Guess what! I got to go on a paddling trip.
If you know me, you know this is something I enjoyed a lot in college and for years afterwards- running a river. Then you, too, probably know that is has been a good four years since I have even gotten in a kayak or a canoe on any sort of river run. The whole time I’ve been birthing babies and lying on bed rest and staying at home with the munchkins, my husband has continued to run the Outdoor Program at the school where he teaches- something we used to do together.
So, several times a year, he puts together an overnight paddling trip with students- some are just learning, while others have been at it awhile. This past weekend was the first time I got to go on one, as a chaperone, since I was pregnant with Harper four years ago! That means we are finally at that point in our parenting that we can do that! Huge shout out to Nana and Papa who came up and lovingly spent Friday night and the entirety of Saturday with our kids so I could have this adventure.
An adventure it was.
And it started with a yummy campfire snack.
Just a couple of nights before we left, as Brian was putting together a grocery list for the meals we would need for our group of fourteen studets, I happened to have just found out that I could watch cooking shows on Amazon prime (ahem, life-changing in a life where there is no Food Network). I was watching a Pioneer Woman episode where they had a little campout and made these banana boats. I looked over at Brian, who normally is very able to concentrate on whatever work he is doing while I watch a cooking show, and to my surprise, he was kinda drooling at this idea and writing down every ingredient on the grocery list.
In an attempt to save time, since we can’t leave campus for our adventure until after everyone finishes their afternoon activities or sports, he ordered sack lunches from the Dining Hall. Nothing to write home about, I’ll tell ya that. But after we reached the trail head and hiked down to the river to set up camp in a dusky darkness, some of the guys built a fire and we could hardly contain our excitement to bust out the ingredients for these banana boats…and they thought they were getting s’mores…HA! Better than s’mores.
We set up a little station on my therma-rest in front of the fire.
Alright, people. Please forgive our at-home reenactment for the sake of photos. The disappointing factor is that we don’t have any lovely campfire flames going on in the background. The other sad fact is that I didn’t have any cinnamon graham crackers, only regular ones. But the good news is that my three-year-old got to put this one together with her cute little hand, and that makes it all okay.
First, you grab a nice banana. We had several different techniques going on for slicing the banana and creating your boat, which I explain in the recipe.
Brian’s spin on this was the cinnamon-sugar graham crackers instead of the regular ones. I think everyone was pleased with the added flavor of cinnamon. So, crumble your cinnamon graham crackers into the banana peel.
Next grab a good handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkle them about.
Last you’ll throw in a good amount of mini-marshmallows, wrap your boat in foil and gently lay it onto the coals.
Of course we didn’t pay any attention to whether the Pioneer Woman said how long to let them roast, so we had some trial runs and found that 7-9 minutes on good coals seemed to be a magical amount of time for a gooey collaboration of sweet to consume with your handy-dandy campfire spoon while silly stories are told.
The next day we packed up camp and headed onto the water for a full day of teaching wet-exits, canoe strokes, and paddle signs for stop and go, which evidently needed some fine-tuning after a colossal pile-up and several wet spills. I learned from Brian to always get the consensus of whether the trip was enjoyed by all on the take-out beach before the final ascent up a 1/2 mile trail with boats in tow. The consensus was, it was a very good time.
My muscles are aching with delight from having fulfilled a long-lost favorite past time, and I also couldn’t have been more excited to squeeze those two sweet tots of ours afterwards and show them our cool new campfire dessert.
Adapted from the Pioneer Woman's show on the Food Network
- Six medium to large bananas
- Three cinnamon graham cracker rectangles (6 squares)
- 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups mini marshmallows
- Aluminum foil
- Slice banana peel lengthwise and pull away from the banana to for a little boat (I like to cut the banana itself lengthwise, also, and pull it apart kind-of like a baked potato, but we had equally satisfied eaters doing it both ways)
- In your hands, crush up one cinnamon graham cracker square and sprinkle into your banana boat
- Next sprinkle a 1/4-cup-sized handful of chocolate chips and a 1/3-cup-sized (eyeball it) handful of mini-marshmallows into the boat.
- Place onto aluminum foil and wrap to cover, twisting at the ends. It's okay if the banana stem sticks out of the foil.
- Place onto hot coals of an open fire for 7-9 minutes, or until a gooey mess.
- Carefully remove from fire with tongs and unwrap and eat with a spoon.