Baking with Barnes: A Climber’s Diet

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Natasha Barnes, a Mission Cliffs climber, and bona fide rock crusher has been climbing for the past 13 years. In between sending 5.13d sport routes, bouldering problems like Thriller and Midnight Lightning in Yosemite, and going full tilt on the Yosemite offwidth circuit, Natasha works as a chiropactor in San Francisco.

For the past five years, Natasha has followed a strict vegan diet. “I only eat Vegans,” she jokes. Natasha abstains from animal products, processed food, and operates her body on nutrient dense food. She took a moment to talk about what great food helps her send.

Like most climbers I look for cheap and healthy ways to make delicious food. I also love baking. Nothing is cheaper and easier than whipping up a bunch of muffins to take to the crag or give away to other climbing friends as a bribe for a spot or a belay.

Recently I was inspired to bake and have something to go a long with my morning coffee. I wanted something healthy and not too sweet so I looked in one of my favorite vegan cook books for ideas, Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terri Hope Romero. I modified their Almond Quinoa Muffin recipe to suit my own craving and came up with a recipe for Buckwheat Quinoa Blueberry Muffins. Here are some photos and the recipe to follow…


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The batter in the mixing bowl.


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Batter in my well used muffin tin ready to go into the oven.



Where I got the idea for the recipe. One of my favorite vegan cookbooks as well as my favorite vegan cookbook authors.



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Fresh out of the oven.



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The close up. Breakfast for days!!


The muffins came out great. They were moist and fluffy and the blueberries were really juicy and added some sweetness to the recipe. The whole wheat flour, buckwheat and quinoa made the recipe hearty and nutritious without making them seem bland and too much like a “health food” even though they kind of are. These can easily be made gluten-free as well. Ok here is the recipe;

Buckwheat Quinoa Blueberry Muffins

makes 12 muffins

1 cup vanilla soy milk (or other dairy free milk like rice, almond, hemp etc…)

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup (you can add a little more if you want it to be sweeter, these are barely sweet as is)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup of buckwheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease 12-cup non-stick muffin tin. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the soymilk and ground flaxseed and let sit for one minute. Then whisk together the oil, agave nectar, and vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking soda and baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Gently fold the cook quinoa and blueberries into the mix until only the large lumps are gone. (Tip: if using frozen blueberries keep then in the freezer until this steep to prevent them from thawing too much and bleeding blue into the batter). Pour into muffin tin and and bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Enjoy and if you try out this recipe let me know!