Drive into the mountains as an early evening storm rolls in. Arrive at our friends’ cabin, to an enthusiastic tiny person (who looks less and less like a tiny person each time we see him) and a homemade curry dinner. Sit out on their deck, watching a hummingbird buzz as the giant ball of hot plasma makes its way toward the horizon. Eat too much crispy chocolate while listening to Thom and his buddy reminisce about their month-long, celebratory trip to Japan (following the completion of their tour in Iraq). Overdose on deep belly laughs. Hit the hay at 10:30PM because we were all too tired to function (followed by the immediate realization that we are most certainly turning into our parents). Wake up before the sun the next morning, tiptoe around the house so as not to wake our friends who were kind enough to let us crash in their spare room. Get in our compact rental car and drive down the unpaved road as the sky turned from dark and star-speckled to twenty shades of burnt cotton candy. Stop at a gas station for snacks we didn’t really need. Stop at another for caffeine. Arrive at the trailhead at 7AM and hurl ourselves onto a dirt path that would take us up to an elevation of over fourteen-thousand feet, if we’d let it. Take our first break 30 minutes from the summit because 1) I’m stubborn and thought we could make the ascent without taking a break but 2) Thom sensed early-onset hangry and forced me to stop and eat a
snickers cookie. Finally make it to 14,265 feet. Take cover from the wind while eating more cookies and marveling at the fact that these things are within a reasonable driving distance from our front door. Talk about how crazy it is that a month ago we were getting married on a tiny island in the middle of Ireland and now we’re on top of a mountain. And in a week and a half we’ll be on our way to South America.
Make our way back down. Feel relived. Exhausted. Sore. Like we’re probably getting too old to be doing this without taking joint medication. Make a pact to hold one another accountable. To not let life get in the way. To never, ever fool ourselves into thinking we’re too busy to hop in a car and drive into the Rockies. Or hop on a plane and escape reality for an entire month. Because– what’s that saying? The one that’s been falsely attributed to Jack Kerouac for the past five years?
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.
CLIMB THAT GODDAMN MOUNTAIN.
Notes: If you want to be adventurous AND you’ve got unsweetened banana chips on hand, grind them into a fine meal in your food processor. Or you could put them in a plastic bag and beat the crap out of them with a rolling pin. You could also use freeze dried bananas but the flavor isn’t nearly as strong. If you’re not down with using banana chip meal, just leave it out – it won’t change the end result all that much. If you want to use more mashed banana to make these a bit sweeter, you can double the amount and use an additional 1/4 cup (about 24g) of oat flour.
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms. All opinions are my own, and I think Califia rules.
PEANUT BUTTER BANANA TRAIL COOKIES
1 (112g) extra ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup (142g) natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons (22g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/4 cups (78g) pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (55g) Califia Farms original almondmilk
1 1/4 cups (122g) oat flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (98g) thick rolled oats
1/4 cup unsweetened banana chip meal (see notes above)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 ounces good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup, followed by the almondmilk. Add the oat flour, sea salt, and baking soda, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the oats, banana meal, peanuts, and dark chocolate until evenly distributed then wrap bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. Using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared sheet then flatten with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with finely chopped peanuts, if desired. Bake at 325˚F for 14-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cookies can be stored in an air tight container for up to five days. If you’d prefer to freeze them, wrap each individual cookie in a piece of cling wrap large enough that you can triple wrap it. Allow cookies to thaw for 2 hours before eating. Will keep frozen, wrapped in plastic, for at least three weeks.
Yield: 10-11 cookies