Taro: Cookie Review

Modern life in Hawaii, which is roughly 2500 miles from the continent of North America, relies on a surprisingly large amount of imported food – up to 85-90% (Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategic Plan, 2012). Historically, native Hawaiians were self-sufficient, and grew a number of plants carried with the first settlers who arrived from overseas in large double hulled canoes. One such plant was taro, or kalo – the Hawaiian name for the plant – which is still grown today throughout the islands, although in much lower numbers.

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The Taro Plant
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Taro Root (photo from Serious Eats)

Taro is an amazing root vegetable that can serve a number of nutritional needs providing: fibre, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and iron. An Oahu based company have taken it upon themselves to deliver those nutrients to a wider audience via a range of unique products. Voyaging Foods evolved to fill a family’s need – read the full story HERE – and now produce taro flours and specially designed baking mixes. Brynn Foster, the master-mom behind the company, is passionate about re-connecting 2015 Hawaii with taro as part of a holistic approach to living. The company is based on three principles:

“Mindful cooking, maintaining healthy lifestyles and sustaining local communities.” 

Already a huge fan of taro, I was honoured and intrigued to test out one of Voyaging Foods products, the Lava Cookie. The instructions were clear, and the mix very simple: create a chia seed gel (a genius egg substitute), stir coconut oil into the pre- assembled Lava Cookie mix, stir in chia gel and then form the dough into small cookie sized pieces and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake. Simple.

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Cookie mix and chia seed gel – about to be mixed together
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Lava cookies straight from the oven

The resulting cookies were delicious with a crumbly yet chewy texture, and a wholesome chocolate taste. I sandwiched pairs of my batch together with a raw macadamia nut frosting (adapted from this frosting recipe on Love & Lemons) – but unfortunately didn’t have a chance to take any more photos for evidence because the cookies disappeared so quickly! I delivered a package to a vegan friend, who gave them her seal of approval and munched on the rest over a busy few days of marathon training and teaching yoga. Overall thoughts – an easy, taro based cookie mixture that will satisfy a range of dietary needs without disappointing on taste or texture – produced locally by an Oahu business. I’m excited to see what Voyaging Foods does next! Keep up with developments via Twitter or their Facebook Page.

Voyaging Foods products are available at the following locations:

  • Aina Hina Farmers Market the first Tuesday of the month – see Facebook for details.
  • Neiman Marcus – from this summer onwards.
  • SoHa stores – launching soon!
  • Whole Foods Hawaii: Honolulu/ Kahala and Kailua stores.
  • Online at: Voyaging Foods.

Watch out for more taro based recipes coming to longrunergy soon, or maybe you already have a ‘go-to’ taro dish? If you’d like to share please post or comment on our Facebook Page: The Long Run Lifestyle.

Finally, if you are interested in reading more about Hawaii’s food security issues see the state’s ‘Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy’ found online HERE. Also check out some of Hawaii’s non-for-profit organisations who are dedicated to raising awareness of the issues surrounding local food, whilst increasing food production and distribution within, and across the islands: Kanu Hawaii, Hawaii SEED, and Slow Food Hawaii.

Happy trails!

Podcast #14 Odeelo Dayondon

Welcome to this week’s podcast episode, featuring an interview with Oahu triathlete and runner Odeelo Dayondon.

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Odeelo and his girlfriend Andee finishing the Lanikai Triathlon 2013

Odeelo might be a familiar face to you, if you’re already a member of the Oahu endurance sport community, but if not, Odeelo is a humble yet inspiring athlete who once started, quickly became a top age group finisher in local races.

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Kona Ironman 2012 – Odeelo exiting the swim

Odeelo and I caught up in a Manoa coffee shop, which was slightly noisy at times – but we persevered and discussed how Odeelo took up running and triathlon, the benefits of joining a training group, why it’s ok to ask for help, and also about qualifying for the Boston marathon.

Listen to the podcast directly below, or look us up on iTunes to subscribe and hear past interviews (Longrunergy):

 

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Odeelo out on the road – Kona Ironman 2012

Read a great account of Odeelo’s Ironman race day experience, and his preparations leading up to Kona on his informative and easy going blog: Delography. And if you want to find out more about the Boca Hawaii triathlon training group, of which Odeelo is a member, then read more about their coaching and training groups here: BOCA Hawaii. You can also read more about how Odeelo and I ran a section of the Honolulu marathon together in December, in a previous blog post on this site, HERE.

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Nearing the finish – end of the marathon at Kona Ironman 2012

Thanks Odeelo for being on the podcast – and thanks everyone for checking in for the latest episode. Watch out for more interviews coming soon and keep an eye on things via the Facebook page, The Long Run Lifestyle.

Happy Trails!

Energy Food!

Hemp seeds are such a great additional extra to any recipe. Full of essential omega-3, numerous minerals and 9 essential amino acids – they are the perfect plant-based bonus to your diet.

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Shelled hemp seeds

As a fan of the Hemp + Honey line, I had been waiting for an opportunity to try a recipe that was recently up on the company’s blog, and when I found out that Evelin, a twitter-friend (@evelinruns) was coming to visit Oahu, well – perfect! The recipe is for Energy Bites – ideal snack food – and since we were planning a hike, the bites would be just the treat.

The original recipe on the Hemp + Honey blog was written by Lauren Blake (see HERE) and consists of a few simple ingredients:

  • 10 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Instructions 

  1. In a food processor combine dates, oats, almonds, and pistachios. Pulse until uniform sized pieces are created but be careful not to over-process.
  2. Add peanut butter and honey to the mixture and and pulse until combined.
  3. Add hemp seeds and dried cranberries and pulse a few more times until well combined. The mixture should start to stick together and pull from the sides some.
  4. Form into desired sized bites (balls) – makes roughly 20.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  6. Roll in hemp seeds and/or shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional).
  7. Enjoy!

To add a little twist to the recipe I switched out the almonds and pistachios for macadamia nuts – and also split the mixture in two before adding the honey and peanut butter, adding 2 table spoons of taro flour to one batch. The two resulting forms of ‘bites’ were both based around the same key ingredients but the taro added extra fibre and a different form of carbohydrate.

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Energy Bites – original on the left, taro based on the right.

Both varities of the Energy Bites went down a treat, and the recipe made a big enough batch that I was able to take them on 2 hiking trips. Not only did Evelin and I dig into the bites at the end of our Lanikai Pillboxes hike (check out Evelin’s blog post about her trip to Oahu HERE) but so did visiting cousins Matt & Sarah, on a hike to Maunawili Falls.

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Energy Bite fuel after hiking 
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Hemp Energy Bites – perfect on-the-go food!

This recipe was easy and I was really impressed by the taste and resulting bite-mixture – plus it is plant-based and so perfect for everyone following a vegan diet. Try it out on an up and coming hike or just pack in your bag – they make awesome, quick yet delicious snacks.

To read more about the future, and significance of hemp go to: Why Hemp?

And check back in for more recipes soon!

Happy Trails!

 

Podcast # 13: Rachel Ross

Just in time for spring, the podcast is back and there are a number of great interviews lined up! Whether you’re looking for inspiration and guidance on how to build health and fitness into everyday life, or training tips and suggestions for your next triathlon, or you just enjoy listening to conversations with some of the brightest people in the Hawaii actif scene – then I think The Long Run Lifestyle podcast will have something for you.

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With beanie – Rachel at the Chicago marathon

First in the line up for 2015 is Rachel Ross, an Oahu based runner with 8 Ironman finishes to her name, and many miles of paddling too! Rachel and I caught up over looking the fairly calm waters of the Hawaii Kai marina where there was plenty of wildlife around – including an atypically friendly Kolea and jumping fish! However it was an ideal setting to hear about Rachel’s journey from high school paddler in the nearby waters to international Ironwoman. With over 20 marathons under her belt, including a PR of 2:58 set in 2012 at the Chicago marathon, and a 9:56 (2007) PR over the 140.3 distance – Rachel has mounds of experience. Luckily for podcast listeners, Rachel shares some insights from being an endurance athlete, and gives a few excellent tips for Honu bound triathletes – hint, hint :)

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Striding out – Rachel (right) on the road

Podcast #13 with Rachel Ross:

Music credit: Juj.

The interview was sadly cut short (technical glitch, I’m still learning… ) but to conclude our interview Rachel took part in a few fun questions for the blog:

LR: Papayas or mangos? RR: Mangos – papayas taste like rotten mangos!!

LR: Coconut or avocados? RR: Avocados for sure – one every day!

LR: Juices or smoothies? RR: Juices.

LR: Tea or coffee? RR: Coffee.

LR: Compression gear or none? RR: Compression – but only post run, as it’s too hot to run all the time in them here, I think!

LR: Track, trail or road? RR: Trail, because the track gives me anxiety. Sometimes I can’t sleep before a difficult track workout.

LR: Mountains or oceans? RR: Oceans – surfing, beach, scuba, or just snorkelling around looking for shells.

Thanks Rachel!!

Rachel will be part of Team Hawaii in The Chase at the up and coming Hapalua half marathon road race in Honolulu, April 12th. You can read more about the Hapalua and Team Hawaii HERE. And, if you’d like to keep up with Rachel check out her awesome blog, which has posts about the Chicago and Honolulu marathons: Run Like A Mother. Or… send Rachel a tweet about the podcast HERE!

Thanks for checking in with the podcast. If you have any feedback or suggestions for people you’d like to hear on the podcast please drop me a line via the contact page, in the comments below, or on the The Long Run Lifestyle Facebook page.

Happy Trails!