Sometimes all you need to get back on track is a good, long run. I haven’t had a good run in a while. Between my fatigue and my knee pain, running has been pretty difficult. I recognize that I’m not getting any younger and have cut back my running in favor of less knee-pounding workouts, such as walking, elliptical, or cycling. But I’m running my next (and possibly last) half-marathon in 2 weeks and need at least 3 good runs each week to stay on track. I’ve also accepted that I may need to walk part of it to protect my knees, but the main thing is getting in the distance. So today I set out to do 4 miles, but felt so good that I decided to keep going. I ended up with 8.5 miles in 1 hour and 30 minutes, a decent pace for me, and feel fabulous!!
Maybe the good run was a result of the awesome Fruit & Nut Bar that I had before-hand? I found this recipe courtesy of Eating Bird Food and it’s the perfect mix of carbs and protein to energize you before a workout. I did change the recipe slightly. For the original recipe, refer to the Eating Bird Food blog.
Fruit & Nut Bars with Dark Chocolate
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup pitted prunes (around 11-12)
- ½ cup dried apricots (around 11-12)
- ½ cup raisins or naturally sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, (such as Ghiradelli 60% dark chocolate chips)
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- ⅓ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Cover an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone baking sheet.
- Place prunes, apricots, and raisins / cranberries in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until well chopped. Remove the dried fruit mixture and chop the dark chocolate bar into small chunks (if using a bar)
- Combine oats, chopped fruit mixture, almonds, and coconut in a large bowl and knead with your hands until well combined. Add flour and water and knead until a ball of dough forms. (Add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.)
- Add dark chocolate.
- Press dough firmly and evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, until baked through but still soft (don’t overbake them or the bars will be dry and tough).
- Let cool for 5 minutes. While still in the pan, cut into 8 rectangles, and then let cool completely in the refrigerator so the chocolate will harden before trying to remove from the pan (about 30 minutes).
- Store bars in an airtight container or baggies. I keep mine in the refrigerator.
Yield / Nutrition: 8 bars with 200 calories and 6 grams each.