The “Happy Pear” Flapjacks

close up of two stacked flapjacks with flapjacks in background

Although they are not as readily available now, I still have cravings for many of the English puddings from my childhood. One of the popular baked goods I enjoyed was the deliciously chewy and sweet flapjacks made of rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup.  Since living in North America, I discovered that a flapjack is actually considered something else entirely and is a widely-known but lesser-used term for a pancake!

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Raw Ginger Bites (Vegan and GF)

stack of four raw ginger bites biscuits with stack of four more biscuits in background

Ginger is one of my kitchen staples and I appreciate its versatility as a kitchen spice for both savoury and sweet dishes. Although I have heard many words to describe the flavour of ginger such as “hot, zesty, biting, sweet, warm”, it can generally be relied on to add a spiciness, juiciness and pungency to cooking. Ginger is available in several forms including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, and powdered and can be used in many different ways.

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Gingerbread and Cranberry Chocolate Cups (Vegan and GF)

two stacks of two gingerbread and cranberry dark chocolate cups with holly decorations

Throughout history, winter solstice festivals have been held across the world to celebrate the changing seasons and to mark the longest night of the year and rebirth of the Earth. Interestingly, it is these solstice rituals that mark the origin of baking cookies and treats for holiday festivities such as Christmas.

Since it was often necessary to feast before the winter famine, the solstice celebrations tended to revolve around food. In addition, the festivities and food often had an emphasis on the Earth itself and tended to incorporate natural foods such as nuts, berries, and spices.

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Triple Layer Tahini or Caramel Bars (Vegan and GF)

stack of 3 tahini bars decorated with piece of holly

With the definition of treats being “anything that affords much pleasure”, what’s not to love about them?  Treats have always been a part of the human experience and have been used for a variety of reasons including celebrating special occasions, a reward for a job well done or even as consolation for something lost.

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Apricot and Peanut Recovery Bars

two stacks of apricot and peanut bars

After any endurance activity the body needs time to recover so it can reenergize itself for next time.  For the body to recover more quickly, choosing the right post-workout foods is important. This is one of the challenges I face as I rarely feel like eating after strenuous activity. However, these tasty apricot and peanut butter bars provide a great mixture of tasty ingredients which help kickstart the recovery process.

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Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled. It is a similar story with fruit.  Although I do enjoy more raw fruits over raw vegetables, the cooked version of many fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, berries and even bananas definitely has more appeal.

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A Toast to Toast

board with toasts with different toppings - dried figs, kiwi, banana and blueberry, strawberry

My early memories of toast is as a breakfast food usually topped with the basic spreads of butter and jam.  At that time toast was considered a “thrifty” choice and was often an economical way to use up stale bread.  Over the years, this “comfort food” has evolved and become a significant food trend to the extent that some toast creations are now referred to as “artisan”.

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Vegan Fig Rolls as Healthy Snacks or “Fuel Food”

Image of three fig rolls or fig newtons stacked

I have always considered Fig Rolls (UK) and Fig Newtons (North America) as a relatively healthy choice in the world of commercial cookies and biscuits. As easily digestible carbohydrates, they have also been a tasty favourite as “fuel food” for sports. However, they still fall into the category of processed food and so I was pleased to come across a naturally sweetened, gluten free, no-bake alternative to these popular commercial treats.

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Plant-Based Ice Cream (“Nice Cream”) with Caramel Sauce

bowl of nice cream with frozen berries

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? It seems that ice cream is probably one of the most popular desserts consumed today and, as a result of refrigeration, it can now be a household staple. Enjoyed globally, each country has its own version of the frozen treat such as gelato in Italy, kulfi In India, and mochi in Japan.

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Mango and Date Energy Bites

green cutting board with selection of mange and date energy bites, shredded coconut and dried mango

When I first got involved in triathlon training, I was introduced to the world of energy gels and bars. These are items made up of mostly simple sugar and they serve to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores during extended exercise. At that time I was more interested in performance so, as they did their intended job, I did not give a second thought to what was actually in them.

As I am now trying to follow a more whole foods-based diet, when I began training for a 100km cycle ride I started to experiment with different foods for fuel. My staple had become a couple of Medjool dates which sustained me for shorter rides of under 50km. However, as my distances increased, I found I needed a little more of a boost.

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