August 24, 2014 The Best Morning Coffee Options with a Recipe for Oatmeal Cookies

Nutmeg loves her coffee.

It is a sad morning for Nutmeg AND a difficult day for Ginger if there is no morning coffee.


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April 2, 2014 Easy Snack Solution for Biking in Low Gear

One would think that when biking in France you would never need to worry about food. That is true to some degree, unless you get caught between hours.

Breakfast in France is straightforward; coffee, baguette and sometimes les viennoiserie (croissants and pain au chocolate). Be aware that as the morning wears on, you are more likely to eat stale baguette, than the fancy pastries. This meal is not one that will keep the energy stores high for a long bike ride.

Lunch starts around 12:30 and runs until 2pm. However, typically the traditional (“non-tourist”) restaurants actually do not want to serve much beyond 1:30pm. Then again, do you seriously want to eat a multi-course meal before that next big hill on your bike?  In theory, you could always stop at a boulangerie for a quick bite. Technically, yes but Ginger and Nutmeg have been caught numerous times in small villages where the bakery is closed at 12:30pm, until well into late afternoon.


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March 19, 2014 Un Common Figs

Almost indescribable, the scent of a fig tree full of almost ripe fruit is a fragrance that is both sweet and earthy. Nutmeg had never had the opportunity to enjoy the remarkable smell of the fig tree, before she spent the summer in Provence. The scent is distinctive, almost arresting in the open air, however, in a closed space can be overwhelming.

The fig tree is often referred to as the Common Fig. It grows both cultivated and wild in most countries that are close to the Mediterranean and in many parts of Asia. Some tree varieties will bear fruit up to four times a year.


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February 27, 2012 Energy Low try These Nutty Energy Bars

Nutty Energy Bars

As the kids head back to school and everyone gets back into the post summer routines, including work or work-outs you may need something for an extra energy boost. Do you workout in the morning?  Do you have a mid-morning crash after dropping off the kids, doing groceries and cramming in a workout?  Do you need a snooze after lunch?  If any of these scenarios sound familiar you may need a healthy pick me up snack.  Of course you should balance these little treats with adequate fruits, vegetables and fluids.  These Nutty Energy Bars are delicious, easy to make, do not melt in a lunch box and last for a couple weeks in a sealed container (if you can restrain yourself).

Nutmeg has adapted this recipe slightly, you can play with the ingredients to use your favorites – so far almond, dried cherry is the winner.  Check out the recipe for Nutty Energy Bars and enjoy.  No more energy lows.

Nutty Energy Bars
Recipe type: Dessert or Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15 bars
Enjoy these easy to make, high protein (6 grams) snacks. Remember that endurance sports such as cycling are won or lost by fractions of a second, you may need the energy boost.

  • ½ Cup Peanuts, chopped, I used hazelnuts and almonds
  • ½ Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ Cup Dried Fruit, my favorite is dried cherries
  • 2 Cups Oatmeal, old fashioned or instant
  • ½ Cup Natural Peanut butter, or your preferred kind
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and oatmeal
  2. In a microwaveable bowl, combine the nut butter, brown sugar and corn syrup
  3. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, add the vanilla and stir until well blended
  4. Pour the nut butter and sugar mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until well coated
  5. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 8 inch square pan and press down firmly
  6. Let stand in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight
  7. Cut into squares



January 27, 2012 Energy Bars are the Answer When You Need a Boost

As you may have gathered, Ginger and Nutmeg are both reasonably athletic. Nutmeg might be a bit more dedicated, regardless Ginger will still beat her every time.  Nutmeg does not prescribe to commercial “power bars” on a regular basis although they are handy for endurance activities or outdoor sports, particularly if weather can be a factor.

For longer endurance exercise, such as road riding, you do need a power boost (and may not even realize it). Choose energy bars with the right ingredients or better yet make your own.  The challenge is the array of meal replacement bar products are vast,  and include a range of questionable snacks, many of which are barely better than a good old chocolate bar.  Not to mention an expensive option.  Nutmeg has a recipe for a homemade version if you are so inclined (printable recipe below):

Stamina Bars

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October 19, 2011 Wondering About Dates try some Trail Bars

As you might have gathered Nutmeg is in the desert and it is not that warm so she has some time to add to all the really useful food information in this blog.  So the question about dates came to mind… Here are the facts:

The Date Palm (scientific name Phoenix dactylifera), also known as the Medjool palm is a tall, beautiful and majestic tree that is known for its edible sweet fruits, the dates. The tree belongs to the Arecaceae family and the genus Phoenix. The Date palm produces true real dates. It is the second most known and most useful palm tree in the world after the Coconut palm tree.

The Phoenix Dactylifera is one of the world’s oldest trees. It has been grown for thousands of years in hot, dry, desert regions throughout the world. It is an important multi­purpose tree in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. The Date palm tree is a holy symbol. It was historically mentioned in the Bible, the Koran and other religious books. Many cultures are based on this tree. It has been called “the tree of life”.  The real Date palm can provide all life necessities: food, medicine, shelter, fuel, building materials and  materials for weaving and basket making. It is a symbol of fertility and hospitality in many countries.

The date fruit is one of the most important sources of nutrition for people in the Middle East. It is considered to be a delicacy. The date is a good source of sugar, potassium, protein, fat and minerals. People in this area have eaten dates since ancient times.

Only a female tree can form dates, large trees will produce up to 1000 dates/year.  A tree usually starts producing fruits after 5-8 years.  It takes about 7 months for dates to ripen. The delicious fruits are harvested from September to early December.

Here is a recipe for Trail Bars using dates:

Dates Trail Bars
Recipe type: Dessert or Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20-30 bars
These bars are easy to make, very tasty and mostly filled with good for you ingredients.

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Quick-cooking Oats
  • ½ Cup Wheat Germ
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Almonds, chopped
  • 1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Dates, pitted and chopped
  • ½ Cup Dried Apricots, chopped
  • ½ Cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, ¾ cup honey, and lemon juice until well blended
  3. Combine the flour, oats, and wheat germ
  4. Mix into the honey mixture
  5. Spread evenly into the bottom of an un-greased 9x13 inch baking pan
  6. Set aside
  7. In another bowl, beat eggs while gradually pouring in ¼ cup honey
  8. Stir in almonds, chocolate chips, dates, apricots, coconut, and sesame seeds until they are evenly distributed and well coated
  9. Spread over the crust in the pan
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until center is set, and the top is lightly browned
  11. Cool completely before cutting into bars


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