Homemade Protein Bars

My schedule is pretty hectic (that’s the way I like it!) and that requires me to be on top of things when it comes to fitting meals into my day. One of my tricks for doing so is to always have one of these bad boys on hand.

The original recipe is good on its own but I like to use natural peanut butter which means that mine come out drier. To compensate, I like to add about a teaspoon of non-hydrogenated coconut oil, milk, and honey (if you use sweetened milks like vanilla soy or rice milk then I would omit the honey) to make the bars a little softer.

Once they’ve cooled for a few hours and have formed a solid bar I like to cut them into 1″x 4″ pieces. Then I wrap each bar diagonally in a 5″x5″ square of wax paper. You can store the whole batch in the fridge for up to 2 weeks although they start to dry out again after about 5 days.

You can also add more things to them if you want to mix it up a bit: raisins, dried fruit, different chocolate chips, flavored extracts, or chopped up nuts.

 

Weekend Picks

Happy happy Friday! That first week back is always hard so this weekend is all about relaxing and embracing the six seconds of cold weather that we’re having here in Florida. Heres’s what I’ll be doing:

– Pouring over How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, otherwise known as the Vegetarian Encyclopedia (probably only by me). It’s a comprehensive cookbook that goes beyond recipes and explains the experience of putting together food rather than just the steps that go into making something. I’m yet to follow a single recipe but I’ve been reading through it section by section and then allowing inspiration to lead when I actually get into the kitchen. (Apparently it’s now an app.)

– Giving up on Adultery by Paulo Coelho. I tried this because I love The Alchemist but I cannot get into this book. It’s predictable, the prose is generic at best, and the characters are flat. I expected more. If you haven’t read The Alchemist, I highly recommend having that experience.

РWatching The Two Faces of January and Force Majeure. The first is a thriller set in Europe with Kristin Dunst and Viggo Mortensen and the second is a dark comedy about a Swiss family on a skiing vacation

–¬†Burning a fire in the backyard. We recently got a new fire pit that needs some breaking in lovin’. Bring on the s’morez!

Have a great weekend!

Franco’s Sugo

While Nick and I were in Italy we stayed in an apartment in Rome outside of the city. Originally, we thought we had the place to ourselves. Once we got there we learned that we had a roommate; a 40-something year old Roman named Franco.

Franco spoke 4 words of English. We spoke 4 words of Italian. They were the same 4 words…which meant that when Franco decided he and Nick were going to be best friends, Google translate joined their merry little parade.

Despite our clear language barrier we ended up spending almost every night sharing a bottle of wine, a freshly cooked meal, and stories from home with Franco. In the process, he taught us a lot about Italian culture and even went so far as to teach us his Summer Sauce recipe known as Sugo in Italian.

Here is the recipe, true to Franco’s dictation.

IMG_7397


1 carrot (carota) chopped

1 celery (sedano) chopped

1 onion (cipolla) chopped (small)

+ Beef (carne) optional

White wine (vino blanco)

Crushed tomato (pomodora) fresh if possible

Basil

Salt (sale) just a pinch

Basil+Pecorino cheese (Cacio)+Pepper (Pepe)+Pasta water

IMG_7390


Heat veggies in oil on high heat until fragrant

add white wine/water

add tomatoes and salt

lower heat

add basil

cover and let simmer

add pasta water


ONLY eat with BIG pasta

NO garlic


Make sauce, when pasta starts, turn sauce off, take pasta off 2 minutes before ready and turn sauce back on. Add pasta to sauce, stir, and serve.

IMG_7391

Drink with white wine and enjoy with some buttered toast, Louis Prima, and good company.

Side notes from Franco: this is a summer sauce, winter sauces use bigger tomatoes, a little cream, some sugar, meat, red wine, and lots of garlic. Drink with red wine and follow with espresso.

Side notes from Megan: when Franco first made this for us, he used a small can of crushed tomatoes and supplemented with some fresh grape tomatoes. Since then I’ve made this with only canned crushed tomatoes, with canned plum tomatoes I crushed myself in a food processor, and with fresh tomatoes stewed and crushed in a food processor (as seen here). There’s no one way to do it. Every sauce is unique to the day and to the chef. It’s the Italian way.