Another double-whammy post is coming your way today! Which should be a good thing (I hope). I’m sharing the recipe for my latest breakfast addiction: cacao-puff clusters (quite a mouthful I know). Aaaand a little write-up from last week’s race, the Sussex County Champs at Bexhill. There should be something for everyone here, so I really hope you enjoy reading this post!
Okay, so I know the name might sound a bit confusing. Or like I’ve just randomly dumped a few ingredients into the title. But I couldn’t come up with anything more creative, and to be honest, “cacao-puff clusters” perfectly describes what they are. My brother and I sometimes find that granola can be a bit heavy in the mornings. Don’t get us wrong, we love granola, but occasionally we find it deceiving. It’s so easy to fill your bowl to the top and then get major food regrets when you’re too full to finish the last mouthful.
I set out to create a recipe for a slightly lighter-but-just-as-delicious alternative. They’re kinda like cocopops crossed with granola. I don’t know about you but that sounds good to me. The ingredient list might look slightly long, but chances are you’ll have most already. Plus it’s such a versatile recipe that can easily be adapted to what you’ve got in your cupboards.
Thanks to the Cacao+ superpowder by Nature’s Heart Superfoods, these puff-clusters have such a rich, bitter-sweet chocolate flavour. In case you’ve not come across it before, it’s basically a blend of raw cacao powder with bee pollen (so not vegan), maca, goldenberry and lucuma powders. These balance the bitterness of the chocolate and add an oncredible depth of flavour. If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute with plain cacao/ cocoa powder, but you might need to add a touch more sweetener.
Disclaimer: this is not an ad, however Nature’s Heart kindly sent me their full range of products to experiment with.
A lightened-up granola that is a delicious hybrid between cocopops and granola. Amazing served with (plantbased) milk or yoghurt, as a topping on a smoothie bowl or straight-up as a snack. I won't judge you if you eat it all in one sitting!
- 75 g brown rice puffs
- 50 g jumbo oats (gluten free if necessary)
- 35 g coconut chips (mine are from Koro)
- a handful of mixed nuts, finely chopped (~40g)
- 25 g peanut flour (or almond)
- 2 generous tbsp cacao+ superpowder
- 50 g overripe banana, mashed with a fork (~1/2 a large)
- 2-3 tbsp liquid, sticky sweetener (I used date syrup)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (~ 15g)
- 2 heaped tbsp nut butter of choice (I used almond)
- a pinch of sea salt
- a few tbsp (plantbased) milk of choice (I used hazelnut)
Preheat your oven to 180C/ fan 160C. Measure out the brown rice puffs, oats, coconut chips, chopped nuts, nut flour and sea salt into a bowl and mix together. Set aside while you make the chocolate mixture.
Place the remaining ingredients minus the milk in a saucepan over a very low heat and allow to melt together, stirring to combine. You should end up with a very thick mixture; thin it out by adding the milk, a tbsp at a time, until glossy but still quite thick.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients together, then pour onto a lined baking tray. Spread into a thin and even layer, then use your hands to form little clusters by compressing some of the mixture together (if you want clusters!).
Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven, stirring halfway to ensure it doesn't burn. These cook quickly so keep your eye on them! Leave to cool completely so that they crisp up, before storing in an airtight jar for 1-2 weeks (if they last that long).
Sussex champs: an extra muddy mile
Last weekend, I returned to Bexhill to battle through the mud on what would be a slightly longer course than last time. Although an extra mile of pain probably sounds awful, I actually preferred the longer distance. Now that I’m training for the half marathon, I do find that my declining speed is definitely being compensated for in my increasing endurance. You can’t have it all I guess! Anyway, the weather down south has been awful over the past few weeks, so I expected a lot of mud. Trust me when I say that it did not disappoint on that front!
back to school
Having just gone back to school on the Wednesday before, by Friday I was feeling pretty exhausted (mentally and physically). This obviously made me more nervous than usual, but after a soak in my bath salts I felt a bit better. A good night’s sleep helped me to further get rid of some of my nerves, as well as some stretching and foam-rolling. I also had my usual pre-race breakfast of porridge (which I showed you how to make on my Instagram stories!) with all the toppings.
Upon arrival, we (Amy and I) went to the toilets, collected our numbers and walked/ jogged the course. We also obviously went to the toilets another 10398953475 times. Anyway, I wasn’t feeling too bad before the race so I finished off my prep with some drills, stretches and strides. As we were the last race of the day, the course was completely churned up and losing a spike was on my fear-list. Thankfully I didn’t 😂
We had to wait a ridiculously long time on the start-line for the time-keeper to arrive, but finally the gun went. The first lap went quite quickly, but I annoyingly got a bad starting position and therefore got quite held up in the woods. Coming round for the second lap, a lady kept cutting me short and running just in front of me but I managed to get rid of her (I’m not that mean I promise!). The middle lap was probably the worst for me, and I was worried that I would drift. However I knew that if I just held on to my team member then I’d have enough strength to smash the last lap.
the final straight
My stamina definitely kicked in here, and I didn’t allow anyone to overtake me. The mud had started to completely clog up my shoes and weigh me down, so my legs were feeling pretty dead. Crossing the finishing line, although I felt exhausted, I knew I could’ve done better. It’s hard to explain but if you’re a fellow runner I’m sure you’ll understand! When you have a good race, you just get that feeling, and sadly I didn’t get it then. However I know that not every race can be your best, and I am overall pleased with how I did.
After a warm-down jog, we headed off because we were waaay too cold to wait for the medal ceremony and we didn’t even know at this point if our team had got one. It turns out we got the bronze team medal, and I was very pleased with being the second to score for my club. I also later found out that I’d been less than 10s off the individual bronze for Sussex U20. So close yet so far…
Another huuuge post, but I hope it was worth it and that there was something for you! I’d love to see your creations if you have a go at this recipe, so make sure to tag me on Instagram @fruitsandroutes.