Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Snowboarding SnackPacks

Okay, okay, I get the picture. Post a new recipe already, Tora!

Last week some friends of ours flew in from Toronto for a weekend of skiing at Whistler. I was more excited to "play mom" than to get my rear end flattened and my knees knocked out by hard-packed snow. This is only my second season boarding, you know. Give me a break. However, being a dutiful wife to my snowboarding husband, I got up at 6.00am with everyone else to drive up to Whistler for a day on the slopes.

Wouldn't you know it? I barely made it down one run. One green run, nonetheless. By lunchtime I was ready to call it a day and go sip cocoa in front of a TV while wearing warm clothes. Oh, and get the feeling back in my toes.

But, the highlights of the day were: beautiful clear blue skies, a comfortable temperature, good friends, stunning views from the Peak2Peak Gondola, and tasty snacks. On the ride up we had blueberry-banana muffins topped with a oaty-cinnamony-brown-sugary streusel, and I sent everyone up the lifts with snackpacks of homemade granola bars and sugar baby mandarins.

So, my friends. Today, as penance for not posting since November 24 (shame, I know), you will get two recipes. For the days ahead of skiing and snowboarding which I hope will come to all of us. I, however, plan to stick to the local mountains (Seymour, Grouse, Cypress) in hopes of mastering the bunny hills by the end of this season so I don't continue this trend of breaking myself attempting to slide down a hill while nailed to a plank of wood, trying desperately to look cool.

Road-Trip Blueberry Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, using a pastry cutter, blend the following until it forms pea-sized lumps:

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
dash of cinnamon

Set the streusel mixture aside. In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 large ripe banana, peeled and mashed
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

Stir the dry ingredients into the banana-buttermilk mixture, until it is just mixed. DO NOT OVERMIX! Fold in:

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of streusel, patting it down gently so it just sticks to the batter.

Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes until the muffins are puffy and the streusel is golden brown and you just can't wait any longer to eat them.

To make apple-streusel muffins, substitute one cup of unsweetened applesauce for the banana, and add 1 tsp of cinnamon to the flour mixture. Top with streusel and bake just as for the blueberry-banana muffins.

Granola Bars (to make you swear off Chewy forever)
adapted from a forum post on

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, stir together:

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup of dried fruit of your choice (I like cranberries, but cherries, blueberries, or raisins would all work fine here)
1 cup of nuts, whole or lightly chopped (I like whole almonds, but peanuts, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, would all be delicious!)
1/3 cup chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional... but highly recommended)

In a pyrex liquid measuring glass, stir together:

1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter

Microwave for a few minutes until you can stir it into a smooth mixture. Add:

2 tsp vanilla

Pour the liquid honey/butter/peanut butter mix over the dry oat mixture, tossing to coat everything evenly (this is to ensure your bars stick together!). Pour the mixture into a 9 inch X 13 inch pan, lined with parchment paper (or greased and floured... but you don't really want more grease in these bars), leaving enough paper hanging over for you to pull the bars out of the pan. Press down firmly on the mixture to make sure it will stick together.

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Then, getting your roommate, husband, or boyfriend to help, grab two opposite sides of the parchment paper while s/he grabs the other side (a large spatula slid under the bars helps immensely), and lift the bars out of the pan and let them cool on a rack (still on the paper) until they are completely cool and set.

Cut into small-ish sized bars and wrap in plastic or tinfoil. I underestimated the richness of my bars, and so cut pretty large ones. Taste a bit of yours before you cut so you know how much you can stand to eat in one sitting. These are pretty packed with energy!