If you’re unfamiliar, both cookbooks are co-written by Allen Lim and Biju Thomas. Lim has his doctorate in integrative physiology and Thomas is a chef, and both share a passion for fueling athletes with real, fresh, whole foods. They share a love of cycling and have spent many days together on the road, cooking up delicious meals for pro cyclists and triathletes. I first heard about these two from my friend Jess, who introduced me to Skratch, which was my go-to hydration mix last season. Skratch is also the brainchild of Lim and Thomas, and since I love Skratch so much, I figured I’d give some of their recipes a shot. By the way, I still LOVE Skratch (especially PINEAPPLES!), and will use it occasionally on a shorter run in the heat of summer, or throughout the day before an evening workout.
The Feedzone includes recipes for simple meals to eat before, during, and after a tough workout. My interest was definitely piqued when I read through the “Portables” chapter, or recipes for hand-held snacks that are meant for eating while riding. Um, what?
My mind was blown by the fact that I could eat a rice cake or muffin while I’m in the middle of my long ride instead of shoveling down some chews, a protein bar or a gel. Well, why not? In my “regular” eats, I follow a similar “eat real food” philosophy, so why shouldn’t I maintain that while I’m working out?
So, pretty much every weekend since the beginning of this year, I’ve spent Friday night prepping some kind of “portable” for my weekend’s ride. (Yes, I’m that cool that I spend my Friday nights in the kitchen- they actually don’t take that long to make.) And, you know what? I am hooked.
I’ve become a firm believer that real food is the way to go. I’ve had no bonking on rides (well, except that one where I was riding my heart out so we didn’t have to leave Jess and Courtney by the side of the road for hours), and I feel stronger on the bike than I ever have before.
My go-to is still Allen’s Classic Rice cakes, but the banana and rice muffins are coming in at a close second because they are super easy to make (as are all the recipes, but some are a little more involved than others).
A few weekends ago, I decided to put my own spin on one of the layered rice cakes in the Portables cookbook. The original recipe calls for raspberries and mint, but because it’s strawberry season in Florida, I decided to use those instead. I also had some basil on hand, so I made that swap as well.
The result was a sweet, refreshing, chewy rice cake which was perfect for the ride in the Florida heat. I loved they flavor, and I thought they were so pretty, I’d serve them as a dessert sometime!
I do find that the layered rice cakes are a bit more crumbly/don’t stay together as easily as some of the others (maybe it’s my technique), but I was able to eat them pretty easily on the ride, so long as I didn’t take the entire thing out of the wrapper at one time. Side note: I took the book’s suggestion and bought Martha wrap (well, actually Courtney bought it for me since I’ve been sharing the spoils of my kitchen escapades with her), and it has been life changing. Well, maybe not life changing, but it certainly is the best way to wrap these babies!
Anyhow, I thought I’d share my recipe in case you’d like to start experimenting with rice cakes on your next long ride. Or, just because- since these things taste so darn good!
Adapted from Raspberry and Mint Rice Cakes, Feedzone Portables
2 cups uncooked sticky rice
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 1 heaping cup of strawberries, chopped into small, bite size pieces
1 TBS fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Cook the sticky rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. When the rice is done, add it to a large bowl and stir in the sugar, lemon and vanilla. Stir until blended well.
Spread half the rice mixture into a square baking pan.
Spread the strawberries and sprinkle most of the basil on top of the rice.
Cover with the remainder of the rice and garnish with the last of the basil.
Let stand for a few minutes and then cut into squares and wrap.
Note: these don’t last more than a few days because of the fresh fruit. I tried to eat one after about 5 days in the fridge and the juices from the strawberries just dripped out everywhere!