Canoodling

 beach

FADE IN

A RESORT IN NASSAU, BAHAMAS, 1986 – DAY

A family of 5 (youngest being a 9 YEAR OLD GIRL) are seated at a poolside table. They have just arrived from the States. The MOTHER and 3 CHILDREN are weary from their trip, but are excited by the clear blue skies and equally blue waters beyond. The FATHER looks around the restaurant area, anxious for someone to come and take their order. A WAITRESS approaches the table.

WAITRESS
How may I help you?

FATHER
Yeah, we’d like five Co-Colas.

WAITRESS
Five Coco Loco?

The FATHER nods.

FATHER
Yes. Five Co-Colas.

The WAITRESS pauses, and then makes a head motion to the 9 YEAR OLD GIRL and asks–

WAITRESS
Five? Coco Loco?

The FATHER is getting rather irritated at this point. His next one-word answer is spoken in several octaves–

FATHER
Yes.

WAITRESS
Yes, sir. Five Coco Loco

The WAITRESS leaves the table and heads to the BAR to prepare the drinks.

Time passes. The FAMILY chats together. Small clouds pass in front of the sun. Various WAIT STAFF pass by the table without stopping. The FATHER grows more impatient. He wants his soda.

The WAITRESS returns to the table, carrying a tray holding 5 white frozen beverages, each with paper umbrellas and fruit garnishes. She begins to place them on the table as she says–

WAITRESS
Five Coco Locos.

The CHILDREN’s eyes grow wide at the sight of the very fancy (and obviously alcoholic) beverages.

FATHER
That itn’t no Co-Cola.

FADE OUT

 

I was that 9 year old girl.

But that wasn’t the only memorable thing that happened on this trip.

Equally notable, but infinitely more terrifying (and far more pertinent to this post) was…

The Banana Boat Incident

Let me summarize:

Family of five boards a banana boat and is towed by speed boat at a fast clip out into the gleaming blue waters of the Caribbean. The speed boat makes nice, large sweeping turns. Middle child (the brother-yes I blame it all on him) leans hard in every turn, eventually throwing the bouncy inflatable raft off balance. Family of five falls into the water. Youngest child is terrified and attempts to climb up oldest child like a ladder to avoid whatever lies at the sea’s floor. Youngest child nearly drowns oldest child and never lives it down. Youngest child also never gets over fear of unseen horrors in the water below.

Back to 2013 – When a cool and learned man from our church began offering canoe lessons, I signed The Man and myself up! Canoeing would be perfect for fighting my water demons, as well as give me something to write about.

And so we went canoeing…

We met our fearless teacher at a local lake for our lesson.

He presented us with a syllabus. Delightful! 

We learned many things about the canoe, like how to pack it for a trip and how to “unswamp” it. A canoe would be “swamped” if it was full of water.

We learned how to steer our canoe slowly and quickly and how to navigate through obstacles. We also learned to communicate with the proper canoeing lingo.

We learned a few tricks, like laying our heads into the dark creepy lake water and switching places in the canoe while afloat.Canoe adventure

Later in the week, we put all our new skills to the test (and learned a few more) on a river trip in the mountains with our teacher, his family, and his other two canoe students. 

We learned how to turn upstream and park in various places, and also practiced paddling in serpentines around our fellow boaters while they remained still.

We learned how to “ferry” straight across the moving river. This could be helpful if we came across a stranded paddle or adventurer that needed retrieving.

We practiced our unswamping skills in moving water.

I faced a few demons and stood in mud up to my ankles. (who knows what was in that muck?!)

I faced a few more demons at our break spot and followed the young fellas down the river, bodysurfing on purpose. This was quite exhilarating in the cold water and all went extremely well until I had trouble getting my footing to come back to the beach. That was downright terrifying! (for a few seconds)

We handled the little Class I rapids with ease. We really enjoyed the last ones, which were closer to Class II rapids (due to the high water level that day).

We had a fantastic time and I left the river feeling quite knowledgable and wanting my own canoe.

Now I just need to learn how to fish!canoeing

One more thing I learned:

Way back when (I’m thinking Jane Austen times), courting couples would hardly ever have any alone time, since most meeting were chaperoned. Some couples would enjoy paddling on two-seater canoes that did not allow anyone else to be present. Going on these sorts of canoe outings, and whatever other activities may have ensued away from prying eyes, became known as “canoodling”.

There was no canoodling going on during either of our outings, but the word sure is fun to say.

Whole Wheat Honey Banana Muffins

Quick to pull together and full of great ingredients to keep the kids’ hunger at bay.

Honey Banana Muffins

A few years ago (in a heavy coo-pon cuttin’ phase) I found this awesome basic muffin recipe from Hillbilly Housewife. It could be made cheaply and quickly, it wasn’t too sweet, and it didn’t come out of a box.

(I highly recommend that website link for great frugal-cooking ideas. I learned a lot from it, and it looks like they’ve added a lot more healthy options since I visited last. I got my original biscuit recipe from the same site.)

baked honey banana

 

As time went by, I altered the recipe a bit to our changing diets. I started using coconut oil instead of vegetable, whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and I’m pretty sure I’ve even substituted almond milk for cow’s milk.
 

It’s a recipe that is simple to change around for what you’ve got on hand. It practically begs you to mess around with it.

I changed a few of the main ingredients in that basic recipe to get to these Honey Banana Muffins:

  • Switched out the processed sugar for honey. 
  • Switched out the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat (ground at Whole Foods, since I haven’t yet gotten a flour mill)
  • Switched out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, and then upped the ante again by switching to unsweetened applesauce (I had a precious home-canned jar available)
  • Added two small overripe bananas and some pecans.

The result was a decently dense (not foamy-squishy or cake-y) muffin that isn’t too sweet. The flavors are simple, fresh, and delicious. Great with butter, whether the muffins are warm or cool. I fill a few muffin cups with batter before I fold in the nuts since the youngest doesn’t like them. The kids have eaten these for two mornings in a row with no complaints. Winning!

Here are your ingredients:

photo

Wet ingredients:
  • 2 small (or 1 large) overripe (brown) bananas – these are softer and sweeter and best for breads and muffins and eating (if you’re me)
  • heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (unsweetened, not “no sugar added”)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (or your favorite alternative)
  • 1/3 cup honey (or 1/2 cup if you gotta have more sweet)
  • 1/2 t salt
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pecans, broken into pieces (or more or none, to your liking)
     
And you’re ready to begin:

muffins to bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mash your bananas with a fork (or a sturdy whisk)
  3. Add the rest of the “wet” ingredients and mix well with a whisk
  4. Add flour and baking soda and stir 20-30 times with a wooden spoon until just blended. Over-mixing is bad for muffins. That’s how hockey pucks are made.
  5. Fold in nuts
  6. Fill greased muffin pan
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned and delicious looking
  8. let cool in the pan for a minute or two before dumping out onto a wire rack
  9. Enjoy warm or cooled, with butter or without.
Honey Banana Nut Muffins
A real-food whole wheat banana muffin. Optional nuttiness with pecans. Sweetened with honey. No oil.
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Wet Ingredients
  1. 2 small overripe bananas (or 1 large one)
  2. heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 cup milk (or your favorite alternative)
  5. 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  6. 1/2 t salt
Dry Ingredients
  1. 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 T baking powder
  3. 1/4 cup pecan pieces (or more to your taste)
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. 2. Mash your bananas with a fork (or a sturdy whisk)
  3. 3. Add the rest of the "wet" ingredients and mix well with a whisk
  4. 4. Add flour and baking soda and stir 20-30 times with a wooden spoon until just blended.
  5. 5. Fold in nuts
  6. 6. Fill greased muffin pan
  7. 7. Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are lightly browned and delicious looking
  8. 8. Let cool in the pan for a minute or two before dumping out onto a wire rack
  9. 9. Enjoy warm or cooled, with butter or without.
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