try some of the variations suggested at the bottom of the recipe. They are all delicious!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Fresh Rosemary and Basil
 
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Serve this soup at lunchtime to curb sugar cravings later on in the day. Or start your dinner meal with a cup of this soup to warm digestion and stimulate appetite.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Macrobiotic
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • 5 cups butternut squash, seeded and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 cups spring or filtered water or light vegetable stock
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly (chiffonade)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup organic pumpkin seeds, toasted, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a 4-quart soup pot, sauté onion and pinch of sea salt in olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent.
  2. Add carrot and celery and another pinch of sea salt. Sauté another 15 minutes, until vegetables start to caramelize.
  3. Add butternut squash and rosemary and coat with onion mixture. Add enough water or vegetable stock to barely cover the squash (about 3 cups), cover, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer until squash is soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Puree with blender or immersion blender. If soup is too thick, add a little more water or vegetable stock. Season to taste with sea salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.
  6. Serve in bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Note
  1. If using vegetable stock, try to find one without tomatoes (such as Imagine brand Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth) or make your own, to avoid overpowering the flavor of the squash.
Variations
  1. Substitute kabocha squash for butternut squash. The color will be darker but it is very delicious.
  2. Substitute carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato, or sweet corn for the butternut squash.
  3. Use herbs and spices of choice instead of rosemary, such as thyme, basil, or fresh ginger.
  4. Roast butternut squash tossed in olive oil and sea salt in 425 degree F oven until soft. Add to sautéed onions and proceed with recipe.

Bon appétit!

 

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rachel@cookloveheal.com

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