Get Back Up Again with Farro

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I've had a few biking "incidents" lately. These things happen. And luckily, they haven't been too serious. However, they don't really make you feel excited, or happy, or all, "woooo TIGER BLOOD, I'm WINNING!!"

No. They sorta make you feel slow. And slightly stupid. And owchy. And couldn't Johnson & Johnson make the bandaid size that you need (tarp-sized, please), instead of 1,298 sizes that won't work??

Just a suggestion.

And here's another suggestion: taxed muscles, whether from training or from a fall need some recovery and repair. Nutritionally speaking, a good way to get that is through protein. This month, I was featured in Triathlete Magazine's June issue with two sneaky protein-rich recipes.

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Sneaky? Yes, they're sneaky because they don't contain meat or fancy protein powders. They contain farro. Farro is a grain that is very high in protein (about 6 grams per 1/2 cup of cooked farro). And you can use it to make any number of things, like the Coconut Farro Oatmeal or Fig Cookies with farro crust.

The recipe for the Coconut Farro Oatmeal is below. For the fig cookies, go check out Triathlete Magazine!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 cup farro

2 cups coconut milk (not the condensed stuff, the other kind) plus additional for serving

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 rounded tablespoons of ground flax seeds

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup fresh blueberries

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened preferred, but you can use either)

Instructions:

Measure out the farro, ground flax seeds and coconut milk and pour them into a medium pot. Heat on medium-low on your stovetop adding in the seasonings and sweetener: maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg.

Simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed - about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the shredded coconut and almond slivers onto the baking sheet. Toast for about 5-8 minutes, keeping a constant watch on the progress as the nuts will toast quite quickly. Feel free to toss halfway through the baking process to ensure an even browning.

Remove from oven and set aside.

Scoop the cooked farro into serving bowls. Top with a little extra coconut milk, fresh blueberries and dried cranberries. Sprinkle with the toasted almond and coconut mixture.

A special note of thanks to all my Full Throttle teammates who have been so nice and supportive as I continually fell off my bicycle in the past week. Thanks for delivering medical supplies, making me dinner, checking in, checking in again, enduring chatter about my sprained groin...the list goes on. You guys are the best.

For more recipes from the Triathlete Kitchen, click here!

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Chocolate Almond Butter Healthier Hearts

Lately, my kitchen experiments have been focused on remaking recipes to be more healthy. However, in the name of Valentine's Day, I think it's acceptable to be slightly indulgent, even for those of us who spend our mornings doing some combination of swimming, biking and running.

I mean, let's have a cookie. A chocolate one.

The following recipe is one of my mother's favorites that I redesigned (you can read about the original here). I used mostly whole wheat flour, and not too much butter or sugar. The trick here is the cinnamon and nutmeg which make these cookies taste like hot chocolate. Cookies that taste like hot chocolate just seem like a good idea. Especially on Valentine's Day.

So, let's get to it: Chocolate Almond Butter Healthier Hearts

What You Need:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup almond butter

1 large egg

For the Chocolate tips:

8 oz semi sweet chocolate

What To Do:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Beat together the butter and brown sugar in either a food processor or a stand mixer.  Beat until well incorporated.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.  Add the egg.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is glossy and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the almond butter and mix to combine.

Stop mixer and add the dry ingredients all at once.  Mix on low speed until all of the flour is incorporated  Stop mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.  Spoon batter out onto a sheet of waxed paper, and form loosely into a log.  You can roll it up and chill it in the fridge for an hour to make it easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Once the dough is chilled, divide it in half and place one half on a lightly floured counter surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Break out your cookie cutters, cut out cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven, allow to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To give them fancy, chocolate tips, melt the semi sweet chocolate in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 15-20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating. Once the chocolate is melted, dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate and place on parchment paper to dry.

Cookies will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to five days.

If chocolate isn't your thing, you can always go with pizza...yes, yes, I'm fairly predictable in my culinary selections. HOWEVER, your heart will love this pizza recipe: whole wheat crust topped with beet chips and spinach. Here's a glimpse below, and you can read the full recipe here.