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.

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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

Red Potatoes with Kale: Great Post-run Snack

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POTATOES—They Stack Up

Potatoes: The Perfect Carb
Potatoes Provide Just as Many Carbs as Pasta

One large russet potato has:
63g carbs
0g fat
8g protein
7g fiber
Provides:
64% of your Daily Value of vitamin C
53% B6
1,600mL potassium – 3 times the amount in 1 large banana!

All potatoes are rich sources of antioxidants, and russets rank among the top 20 vegetables containing the free radical-fighting compounds.

Potatoes rank high on the glycemic index—higher than pasta, which means their carbs get into the bloodstream fast.

Post-run, potatoes replenish carbs quickly, and topped with protein, such as Greek yogurt (Fagé is my favorite) help repair muscle fibers, helping you recover and refuel for your next run. A perfect runners food—just steer clear of the fries.

Thank you Bastone, Kelly. “The Spud Report.” Runner’s World. Sep 2007: 53-54. Print.

Red Potatoes with Kale:Great Post-run Snack

What you’ll need:

4 medium-size red potatoes
1 medium-size bunch kale
1 t sesame or olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 garlic gloves, minced
½ t black pepper
½ t paprika
2 T water
5 t soy sauce (optional)

Potato Prep—Fill a decent size pot with water and set on the stove to boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil scrub your red potatoes really good. Next cut into 1/2-inch cubes and steam the over the boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until just tender when you pierce them with a fork. Rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil or water in a large nonstick skillet. Add sliced onions and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

While the onions are sautéing rinse your kale and remove the tough stems. I tend to take a knife and run in down one side of the stem and again on the other completely removing the tough stem, your choice though. Then you’ll want to cut or tear the leaves into small pieces.

Once your onions are soft add the potato cubes, pepper and paprika to the skillet. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until potatoes begin to brown.

   
Entertaining myself with the kale stems while the potatoes brown 

Finally, spread the kale over the top of the potato mixture. Sprinkle with the 2 T of water and soy sauce (if used). Cover and cook for a bit longer and turning occasionally for about 7 more minutes, or until kale is tender.

This is a great meal hot or cold. I like adding more sea salt for flavor as I dish it up for myself. Others like adding ketchup or Dijon-style mustard to theirs. Either way, this is a wonderful.

Nutrition per serving: Cal 153; Fat 0.9g; Sat Fat 0.1g; Sodium 232.9mg; Carbs 32.3g; Sugar 2.8g; Fiber 3.3g; Protein 4.4g

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!!

Is it ‘ed-a-me’ or ‘ed-a-mom-may’?

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As of late I’ve been spoiling myself with sushi, sashimi and those stupid soybeans I can never pronouns right.

I am luck to have a job that allows me to work wherever there is an Internet connection. That means I get to choose when, where and how long I take my lunch. However, this also leads to me getting distracted and finding myself in REI or Tidal Wave a lot more than some of their own employees – ha. Though when I’m not shopping, I’m wolfing down some yummy sushi.

I’ve basically narrowed down the healthiest, low-carb. sushi roll you can get at nearly any sushi place. There are a couple different names these specific rolls goes by; the ones I’ve heard of are the naruto roll, rainbow naruto roll, cucumber special roll and the New York naruto roll.

This roll is made with no rice, cucumber, crab, tuna, salmon and avocado. 

And what would a sushi lunch be without edamame beans, also known as soybeans. Now these suckers are addicting. A good friend of mine showed me the best way to eat them is by dipping them in soy sauce before sucking the beans out of there little self-containing pods.

So not only have I been eating a lot of sushi and sashimi, I find myself eating nearly all the table’s edamame beans before our rolls even come out. And here’s a question for you, how the heck do you even pronounce “edamame” anyways?

It’s really funny though; every time I go to order edamame beans I can never pronounce them right. See I find myself saying it ‘ed-a-me’ beans, while I guess it’s actually pronounced ‘ed-a-mom-may’. You know what – I like it my way!

So while getting sushi at a restaurant with friends and family is great, it also can start to become a bit pricy if you go a lot. As a result, lately I’ve been making my own sushi and buying frozen edamame beans from the frozen food aisle.

The biggest bad of frozen edamame bean I’ve ever seen. This 6 lb bag of individually packaged bags of edamame beans couldn’t have been a better deal. They are great, grab one of the frozen bags, throw it in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes, and shazam, now you have yourself a bag of delicious edamame beans you take take anywhere. Throw some soy sauce in the bag, shake, and now they’re even BETTER.

Although I may not go out to get sushi as much as I used to, I still treat myself out maybe once a week rather than the three or four times like before. Also, I’ve noticed that I get a lot more work done when I make my own lunch too – go figure!

This is Amber Signing Off

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Towering at 18,008 ft., Wrangell- St. Elias National Park is home to Mount Saint Elias, the second highest mountain in North America, and where I’ll be living for the next three months.


SEAG — Photo by Adam Nash

In these next couple months I will live and work for St. Elias Alpine Guides (SEAG) in the town of McCarthy, 325 miles east of Anchorage, in the center of the Wrangell mountains. It is a beautiful place. Though beautiful, it is not an easy place to live.

McCarthy is a small, remote town with no bank, gas station or other facilities. In 2006 a small general store was opened, but supplies are very limited and conveniences almost none. There are approximately 150 people in the summer and will get to know most of them very well.

 

The SEAG community is even smaller. I was told it’s like having 25 roommates who you also work with everyday. My quarters will be close and shared with the other guides. The living accommodations are very basic. All my bathing will done in a wood fired sauna, which I hear most people enjoy, but they generally only fire up the sauna a couple times a week, and even then sometimes you’ll just be too tired to jump in.

My toilet facilities will consist of an outhouse and select bushes near my shanty. There are no phones at SEAG, and the one pay phone at the lodge in the middle of town, two blocks away, and is often in use.

Though despite all these things, I couldn’t be more excited and eager to take full advantage of this really unique and rare experience unlike any other job I’ve ever had. I will be working harder than I’ve ever worked before, and for less money. Though the most important thing is that I will be tested and pushed to be own personal limits, while discovering new ones.

“Wish me luck!”

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