After living smack dab in the middle of Europe for four years one is bound to start skiing. This may happen even despite some resistance from the body, claiming "We are not coordinated! Remember all those failed team sport efforts throughout your childhood?! If you thought you couldn't handle a ball plus other people, how are you going to handle two skies, poles, flying down a mountain and not seriously maiming other people?"
At least, this is what my body had been saying to me. But, at the coaxing of the hubs (who, having had the luxury of growing up in a village with a ski hill, was possibly dismayed to find out about his lovely mate's shortcoming) I had a go at it last year in Italy for the first time. The skiing went okay, so this year we ventured a bit further to France for Round II. Eh, I'm still a slightly embarrassing sight to behold, but no one's gotten hurt (so far.)
The appeal though really lies in escaping the gray winter that defines most Czech cities (especially Brno this year) and out and up into some brightness. Funny though, the only day I waltzed around with the camera was the one solitary cloudy afternoon among seven seriously sunny days. I suppose this is a testament to what a serious skier I was the whole time...hitting those slopes and all. Or at least enjoying the svařak or grog that was in the thermos!
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Recipe: Energy Bars
makes 6 - 8 bars
2 cups puffed cereal
1 cup oats
1 cup chopped almonds (toasted in the oven for 10 minutes to get a deeper flavour)
1 cup dried cranberries (can chop if you like, but warning: sticky knife!)
4 spoonfuls of peanut butter (to equal 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup maple syrup (the cheapo fake stuff)*
1/4 cup honey
* I'm normally a staunch supporter of real maple syrup (and sometimes even catch myself sneering at the rows of fake stuff in the supermarkets) but in this case you want the corn syrup base found in the 2 dolla bottle to bind things together. It's only a wee amount, anyways. It won't hurt ya.
In a big bowl, toss together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the peanut butter, maple syrup and honey. If it's not mixing well for you, toss in a saucepan and melt a bit on the stove. With two big wooden spoons work the sticky mix into the cereal mix. Line a baking pan with parchment, and make the mix as compact as possible, pressing down with a sturdy spatula, or your buttered-up palms. Bake 175°C (350°F) for about 10 minutes, or until it's a bit golden. Baking time is crucial, too long and the bottom'll burn, too little and it won't stick together. Wait until cool to carefully slice into bars and wrap in plastic wrap. I usually keep them in tupperware and they're good for a week.
Play with the ingredients and measurements. Use this as a rough guide. Throw in whatever nuts and fruit the health gurus are claiming have the most antioxidants at the moment. I also tried dark chocolate and candied ginger (without the peanut butter), but it didn't stick together very well.
Dobrou Chut'/ Enjoy!