Last weekend marked an entire month of busy summer weekends. We have one more weekend, the long weekend, before we have a weekend at home in five weeks!
Last week before leaving for camping I received the phone call I had been waiting for – I had an interview with the school district for teaching!
I was in class at the time, and I would have missed the call if my friend hadn’t seen my phone, on silent, light up with an incoming call. She recognized the number because she had a call from human resources earlier that day. I ran out of class to answer it. I don’t even remember what the first few moments of the call were about, I just remember repeating the day and time and the name of the interviewer. Once I hung up my friend and I both jumped for joy in the hallway before slipping back into class.
We both did our practicums together, and played baseball together this year. It was amazing that we also received phone calls the same day and had our interviews booked back to back.
I nervously began creating my educational portfolio to bring with me while still trying to complete assignments before leaving for camping that weekend. I had almost hoped I wasn’t going camping so I could stay home and worry, like usual, about the interview. As most people know me I stress out, a lot, before every quiz, test, assignment and project only to reply ‘it was fine’ immediately after it is finished. Adam always tells me it will be ok, but I am an over-preparer.
Well, I guess my worry and preparation paid off, or, I didn’t need to be worrying in the first place as usual because…
I am HIRED!
After years of schooling, and I mean yeeearssss (it took me 6 years to complete my BA, and another year for my teaching certificate and B.Ed) so 7 all together (isn’t that how long it takes to be a doctor??!), I am finally a teacher.
It is really a life long dream come true. I fondly remember pretending to be a teacher in kindergarten, and always told everyone I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I was so blessed to be interviewed by someone so kind, and whom shared a loss as I have. She had told me about her husbands passing when her children were 7, and I replied that I also lost my father when I was quite young. I told her that it was during the summer, and when I had returned to school in the fall I was happily telling an uncle all about my new courses and he said “if I knew school was going to make you so happy, I wished you had gone sooner.” It is true, school is my passion and I am happy when I am there, both as a student and now as a teacher.
I found these bars on one of my new blog finds, Peanut Butter Runner and they looked delicious. I love anything peanut butter and chocolate, even with a slight peanut butter allergy. However, when I went to Trader Joe’s they had no almond butter. So, I’ve been stocking up on peanut butter.
Cousins Camping Trip ’13
These are delicious and perfect for camping. I brought them along with us this past weekend to our cousins camping trip. I suggest checking them at 20 minutes, and then increasing it in 5 minute increments if needed. You want the middle slightly chewy.
I made them with quinoa flour as Bob’s Red Mill had sent me a package of wheat-free flours to try and I had really wanted to try quinoa. It has a nutty flavour which is great in something like these peanut butter bars, it really enhances them.
Peanut Butter Bars
Wheat Free - Gluten Free
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 large eggs *I also made these with two flax eggs if you're Vegan! +swap out the butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill quinoa flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan that's been lined with parchment paper. (Note that recipe can easily be doubled for a 13×9 but increase baking time.)
- 2.Whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the sugars until mixture is lightened in color and fluffy.
- 3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition and then add vanilla. Reduce mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate, stirring until combined.
- 4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. You don't want to over bake them.
- Yield: about 20-25 small squares
Adapted from Peanut Butter Runner
Adapted from Peanut Butter Runner
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
I have a passion for Bananas. You might say I’m a connoisseur. We usually have one or two large bunches in the house at all times. I love them on their own, sliced over warm oatmeal, mixed in with cool cereal, over ice cream (even banana ice cream), in cookies, as a substitute for butter in many baking recipes, and even in brownies. You might say Banana’s are one of my favourite fruits. I think they’re tied with apples. I feel like apples and bananas are just a given staple in our house, we’re never without either of them. Ok, well maybe not true for this week.
Adam sold his truck last week, so he’s been taking my car to work (since I’m only at school a few days a week). This means during the day I have no car. Although, we live right across from an outdoor shopping centre/mall that I can easily walk to if we actually needed anything. It’s funny, I thought I’d be over there everyday when we first moved in, and much to Adam’s surprise, and probably relief, I don’t go over that often. Maybe once every two-three weeks I’ll walk over and shop (it’s not as hard as I though it’d be to live across from an H&M haha.) This is probably because I’m so busy anyways to even have time to stroll over and peruse.
I have been trying, and I mean trying not to go overboard with buying groceries. I was feeling like we were throwing away a lot of produce at the end of the week because it wasn’t getting eaten. And I wasn’t happy about it (although we do compost all organics.) I tried to blame Adam, because really he won’t make himself food unless I’ve already prepared it. He only eats breakfast at home, lunch at work, and then I make dinner. However, if there is produce etc in the fridge and he’s hungry, he’d rather not go to the hassle of making an entire meal, and opt for something like an apple or bowl of cereal if I’m not making something. He’s not a fan of cooking. So, a lot of the food doesn’t get eaten. And I’m home most of the day now that school is out, and my classes are later in the day. I only really eat a small breakfast and a smoothie, so I’m not making a huge meal other than dinner. But when it comes to dinner it is always heavy on the veggies. But still, I was finding I was throwing out some bad lettuce or even kale, tomatoes, cucumber etc. that I had bought too much of in anticipation of eating it during the week.
I think it’s also our schedules. Lately, I’ve had baseball Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday I have classes until late, and then Thursday I might have baseball again. So, we’re not home for dinner a few nights each week. Which means, lots of veggies get left. Weekend are usually ok, because we’ll make dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday at home.
In the end, I’ve realized I have to buy less groceries. Even though Adam can eat a lot. Usually we’ll just go up to the produce market or the butcher shop that night if we want to make a specific meal. Now, I do love meal planning, and I always have some idea of what I want to make that week, but I won’t buy all the items just in case we actually don’t get around to having time for dinner that week.
I have to say, it’s actually nice not to have to go on a big grocery run, or think I had ‘better go buy that.’ It’s against my usual habits, but I think I’ll get used to buying less. And hey – even better, less money, and no money/food wasted, which was my biggest concern, wasting food.
Do you do a big grocery shop at the beginning of each week? Or do you buy-as-you-go for meals, and pick up that day?
One thing I never worry about really is fruit. If it’s starting to brown, it goes in the freezer. And when it comes to Bananas, you can never waste them. If they’re really brown/starting to brown, they either get sliced up for banana ice cream, whole for banana bread, or for smoothies and put in the freezer.
And even better – 2-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice cream. My new favourite combination.
It’s super easy, and can be prepped well in advance, and kept in the freezer for up to a month. For summer I think I’ll have a batch in the freezer each week for a quick healthy, yet satisfying, sweet frozen treat to beat the heat.
2-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
*Wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan*
- 4 Medium ripe bananas
- 1-2 Tbsp. All Natural Peanut Butter
Slice your bananas, and place into a plastic freezer bag. Make sure they are in a single layer, and lay flat in the freezer. Allow to freeze overnight, or up to a week.
Remove frozen banana slices from freezer and place in food processor.
Turn food processor on and blend bananas, stopping to scrape down when needed. This will take about 5 minutes. Pulse if you need to, and stop to scrape down the sides so the chunks all get mixed int.
Allow to blend until smooth. When it is all blended, add in the Peanut Butter. Pulse again until completely mixed.
You can eat it like this, soft serve, or, transfer ice cream to a plastic tupperware container and return to freezer. Freeze at least 3-4 hours, or longer before serving. Keep leftovers in the freezer.
Happy long weekend everyone!
We’re off to the island this weekend for some camping, atv’ing and boating! I am so excited – I haven’t been ‘real’ camping for a while, and I’m really excited to go with some friends of ours who we haven’t seen for a while. They live on the island, we live on the mainland, so we only get together every now and then. And, they’ve made the trip over here the last couple times so I figure it was our time to take the ferry across. I also haven’t been on a ferry for a long time, after living on the island for school one semester I had my fair share of ferries. However, BC has a beautiful coastline and the ferry ride is gorgeous. I’m hoping the clouds part and we have a sunny, smooth sailing.
Camping was always our summer family vacation. We weren’t the cross country, road trip family. The first time I went on a plane with my mom, dad and brother for a family vacation, I was almost 16 years old. We went to San Francisco and then cruised home on a 3 day cruise back to Vancouver. So, when I grew up every summer I looked forward to our family camping trip.
Without fail we went to Cultas Lake with my dad’s cousin, his wife and their kids (my cousins.) Every year it was a crazy fun family adventure, and every year we got rained out. Like, every year. We never left, however, we just had to put up with the pools of water inside the tents and the makeshift tarp rain cover, giving us a good reason to laugh about it. Although my parents might have had less than perfect camping experience, as kids, we absolutely loved it. There are so many stories we tell over and over from those camping trips. One year my dad and uncle dropped off the wives and kids a week before the ‘men’ could come, and it rained the entire time. Mom never told dad, but we went into town and ate every. single. night. because it was such horrible weather. When my dad and uncle joined us after, they said “let’s go into town for dinner,” thinking that we had a rough week in the rain and it would be a nice treat. Little did they know we had actually already been into town, at the same restaurant just the night before.
It’s nice to be able to reminisce about them now, and I’m thankful that we had those experiences with my dad while he was here. Family holiday’s don’t have to be glamourous, and I think camping is the perfect family vacation to get away from all our technology and unplug, and reconnect with each other.
However, now, camping is simply an excuse to get a tan, hang out with friends, go boating, and have a good time. When we have our own little family, I look forward to planning family camping trips, come rain or shine.
I have done a TON of pre-baking, cooking and packing before we leave. I think it’s the teacher in me – I have to be organized. Adam thinks we have too much food, but I say it’s better to have too much than too little. Plus, we can always bring non-perishable stuff back with us. I’ve pre cut, pre-washed and prepped all of our veggies and fruit to make it easier once we’re there.
Also, I can’t believe how much we’ve packed for the two of us. Every time we go on vacation I ask Adam “how the heck did our parents do it, with kids!?” I feel that the car is packed full for just us, and can’t imagine doing it with a full family! I laugh now, because my dad would always load our full sized BBQ into the back of our van to take camping. It was huge, and heavy! I have no idea how we packed so much stuff each year with coolers full of food (let alone, thinking about what to cook and make sure it doesn’t go bad), the tent stuff, bikes, and clothes for everyone. I guess I’ll learn how to some day!
So far I’ve prepped/made:
- Chicken, sliced, marinated and frozen for Fajitas (thaw during the day for dinner + keeps cooler colder)
- Peppers and onions sliced, for fajitas
- Guacamole, for fajitas and chips
- Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free banana berry protein breakfast muffins
- Hard boiled eggs for lunch or a quick breakfast if we go out boating/fishing early
- Steaks, marinated for dinner
- Marinated Quinoa Salad for lunches/dinner made + stored in large ziploc
- Kale and grated carrots and red onion, and nuts + dressing to make marinated kale salad
- Homemade trail mix for the car
- Dark chocolate and cranberry sugar free oatmeal breakfast/snack cookies sort of like my cowboy cookies
- Caramelized onions, pre-cooked to reheat for Smokies
- Washed and cut strawberries
- Washed blueberries
- Washed apples
- 2 jars of sliced carrots and celery with water to keep them crisp
Phew! I was up until 10 last night prepping. And so far we have made 3 trips to Wal Mart to get things we forget. Needless to say, Adam and I are both excited to go camping! And, we are now fully stocked for any future camping/picnic adventure.
I also made these no-bake peanut butter cookies. They’re sort of like the protein pods I make, but without the protein (though I also added it to a second batch.) They’re delicious, and a quick healthy cookie on the go if you’re craving something sweet.
**** And – I’ve discovered a secret to making smooth, round cookie dough balls! You need to puree the dates FIRST, and then add the oats etc. For my protein pods I always throw in the dates after I grind the oats/almonds, but If you puree the dates separately, and then add the oats after it will give you super smooth, super chewy smooth cookie dough!! ****
No Bake Raw Peanut Butter Cookies + the secret to smooth dough balls ;)
- 10 Medjool Dates
- 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
- 1 cup rolled oats, not quick oats
- 1/2 – 1 cup almonds
- 1-2 Tbs. Water
First, in processor grind oatmeal and almonds until form a powder. Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.
Next, add dates and water in small dish and microwave for 30 seconds. This makes the dates softer, and the water helps when pureeing to make a paste. Add to food processor and process about 1 minute, scraping down sides when needed. If it’s still thick, add a little more water, you want it a paste, but not ‘watery.’
Then, add your oat/almond mixture back to the food processor, along with 1/4 cup of all natural peanut butter. If you want to make these with protein, add your protein powder now too. Process for another minute or two, scraping down sides when needed.
When dough starts to form, remove and roll into 1” balls. Use a fork to mark the tops like regular peanut butter cookies. Store in container in the fridge.
They taste even better after they’ve been in the fridge, like most baked goods.
Have a great long weekend, Canada!