EZ Chocolate Chip Waffles

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What a non-stop, crazy-packed, go-go-go week it has been.

In my efforts to draw back to something so familiarly calming, yoga, I set my alarm early intending to rise for an early morning session.

Ha. Not very likely.

When am I going to just accept the fact that I’m not a morning person and stop making early morning exercise pipe dreams? So instead of waking up early for yoga this morning, I did something else that would equally calm me, cooking.

For breakfast, I fashioned a Van’s 8 Whole Grains waffle by placing tiny chocolate chips in each little hole. WOW! Why didn’t I do this earlier? This sucker was so good I was tempted to make another, though I didn’t, it was truly a treat and got me motivated enough to lace up my running shoes and go for a late morning run.

Ingredients:
1 Waffle
15-20 Chocolate Chips

Simply take your waffle and place as many chocolate chips as you want in every other hole making sure that the tip of the chip goes in first.

Then place the waffle into your toaster or conventional oven for about 2-5 minutes. Watch as the waffle crisps and as the chocolate chips melt. Once it looks done, take it out and let it cool.

  ENJOY!

 

Extra Toppings:
A dust of cinnamon
Drizzled agave
A spoonful of almond or natural peanut butter
Slices of banana
A dollop of whip cream

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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Banana Bread

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  Warning! Warning! 

This recipe is moist, nutty, rich, scrumdiddlyumptious, and may cause injury from impatient family members waiting to be fed.

Don’t blame me!

Blame the delicious bananas that make this bread absolutely perfect.

BAKE WITH CAUTION!

Instead of making banana “bread” I decided to make banana “muffins”. You follow the same recipe, though instead of using a bread pan you use muffin tins.


NOTE: the recipe calls for sour cream. If you don’t have sour cream, you can substitute plain or vanilla yogurt instead. The measurements are the same, you will still need 16oz of yogurt. 

You want to choose the “right”
“type” of bananas – he he

“Despite” the color, the “right”
“type” of bananas are the “ripest” ones

   

We ate almost all of them that night.



ENJOY!

Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana

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I had just finished running a race and I was feeling great! Though full of energy, I was still a bit sore from the run.

I decided to go for a walk around downtown and to find something to eat at the Saturday Market. Funny, but I don’t know what I was thinking going to the Saturday Market for food? I mean really, what was I think, practically everything there is battered and deep-fried.

After scooping out the scene I still finding it very difficult to find anything that wasn’t going to put me into cardiac arrest. Though there was, it read “Stuffed Bananas”. I cocked my head and started walking toward the booth. The women greeted me a big smile and asked “How can I help you today?” What can you get for me…? I am thinking what the heck is this all about.

The women had given me quite a description of “what” a stuffed banana was (if the name wasn’t obvious enough) and “how” they stuffed each banana. This was hilarious!

Basically, she has this device that cradles the banana and then straps which strap that sucker down. Next she takes this thin pipe and cores through the middle of the banana. Finally, she un-straps the banana from the device and brings it to another machine what will pump it full of whatever stuffing you want (i.e. peanut butter, Nutella and even strawberry cream cheese).

Completely blown away with this whole operation, I knew right away that I’d have to figure out a way to do this on my own at home.


Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana

What you’ll need:
Peanut butter
Banana (the straighter the better)
Hard plastic straw
Sandwich bag

Ooo Peanut Butter


 

  1. First, take your sandwich bag and stuff about 1/2 C of peanut butter as far into one of the corners as possible.
  2. Then cut a small hole in the corner you stuffed all the peanut butter in.
  3. Next take your banana and cut 3/4 of the top off.
  4. You will then hold the banana in your hand with the cut side facing you.
  5. Take your hard straw and as straight as you can stick it through the banana.
  6. Finally, take your sandwich bag (with the peanut butter already in it) and slowly start squeezing the peanut butter into the banana.

TA-DA!

Peal and ENJOY!

You can let your imagination run wild with this one. A couple of my favoriate mixes are peanut butter and honey, and peanut butter and Nutella. Both are heavenly! You can do this by mixing the peanut butter and honey/Nutella prior to putting it into the sandwich bag.

Bananas: Perfect Post-Run Treat

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Ever since training for my first half-marathon, I’ve been much more aware of the kinds of food I eat and making sure that I get the most out of each mile ran.

Some great pre-run snacks (30-60 minutes prior) I like are:

  • Milk and graham crackers – meaning 2 crackers, not the entire sleeve
  • A waffle with a smear of peanut butter – great grab-n-go snack
  • Trail mix with whole grain Cheerios mixed in
  • For longer runs:
  • Toasted bagel with peanut butter and cut up bananas on each half
  • Oatmeal – I like Quaker Weight Control because it has a higher fiber and protein count than regular oatmeal

Remember, it is very important to eat within 15 minutes of completing your run for a quick recovery. Many runners remember to fuel their bodies before they run, however, many often forget to replenish the necessary nutrients they had burnt off afterwards.

Some great post-run snacks I like are:

  • Brown rice with bananas and skim milk – adding cinnamon or agave makes this a great choice
  • Red potatoes with kale – potatoes are a great alternative to pasta
  • Hummus on pita bread – great carb and protein combo
  • Spinach and tart cherries – tart cherries are a great anti-inflammatory snack
  • Thick ol’ peanut butter and banana sandwich – my favorite!

Speaking of favorites, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and the biggest reason why a peanut butter and banana sandwich is my favorite is because of the nutritional benefits a single banana provides me pre- or post-run!

Why Bananas Are Good for Runners?

The potassium found in bananas is one of many reasons why runners go “bananas” over them. One of the biggest benefits of the potassium in the banana is that it can help prevent muscle cramping. Your body relies on a specific mineral balance: potassium, calcium and magnesium. And when these minerals become unbalanced your muscles can, and most likely will, react by cramping.

Another reason why runners love bananas is because of its ability to support proper muscle growth and development.

While bananas are known for their high potassium content (one medium banana having 422 mg), there are many other foods that are a great source of this important nutrient. Some such as:

  • Avocados – 1 avocado has 975 mg of potassium
  • Cantaloupe – 1 cup of cubed cantaloupe has 427 mg
  • Tomatoes – 1 cup of chopped or sliced tomatoes has 427 mg
  • Spinach – 2 cups of raw spinach has 335 mg
  • Broccoli – 1 cup of raw, chopped broccoli has 287 mg
  • Celery – 1 cup of chopped celery has 263 mg
  • Romaine lettuce – 2 cups of shredded Romaine has 232 mg

Bananas are also great for:

  • Heartburn – almost brings immediate relief because its natural antacid effect on the body.
  • Stomachaches – its soft texture and smoothness helps neutralize the acid in your stomach.
  • Hangovers – blending together a banana shake with a little honey help replenish the body’s vitamins and restores blood sugar levels to normal.
  • Mosquito bites – rubbing the inside of a banana peel against a mosquito bite will help reduce the itching
  • Treating warts – by rapping the outside of banana peel around your foot so that it is against the wart will help it go away in time
  • Eating! – Remember the conventional saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” When compared with an apple, a banana has 4X protein, 2X carbohydrates and 5X Vitamin A – making the banana a super food!

Thank you to Livestrong.com 

How to Open a Banana: The Correct Way

The Tea Trifecta-effect!

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This tea “es muy delicioso”
Cheers!

I have always been a tea drinker; though tend to choose coffee rather than tea when given the option, though now I find myself drinking more tea then ever before. I can barely keep up with the amount of peeing that is a direct effect due to the massive amounts of tea I’ve been drinking. You may be wondering why all of a sudden I am drinking more tea now than ever before, and wondering why not coffee.

Currently I live in McCarthy, which is roughly 315 miles from Anchorage. Before arriving to McCarthy to I lived and worked in Anchorage. I left a good job, friends, family and very confused boyfriend behind to work for a guiding company, St. Elias Alpine Guides (SEAG), which is located in the heart of the largest National Park in the nation, Wrangell-St. Elias.

Working in Wrangell-St. Elias has its advantages and disadvantages, for example because I live in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, I can’t just run to the corner and pick up a Venti nonfat no whip no foam mocha, it just isn’t happening. Also because it is substantially colder here then in Anchorage, my options are either: walk around with three or more layers on, which wouldn’t be the most comfortable option; suck-it up and just deal with it, which most the time results in the response of “holy crap you’re freezing,” after touching someone’s arm or hand; or my favorite more preferable option, drink dozens of cups hot tea throughout the day. This keeps your body warm as well as your hands, plus tea is really good you. That my friends I like to call the trifecta-effect!

Picture this… lil’ol freezing Amber getting all excited every time she runs to the sink to fill up her teapot, because that is exactly what happens every time I go and fill up my teapot – Ha Ha. So as I light my stove burner and wait for my water to boil I run to my food shelve and reach for my mason jar of sugar and my box of Good Earth tea then run back just in time to hear my tea whistling. Now this is my favorite part. I rip open my tea and slowly pull out my teabag and detach that lil’ paper tag from the teabag and then rip it off!

That’s wats’up

Why rip it off? I rip it off because each and every tag has its own quote on them. I would rip them off, read it, smile and then if it was a really really good quote I’d stick it in my pocket for later. For what I don’t know, but I knew I wanted to save them.

Well as you may have guessed, I have a lot of these little teabag tags scattered all over the hooch (thatched hut or a small roughly constructed building). So in attempt to “do” something with them I created this post to share them with you. I still don’t know what I’ll do with them all, but at least they won’t be scattered all over the place, and well, this is my also my attempt to clean up my hooch. So warm up some tea and enjoy reading some of these little tidbits of advice, thoughts and perspectives of some really cool people.

Sip slowly and enjoy!

  • All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion, and desire. – Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
  • When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. Now I’m beginning to believe it. – Clarence Darrow (1857 – 1938)
  • The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. – William James (1842 – 1910)
  • It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one. – George Washington (1732 – 1799)
  • Use soft words and hard arguments. – English proverb
  • Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. – Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)
  • Punctuality is the virtue of the bored. – Evelyn Waugh (1903 – 1966)
  • It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle
  • We make war that we may live in peace. – Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC)
  • Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. – Unknown

Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!)

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If you live in Alaska you are either here because of a job (i.e. seasonal, north slope, fishing) or because of the endless adventures the state offers anyone will a desire to get as far away from society as possible and dominate some serious terrain.

Rock climbing Memorial Day weekend at Wiener Lake   Rock climbing Memorial Day weekend at Wiener Lake

If you haven’t guessed, I’m hear because of the mountains and how they prove time and time again to challenge and push me to my farthest limits then the time before.

As a adventure seeking-, trail blazing-, ridge running-kind of girl I need to make sure my body is properly fueled. After trying every energy bar known to man, and spending as much as a double shot, two pump vanilla, skinny vent latte would cost for a single bar. So I got this crazy idea to start making my own energy bars. Not so crazy once I realized how simple it was to make a dozen bars for a quarter of the price if I’d bought the traditional bars from the store.

I spent a lot of time reviewing others recipes and comparing different versions and combinations. After experimenting with dozens of different recipes and mixtures I was able to finally find the perfect, easiest energy bar. Plus it doesn’t require you to cook or bake anything — and of course, they are by far the most tastiest bar I’ve experimented with too.

Thank you to Camilla Saulsbury, author of Enlightened Cooking!

When I first followed her recipe I quickly realized how easy you can teak the mixture as much or as little as you want.

First, I ALWAYS double the recipe! Second, instead of pressing the mixture into a 13×9-inch or 8-inch pan, I use muffin tins! Not that using a pan doesn’t work, but using a muffin tin makes packaging much easier.

Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!)

NOTE: I ALREADY doubled the recipe for you!

  • 2 and 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
  • 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries/craisins, cherries, blueberries, apples, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds (pepitas, walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, etc.)
  • 2/3 cup brown rice syrup (I use honey, it’s less expensive)
  • 1 cup nut butter (preferably natural, well-stirred. I use Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter or Maranatha Natural Almond Butter, both you can get at Costco)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamonCombine the Rice Krispies cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.

Combine the syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well-blended (alternatively microwave in small microwave-safe bowl 30-60 seconds until melted). Stir in vanilla until blended.

Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (use a wooden spoon at first, then get your hands in it. It will be sticky, but this way you can really coat everything).

Press mixture firmly into your pan or muffin tin. Use your hands, and really press into the pan. Cool mixture by placing your pan in the freezer for at least 15 minutes to help it set.

Then use a butter knife to pop them out of the muffin tin. However, if you used a square pan allow the mixture to chill at least 30 minutes. Then cut into desired bar size.

Finally, wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Variations:

••Chocolate Chip-Walnut••
Replace the dried fruit with an equal amount of semisweet miniature/regular chocolate chips. Combine the cereal mixture with the syrup mixture, then LET MIXTURE COOL BEFORE ADDING THE CHOCOLATE. I freeze some chocolate chips while I’m preparing everything else. If you add the chips to the mixture while it’s hot they melt and the bar will be a brownie-like bar rather than a chocolate ‘chip’ bar. Add walnuts for nuts/seeds and use honey.

••Pepita-Cranberry••
Use chopped cranberries/craisens for the dried fruit and raw pepitas for the nuts/seeds and use honey.

••Peanut Butter••
Use chopped dates for the dried fruit and dry roasted peanuts for the nuts. Use honey for the syrup and Jiff/ Skippy peanut butter for the nut butter.

••Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip••
(My favorite)
Replace the dried fruit with an equal amount of semisweet miniature/regular chocolate chips. LET MIXTURE COOL BEFORE ADDING THE CHOCOLATE (freeze the chips prior to adding them). Add dry roasted peanuts for the nuts. Use honey for the syrup and Jiff/ Skippy peanut butter for the nut butter.

••Will You Cherry Me?••
Use chopped dried cherries for the fruit and slivered almonds for the nuts. Use any nut butter (almond butter is great, but I know, a bit pricey–but worth it!), and add ONLY 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (it’s strong).

••Apple Pie••
Use chopped dried apples for the fruit and honey for the syrup. Be sure to add the cinnamon option, and use toasted walnuts or pecans for the nuts. I personally love the pecans in this one!

••Blueberry-White Chocolate Chip••
Replace the nuts/seeds with an equal amount of dried blueberries. Add semisweet miniature/regular white chocolate chips. LET MIXTURE COOL BEFORE ADDING THE CHOCOLATE (freeze the chips prior to adding them). Use honey and skip adding vanilla. This bar is very sweet as is without adding vanilla or almond extract.

If you want to get really creative, melt some chocolate and pour a thin layer over the bars. This helps ‘seal’ the bar even more. This is great with the chocolate chip-walnut, will you cherry me? and peanut butter-chocolate chip variations.

  

Sampling  YUM – Perfect Yummy

Cliff Bars in muffin tin  

ENJOY!!

“Wait – What? Okay, that does actually sound amazing.”

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This was exactly what my brother said when I told him what I had created the night before.

First you need to know some things before you can truly appreciate the ridiculousness of this story.

My dad currently lives in Big Lake, Alaska, which is roughly an hour out from Anchorage. So basically I only go out to visit him on the weekends, and usually stay the entire weekend. Also because my brother still lives at home it makes it a lot easier to get two butts moving out the door to do something outdoors when they both in the same house.

For example, Hatcher Pass, Matanuska Peak, Pioneer Peak, etc. are also within a half an hour or so from my dads. Basically making my dads house the perfect “base camp” for a lot of our hiking trips. PLUS he has a hot tube to relax in after a big hike.

So in effect what ends up happening once my dad finds out that I’m coming out for the weekend, is him going to the grocery store to restock the house with munchies, peanut butter, cereals and breads. He does this because he knows once I get there the ravishing begins.

I usually go through much of what he has in his kitchen to put something together for an overnight hike/ long day hike out. Meaning, using all his munchies, peanut butter, cereals and breads up. As a result, once I leave the house is pretty empty. My dad likes to call us little tornados.

“Hide anything you don’t want eaten,” he says. “The kids are coming for the weekend.”

Now that you know the ridiculousness of what takes place at my dads you will now find this story even sillier.

A couple weekends back I was out visiting my dad and brother with the intentions to go hiking. Long story short, Sunday night comes rolling around and all the practical food in the house was once again gone. We demolished and cleared out most of my dad’s snacks, cereals, oatmeal, breads, etc.

It was late evening and I wanted something to snack on. After opening and closing the cabinets and drawers I find nothing. AND as a side note, why do we open and close the refrigerator and cabinets over and over again even after knowing there is nothing in them…? Odd.

“Perfect!” I said. I spotted a box of pancake flour. As I went to reach for the box I quickly realized that there was just enough for roughly two, maybe three pancakes. Excited, I grabbed the pan I needed, and a bowl to mix the pancake dough in. After pouring the last of the flour pancake flour in the bowl I continued to add the following ingredients:

  • Roughly 1 – 1 ½ C pancake flour
  • 1 C water (or to a nice consistency)
  • 1 egg
  • I’d say ½ C oil
  • 5 shakes of cinnamon straight from the jar
  • ½ C of coconut flakes

Mix and pour the mixture on to the pan and cook like a regular pancake

Now as these three pancakes where cooking on the pan I was digging through the cabinets (yet again) to find something to put on top of the pancakes (i.e. syrup, butter, peanut butter). I found nothing. No syrup, no butter, no peanut butter – nothing! “Crap!”

“Oh wait, what is that I see?”

I spotted a can of condensed milk.
Yes. I used condensed milk as syrup
on top of my coconut pancakes.


These pancakes I kid you not were so amazing and sweet. My stomach is growling right now after writing this post. I’m actually about to go make another right now. Okay, just kidding, but seriously do not these pancakes sound AMAZING?

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