Lembas is an elven bread described in the Lord of the Rings books. One bite would fill you up and give you enough energy to see you thru a whole day. The biscuits were wrapped in leaves and a bag of them would allow one to walk great distances for days on end. Here, Legolas is going to fill his stomach up with one bite:
I have been experimenting with “energy bar” food ideas for years now, and I like my present recipe enough to put it into a blog post. I find commercially available energy bars are too sweet, hard to chew, and they don’t last that long before I am hungry again. They carry the empty promise of a candy bar with all it’s metabolic highs and lows. I wanted something tasty but not too delicious, easy to eat and digest, high in fat and protein, cheap and easy to make. I don’t want to have to crunch or chew the ingredients that much- I want the ingredients cooked/powdered so they can be more efficiently digested. This is what is in them:
Amaranth seeds: A principal ingredient. High in fat, and it is a complete protein! All amino acids are present and accounted for. Not expensive. Pleasant, with a low-key nutty flavor. Amaranth is related closely to quinoa, but it’s cheaper and lacks that bitter/soapy aftertaste that quinoa can leave. I always cook it first (like rice) before mixing it in the bowl. They may be found in bulk in some health food stores, or via Bobs Red Mill. Amaranth flour can be used instead of the seeds, and it needs no cooking.
Oats: For fiber and some carbohydrates. I use the quick cook variety, there is no need to pre-cook them before putting them in the bowl.
Coconut flour: Protein, fat, fiber, and coconut always tastes good.
Almond flour: Protein, fat, fiber, flavor. And without the laborious and less efficient task of having to crunch the nuts themselves with my teeth.
Egg: Protein and fat, and it helps to bind the cooked result together.
Milk: I mix enough milk in to create a batter that I can spread out in a pan with a spatula. Condensed milk is an option, and will make it richer.. I can use some fruit juice too if I want it a bit sweeter. Milk helps bind the ingredients too.
Grated apple: Adds carbs, texture, and tastes good. The pectin in apple helps solidify everything. Flax meal: I read that it is good for you; why not. Raisins, for carbs and sweet. Unsweetened cranberries are always nice. Cinnamon is good especially if there is apple present. Salt, especially for outings when the weather is hot. Lemon juice and grated rind works well with the apple or cranberry, and adds a preservative effect.
Then it all gets mixed up in a bowl with a spoon, and spread it out in a flat pan; cooked at 350 for 45 minutes, and cut into square, triangles or decahedrons. Full recipe below.
How to eat: Caution! this is not your usual energy bar!
- when hungry, eat a few bites. you will want more but you must-
- Stop!, and wait 15 minutes
- after 15 minutes you will not be hungry any more. For quite awhile.
It is counterproductive to add sugar, and that is not the point of this food. We are looking for a neutral flavor here. Any apple or raisins or whatever else that is sweet you want to add should be limited; there is more than enough natural sugar in those ingredients to make it taste good. This lembas inspired food is intended to get you thru the long haul, not to give you an immediate boost of energy.
Substitutions/ additions ideas:
Adding Chia seeds is a great idea. They are exceptionally nutritious and high in fat. They should be soaked in water for 20 minutes before mixing in the pot. Peanut butter or tahini (sesame seed butter) can be added; very high in protein and fat. Add chopped peanuts. Or whatever kind of nuts you like. A few chocolate chips can be used in a “where’s Waldo?” sort of way to ring those chocolate bells if you need to. Olive oil is an option for even more calories. Vanilla extract adds flavor. Some corn meal or wheat flour could be used, although that will dilute the low carb/high calorie bonanza, which is what this food is about.
First, cook the amaranth seeds:
1/2 cup amaranth seeds
1 cup water
Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until all water is adsorbed.
Next, add everything else in no particular order:
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup quick cook oats
a spoon full of flax meal if you have it
1/2 of an apple, grated. Leave the skin on.
Some cranberries if you got em.
whatever else suits you.
Add some milk and mix everything up with a spoon; keep adding milk until you have the consistency of cake frosting, or something that is easily spreadable.
Butter the bottom of a flat pan and spread it out about 1/2″ thick. Cook at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until the edges are well browned.
Let cool, cut them up, wrap them up in leaves, and store them in the refrigerator. Take them on your next hike or bike ride, or take them to work and use them for when you are tempted to eat junk food. After a few bites and 15 minutes, you will not want those Doritos. I guarantee it.
Cooked and cut. This may be more than a days worth of food.