My husband has a new lucky number – #13.
He competed in his first ever kayak race today, the “Kaw-lloween Classic”. It started in Manhattan, KS and ended in Wamego, KS for a total of 20 miles. He kept saying last night and this morning, “I don’t care what order I come in as long as I’m not in last place,” to which I’d reply, “Honey, it doesn’t matter if you’re first or last – this is your first race! Just cross the finish line in one piece!” Then I would say a little prayer asking God to please keep him upright and on the correct path the entire time. I’m happy to report that he didn’t flip his boat or get lost once. And even better than that – out of 37 boats he came in 13th!
With this race now under our belt, Jeff and I have a new check-list of things we’d like to pick up for him before the next one. At the top of our list is a hat (why didn’t we think of that?) and more appropriate shoes. We also think that one of those water bottle backpacks and a “fanny-pack” for his kayak would be handy. Towards the bottom of our list are the things that we don’t actually need but think we’d really enjoy. Like… a waterproof camera that attaches to the front of the kayak. And… a new SUV to transport the kayak!
Believe it or not, kayak racing is a ton of fun to watch. I’ll be honest and tell you that I had my doubts, but after today I think I may be a hardcore fan. Watching 37 boats taking off down the river at the same time was quite a sight. And seeing them arrive at the final check point one-by-one was even better. Witnessing someone fulfill a goal is a special moment and I got to share that with several people today.
Last night as we were preparing for today’s adventure I asked Jeff if there was anything I could make for him to snack on in the car before the race. After a bit of discussion we decided that granola would be the perfect thing. Not having a go-to recipe of my own, I spent a few minutes searching the world wide web and came across a fantastic article that had not just one recipe but EIGHT!!!!!!!! (See that? I used eight exclamation points, in case you didn’t count). http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20060226/FOOD04/91015002/Great-granola-
I chose to make the Tropical Granola recipe, but didn’t follow it exactly. Below is my version. You’ll see that I added semi-sweet chocolate chips. Do you blame me?
TROPICAL GRANOLA w/CHOCOLATE CHIPS
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats (I used a kind that had 5 grains plus flax-seed)
- 2 TBSP dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 c banana chips
- 1/4 c sweetened coconut
- 1/4 c dark chocolate chips
- 1/4 cashews
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 3 TBSP canola (or veg) oil
- 1 TBSP water
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat to 275 degrees.
- Coat a 9×13 inch metal pan with cooking spray (unless you’re doubling the recipe like I did – then coat two pans) and set aside.
- Mix your oats, brown sugar, salt, banana chips, cashews, and coconut in a bowl.
- Bring your syup, oil, water and ground ginger to a simmer in a small pot over low heat. Drizzle syrup mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Pour tropical oat mix onto your prepared pan(s).
- Bake for 30 minutes and then pull out and stir. Resist grabbing a handful right now – believe me, you’ll want to. Bake another 15 minutes.
- Remove from hot pan and let cool. Mix in chocolate chips. Granola can be stored in an airtight tin for up to two weeks. My guess is you won’t have the opportunity to find out if that is true or not.
NOTE: If you want granola that you can pour milk over and enjoy for breakfast (or dinner – whatever you enjoy) just stir the oat mixture up on the pan before transferring to a bowl to cool. If you’re hoping to make a granola bar, look for a different recipe! This one is too dry. But, if you like you can press this mixture while it’s still warm into a bar shape and then break into larger pieces that will hold their form once it’s cooled. But it will not be a soft and chewy texture like you’d expect from a store bough granola bar.