Before leaving New Zealand, we were warned of the “northern 20” – the tendency for ‘southerners’ to gain 20 pounds (10kg) when they move to such a small, isolated, cold community in the North.
Although I would never describe Norman Wells as a small, isolated, cold community – at the moment it is drenched in sunlight, sunbathingly warm, full of vibrant community, and weekend adventures – the winter could well be a different story. Perhaps on those snowed-out, minus 40˚C days where all you want to do is curl up by the fire with blankets and bannock the “northern 20” can creep on.
How to avoid this? Because there is no way I’m going to stop baking or experimenting with food I have found two possible solutions (suitable for the summer at least!):
1. Get involved in
all exercise classes. We have the choice here of circuit training, Zumba, Yoga, Nordic Walking, swim classes, baseball (we’re on the team!), running groups (the 10km Bearathon is fast approaching) and of course, personal running, hiking and cycling to explore the huge surrounding area. The 20 hour sunlight is wonderful for this – early morning and late evening excursions are beautiful, with pleasantly cool temperatures, very little traffic on the road and minimal hills.
2. Grow vegetables. I have jammed my little garden bed full of seedlings grown from seed in my ‘sunroom’. I don’t know if the broccoli will survive beneath the green bean plants, or if the cilantro is going to get drowned out by the squash plants, but if I want to eat light, fresh, nutritious meals (and not spend a fortune whenever I want a vege or two), I have to maximize my garden space!
I hope you didn’t think I was going to suggest giving up dessert to ensure the “northern 20” doesn’t catch me! What a joke! But I am happy to adapt a little to create desserts that are more nutritious than malicious – especially during winter when my two solutions may not be so easy to achieve. This one is guilt free – either because its simply oats, applesauce, agave syrup, chocolate and chickpeas, or because, well, one should never feel guilty about eating dessert.
Chocolate Chunk Chickpea Cookie Pie
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie
Serves 8 (or 4…)
1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup oats
1/8 cup applesauce
1.5 tbsp oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup agave syrup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
Blend all ingredients, except the chocolate, in a food processor until smooth. Add chocolate and mix through. Pour into a lightly greased pie dish. Cook at 350˚F (180˚C) for around 35-40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Disregard everything to do with reducing calories and top with a scoop of vanilla bean icecream.
This recipe has been entered in Sweet NZ, the New Zealand monthly blogging event, for the month of June. To read more about Sweet NZ click here. To see June’s collection, keep your eye on this month’s host, Sugar & Spice.